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Aminadab by Maurice Blanchot, Jeff Fort


Aminadab by Maurice Blanchot, Jeff Fort

The world of Aminadab, Maurice Blanchot's second novel, is dark, bizarre, and fantastic. Reminiscent of Kafka's enclosed and allegorical spaces, Aminadab is both a reconstruction and a deconstruction of power, authority, and hierarchy. The novel opens when Thomas, upon seeing a woman gesture to him from a window of a large boarding house, enters the building and slowly becomes embroiled in its inscrutable workings. Although Thomas is constantly reassured that he can leave the building, he seems to be separated forever from the world he has left behind. The story consists of Thomas's frustrated attempts to clarify his status as a resident in the building and his misguided interactions with the cast of sickly, depraved, or in some way deformed characters he meets, none of them ever quite what they seem to be. Aminadab, the man who according to legend guards the entrance to the building's underground spaces, is only one of the mysteries reified by the rumors circulating among the residents. Written in a prose that is classical and at times lyrical, Blanchot's novel functions as an allegory referring, above all, to the wandering and striving movement of writing itself.


Blanchot's work continually challenges the limits of form and language, continually forces us to question what we know and how we put that knowledge (if it in fact exists) into a language that always resists us. . . . Nebraska has been at the forefront of bringing Blanchot's work into English translation. . . . And this volume, with Fort's introduction, joins earlier translations by Ann Smock of The Space of Literature and The Writing Disaster as some of the most important work on Blanchot in English thus far. -Jason D. Fichtel, Review of Contemporary Fiction -- Jason D. Fichtel * Review of Contemporary Fiction * (Blanchot's fictions) explore the difficulty and frustration of grasping and communicating meaning in a universe that seems complacently devoid of it. . . . This important publication offers the perfect introduction to an elusive, recondite, and unusually rewarding writer. -Kirkus Reviews * Kirkus Reviews * Aminadab is a startling provocation, a gauntlet thrown down to the fiction reader-and yet there is no complicated theory or code to be cracked in order to participate in the originality of Maurice Blanchot's 1942 novel. Maurice Blanchot may hardly be a household name in America, but in some circles he is one of the essential writers of the 20th century. . . . Every sentence of Aminadab is an invitation to think, about language, about responsibility, about life. Blanchot's density requires us to slow down our reading; he makes us pause, grow uncomfortable. Yet we are taken by Blanchot's seerlike ability to penetrate to the core of some of the darker aspects of the 20th century. -Thomas McGonigle, Washington Post Book World -- Thomas McGonigle * Washington Post Book World *

About the Author

Maurice Blanchot is one of France's leading authors of fiction and theory, including The Most High and Awaiting Oblivion, both available from the University of Nebraska Press. Jeff Fort is a lecturer in the Department of French at the University of Southern California and has translated Blanchot's The Instant of My Death for Conjunctions.

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Book Info

Publication date

1st June 2002


Maurice Blanchot, Jeff Fort

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University of Nebraska Press


200 pages


Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)



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