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I'd like to read your essay. Sounds interesting. Do send me a copy.


Hey, Adam, your scholarship sounds intriguing, and your blog looks ... great!!!Love the minimal design. This is Jeff (commenting under my nom de blogeur).

Jon Yorke

Dear Adam,

This is an exciting endeavour, especially as Simon Critchley has stated that scholars of Blanchot have observed that his work "seems to defy any possible approach." (Very Little..Almost Nothing: Death Philosphy, Literature, (London: Routledge, 1997) p. 31. However, as Blanchot is so emersed within the idiomatic nuances of death, law and power, your specific line of enquiry may indeed, "defy" the above observation.

I am only in the beginnings of research on Blanchot myself, but I would recommend you contacting Professor Peter Fitzpatrick at Birkbeck in London. He was a co-contributor to Andrew Norris' book on Agamben. (And may I say that I thoroughly enjoyed your article. It is extremely relevant for my thesis - on the death penalty and the Homo Sacer)

Peter has an intricate purchase on Blanchot's work, and within many of his articles on law, literature and death, you will find (if you have not already) a generous sprinkling of Blanchotian references. From my research to date, he has achieved the best (legal) approach to a positioning of Blanchot's work.

I have been recently thinking about the symbiotic relationship between Blanchot's "horizon of law always being death," (Step Not Beyond, p. 24-5), and "death is sovereign" (Literature and the Right of Death, p. 378 (Station Hill)). Of course Blanchot does not say that the "sovereign holds death," in a kind of Agambenian, homo sacer claim, but with regards to a "right of death," where is this right ultimately held? It would appear to be "within law," but following Agamben, "bare life" is outside of law (if this is possible).

The implicatins are far-reaching, especially with regards "situating" political power and the "right of life and death."

Perhaps a further interesting point, is found in Blanchot's quote (p. 380), "Therefore it is accurate to say that when I speak: death speaks in me. My speech is a warning that at this very moment death is loose in the world, that it has suddenly appeared between me, as I speak, and the being I address."

In law and literature, if the author is sovereign, how may his/her action of "speaking" displace the "locus" of power within a politico-legal discourse? Is "death" as a command transfered from the "President" as sovereign, to the "author" as sovereign?

Also, I am playing around with the notion that in "Literature and the Right of Death," Blanchot's analysis of the French Revolution and death being sovereign, may be off-set by another literary constellation, that of Baroness Orczy's "The Scarlet Pimpernel." Are not capital defence lawyers today, modern day Scarlet Pimpernel's, off-setting, the sovereignty of death? (Of course, we again enter the, is sovereign in or outside of law question!)

Please could you send me a draft of your article? I would be most interested in reading it.

All the very best.

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