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Genealogies of the Text

Literature, Psychoanalysis, and Politics in Modern France

Genealogies of the Text by Jeffrey Mehlman
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In this 1995 book, which includes a substantial introduction, Jeffrey Mehlman confronts the politically devastating resonances in the work of several leading French writers. The essays focus on the series of enigmas surrounding the 'Blanchot affair' - a scandal provoked by Mehlman's revelation in 1977 that Maurice Blanchot, one of the tutelary figures of contemporary French thought, had in the 1930s been a prominent fascist journalist. Mehlman takes the issue of Blanchot's forgotten political essays deep into the most revered - and misunderstood - of his novels, L'Arrêt de mort. Using this affair as a point of departure, Mehlman sheds light on the question of the usability of psychoanalysis for literary readings (examining, for example, Baudelaire, Mallarmé and Valéry); he also investigates the ideological and political connotations of similar literary and theoretical material. The volume as a whole provides a consistently provocative meditation on literature, ethics, and the experience of the French in World War II.
Cambridge University Press; September 1995
276 pages; ISBN 9780511886447
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Title: Genealogies of the Text
Author: Jeffrey Mehlman
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