Comparison of Essays by Sartre and Blanchot
In his essay “Why Write?” Sartre focuses on the relationship between the writer and the reader. He analyses the process involved in writing and reading. He says that literature involves both the writer and the reader, for one cannot survive without the other because a writer cannot produce a piece of literature for his own pleasure and the reader cannot enjoy the benefits of reading if there is nothing for him to read. In other words, writing creates a bond between the reader and the writer. Maurice Blanchot also takes a thorough look at the true meaning of literature in his essay “Literature and the Right to Death” he views literature as a form of revolution and an expression of the true freedom of men. According to him, it is an “absolute freedom which has become an event.” The first thing that struck me after reading both essays by Sartre and Blanchot was that the main message behind both essays was that literature is an expression of ones freedom. Sartre calls the process of writing and reading an “act of generosity between two free people.”(58) This is because people are not forced to read or to write. The writer chooses weather to writer or not and the reader also chooses weather to read or not. Thus literature is an expression of the freedom of men. Thus because literature can only exist among the free, it does not seek to prevent this freedom from others. This is the message Sartre passes across when he says, “Thus, whether he is an essayist, a pamphleteer, a satirist, or a novelist, whether he speaks only of individual passions or whether he attacks the social order, the writer, a free man addressing free men, has only one subject--freedom” (68) Blanchot also arrives at this conclusion in his essay “Literature and the right to death” when he says “Revolutionary action is in every aspect analogous to action as embodied in literature: the passage from nothing to everything, the affirmation of the...
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