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The Space of Vacillation

The Experience of Language in Beckett, Blanchot, and Heidegger

Michiko Tsushima

The question of language has been discussed in various philosophical, literary, and theoretical works of the twentieth century. However, in many cases, while language has remained the object of discussion, an understanding of the experience of language from within has not been deepened. This book seeks to pay attention to ‘the experience of language’ and rethinks its importance in twentieth century thought and literature. It describes how Beckett, Blanchot, and Heidegger experience the force of language. The study focuses on how each in a different way sought to show the force of language as the movement of vacillation, as a metaphorical form of expression. For instance, in Beckett’s work Ill Seen Ill Said we find the movement of the veil which at once conceals and reveals its own dissimulation; in Blanchot’s work Awaiting Oblivion, which depicts the relation between the bodies of two nameless characters (‘he’ and ‘she’) who spend the whole night together in a room having a conversation, we ‘see’ the space of conversation; and in Heidegger’s work «A Dialogue on Language» dialogue is experienced as the balance – the space of measuring the hidden ‘weight’ of language.
Contents: Beckett – Veil, the Scene of Betrayal: Ill Seen Ill Said – The Secret of Rhythm – Blanchot – The Redoubling Body: Awaiting Oblivion – Vigilance: Danger Watches over Us – Heidegger – The Most Dangerous of Possessions – The Space of Weighing Language: «A Dialogue on Language».