The “speaking depth”.

October 27, 2010

“To write is to make oneself the echo of what cannot cease speaking—and since it cannot, in order to become its echo, I have, in a way, to silence it. I bring to this incessant speech the decisiveness, the authority of my own silence. I make perceptible, by my silent meditation, the uninterrupted affirmation, the giant murmuring upon which language opens and thus becomes image, becomes imaginary, becomes a speaking depth, an indistinct plenitude which is empty…

When we admire the tone of a work, when we respond to its tone as to its most authentic aspect, what are we referring to? Not to style, or to the interest and virtues of the language, but to this silence precisely, this vigorous force by which the writer, having been deprived of himself, having renounced himself, has in this effacement nevertheless maintained the authority of a certain power: the power decisively to be still, so that in this silence what speaks without beginning or end might take on form, coherence, and sense.

The tone is not the writer’s voice, but the intimacy of the silence he imposes upon the word.”

From Maurice Blanchot, The Space of Literature, trans. Ann Smock, Lincoln: U of Nebraska P, 1989: 27.

[This. book. is. uh-mazing. And so beautifully translated.]

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: