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Politics and Literature

The Case of Maurice Blanchot


Deborah M. Hess

The role of politics in literary creation and interpretation is discussed for the French intellectual tradition and the critical period in France from 1931 to 1948. Maurice Blanchot's early fiction is analyzed as a symbolic expression of its sociopolitical context. He portrays the plight of the Jewish people and of the French nation in his fiction published between 1936 and 1949. A recent storm of critical reaction raises questions about the rights and limits of the literary critic and about moral and personal aspects of the author, text, and reading process. Politics and Literature offers a model for critical interpretation that takes into account complexity, process, and the sociopolitical context of the literary text.