My research has focused on the relationship between literature and philosophy; more precisely, on the relationship between Deleuze's aesthetics and Blanchot's idea of literature. We examine a certain idea of literature which, as expressed in exemplary fashion by Blanchot, confronts the phenomenological subject, i.e. the subject as the founding and originary form of knowledge, and calls it into question. Foucault famously stated that literature had become the pure manifestation of a language which had no other law than that of affirming—in opposition to all other forms of discourse—its own "precipitous existence." Foucault concluded that the main trait of modern literature was a move towards the outside rather than interiority. According to Foucault, it is through an exhaustion of the order of representation that literary language finds the radiance of its endless pure being: an unfolding of pure exteriority. Questioning the limits and categories of thought, and the decentering of the subject to which it corresponds, must come across as the manifestation of a certain modern literary practice. Foucault considered this literary practice to be the very language of thought and the disclosure of the pure being of language, detached from its representative and signifying function.
Blanchot has manifested in literature the infinite movement of its own question: in his own terms, literature should be understood as the endless contestation that the relationship to its own question has become. Modern literature has not been a form of language that manifests the world by referring it to explicit and formulated significations, or to objects that can be designated; on the contrary, it has been the possibility for language to open up a relationship with the outside of meaningful relations, and the logic of sense, in the guise of an intensive dispersal of immanent singularities. We attempt to show how the relationship with an outside, defined by Blanchot as the fascination under which the act of writing happens, is the relationship that modern literary writing has established to the impersonality of these immanent and dispersive intensities. In delimiting the features which would make up this relationship with the outside, Blanchot distinguishes it from the relationship with the world established by meaningful prose, i.e. the language of world relations and communication. What are the characteristics of this paradoxical outside? How do we interpret the relationship between literature and this formless outside which seems to be comprised of the absence of the world and its relations? For Blanchot, what is at work in modern literature is not the serene collecting unto itself, but the infinite overturning of subjective dispersal. The literary experience which he attempts to define is the encounter through writing of the pure and empty form of time, the relationship to an immediacy experienced as an infinite separation, and the dispersal of the conscious subject in the impersonal and unlimited becoming of writing: a paradoxical relationship to that which overturns and dismisses any meaningful relationship in the world. From Blanchot to Deleuze, we need therefore to understand the literary event as a pure and infinite event, beyond any form of consciousness, whose eternal truth lies in the "splendor of the neutral."
Given the modern exhaustion of literary genres, the question of modern literature has to appear as the relationship that language establishes with pure immanence, the intensive becoming of the world rather than its meanings as such. In the terms of Rancière, the exhaustion of poetics, i.e. the normative order of representation, opens up two alternatives to the problem of aesthetics: on the one hand, the alternative of a thought that is already embodied in the sensible, already present in it, an immanence of thought in that which doesn't think, "the life of the spirit," and on the other, the alternative of the immanence in thought of that which doesn't think, the relationship to an impersonal and intensive dispersal of singularities. It seems interesting to consider how, through this question of a relationship to an intensive outside, the aesthetics of both Blanchot and Deleuze correspond to the latter. Their aesthetics attempt to undo the world of representation in order to constitute an infinite movement from matter to thought, beyond forms, genres and meanings.
Some notions appear therefore at the core of both Blanchot's literary writings and Deleuze's philosophical thought: the intensive dispersal and the outside, the unlimited becoming of the pure event, the eternal return and its intensive disjunction or the fragmentary and the relationship to the ungrounding of pure immanence. We examine in the fourth chapter Nietzsche's thought of the eternal return as understood by Blanchot and Deleuze, in the margins of Klossowski's interpretation: the thought of a coherence which excludes all other coherences. (Abstract shortened by UMI.)