Petiyakov pe-2

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The English phrase “suicide victim” aptly describes this transformation from active to passive: whoever resolves to kill himor-herself ultimately becomes one who submits passively to death and awaits its approach. WRITING AND DEATH 37 The contradictory pair of terms, active and passive, organizes Blanchot’s interpretation of Kafka’s enigmatic statement that writing was somehow linked to the aptitude of knowing how to die. 8 The first statement, to die in order to be able to write, indicates that a close rapport with death is a prerequisite for writing and suggests the writer’s attitude of passive patience as he approaches the origin of the work.

Their attempt to domesticate death by taking their own life constitutes an act of power. Constructive negativity, however, is a restricted instance of le mourir, which falls outside the aims of any project. All efforts to have mastery over le mourir, to personalize it and render it present are futile. Suicide is an Acte inespéré (sans espoir) d’unifier la duplicité de la mort et de réunir en une seule fois, par une décision d’impatience, les répétitions éternelles de ce qui, mourant, ne meurt pas.

303)26 The subject of the self-portrait cannot pronounce his own Lazare, veni foras; only a future reader can. And there are as many Lazaruses summoned up by reading as there are readers. The book is a monument, but an empty one. It is not a resting place from which surges forth an integral, inviolate self. This has been dispersed; no one in particular is there. Homo absconditus. The other figure that haunts the writing of self-portraits, the episode of Socrates’ death, places the meditation on the question of death as a possibility within a philosophical rather than a theological framework.

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