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By Jean-Luc Nancy

Trans. by way of Philip Armstrong

Over thirty years after Maurice Blanchot writes The Unavowable Community (1983)-a e-book that provided a severe reaction to an early essay through Jean-Luc Nancy on "the inoperative community"-Nancy responds in flip with The Disavowed Community. Stemming from Jean-Christophe Bailly's preliminary suggestion to imagine neighborhood when it comes to "number" or the "numerous," and unfolding as a detailed analyzing of Blanchot's textual content, Nancy's new publication addresses various subject matters and motifs that mark either his proximity to and distance from Blanchot's thinking, from Bataille's "community of fanatics" to the relation among group, communitarianism, and being-in-common; to Marguerite Duras, to the Eucharist. A key rethinking of politics and the political, this trade opens up a brand new figuring out of group performed out as a query of avowal.

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BETWEEN ETHICS AND WRITING To write “the heart or the law” as a final punctuation to the closing pages of the first part of the text is hardly insignificant. The equivalence that is thus posed suggests a heart having the value of the law or a law of the heart. 20 The Heart or the Law This law of the heart is that of friendship or fraternity which alone reveals (to me) my solitary exposure, which also forms my shared community. A law of the heart could also be what lets itself be written—and read by friends—as the literary impropriety or indecency [inconvenance] where communication of the secret without secret may take place.

In this way, I felt it compulsory to respond to this urgent task, and no doubt Blanchot himself experienced something similar in reading me. But for him, the meaning of this task extended back much further in his life—it is also this that gets played out in his book. It is quite possible that for Blanchot the juxtaposition of “community” and “number” as terms gave a glimpse both of their contrast and the risk of thinking about a numerous community commensurate with the epoch shaped by number and dedicated to the complexity of relations and institutions.

Unworking is that through which the work does not belong to the order of the achieved, or the unachieved; it lacks nothing while being nothing accomplished. In relation to communism, it is true that I insinuated a slight reproach. ”2 This passage from The Inoperative Community—which I read again with a certain surprise3—has two implications. On the one hand, I had long observed the control that the terms and motifs of “communism” or “Marxist critique” held over many (too many to mention), for thinkers who owed little or nothing to a consideration of capitalist exploitation or class struggle (I’m thinking of Bataille, Benjamin, Bloch, among others).

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