Harry Ransom CenterThe University of Texas at Austin

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The Unnamable

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Maurice Blanchot, in his review of L’Innommable in the Nouvelle Revue Française (October 1953; translation by Richard Howard), writes of the destabilizing effect of narrative becoming conflict, of character becoming “discountenanced” and, afflicted with “the curse of not being able to stop talking,” goes on interminably, “exhibiting the same jerky movement, the same tireless, stationary” steps as someone walking on a treadmill. As Blanchot concludes, “one might say that The Unnamable is condemned to exhausting the infinite.”