After a morning reading Maurice Blanchot’s The Space of Literature, I conceded defeat. I can understand the words but meaning eludes me. Online I seek guidance and find:
. . . that if one wants to experience the full scope of Blanchot’s critical writing, and perhaps these works are his most influential, then one might begin with The Work of Fire (1949), The Space of Literature (1955) and The Writing of Disaster (1980).
This early essay [The Work of Fire] holds the kernel of his approach to the question of literature and would be one of the best places to start reading his work.
Sampled, The Work of Fire appears less opaque and perhaps a better starting point.
Later, reading Simon Critchley’s Very Little . . . Almost Nothing I find:
Reading Blanchot is, in a sense, the easiest of tasks. His French is limpid and clear, it is daylight itself; almost the French of the Discours de la méthode. And yet, as nearly everyone who writes on Blanchot points out, his work seems to defy any possible approach, it seems to evade being drawn into the circle of interpretation. The utter clarity of Blanchot’s prose would appear to be somehow premised upon a refusal of the moment of comprehension and the consequent labour of interpretation and judgement. Absolutely clear at the level of reading, yet fundamentally opaque at the level of comprehension; a vague fore-understanding that somehow resists being drawn up into an active comprehension.
For now, the plan is to read Critchley’s book as preparation for The Work of Fire’s arrival next week.