Reading the Remove of Literature

Nick Thurston

Edited, with an Introduction, by Craig Dworkin

Price £15.99+pp
ISBN 9780955309212
Year 2006
Edition 1000
Pages 288
Binding softback
Illustration text only
Dimensions 230 x 155 mm

When shall the true poet arise who, disdaining the trivialities of text, shall give the world a book of verse consisting entirely of margin?”

— Kenneth Grahame, 1898.

Reading the Remove of Literature is a reading of the English translation of Maurice Blanchot’s seminal book L’Espace littéraire (1955),  performed on the page as an annotative writing that encircles the should-be space of print. Through the progressive appropriation and then erasure of Blanchot’s text, and through a processual transposition of hand-writing into formal typography, Thurston has conceptualised and produced an astounding new book.

The meaning of the candid reflections and meditations which form the incisive marginalia is founded in a tension with the suggestions of the absent text. Floating alone these annotations may have little worth or make little sense, but between these covers they do not deny the history of their derivation: They are constantly anchored by that which is missing, in a creative erring, in a process of over-coming, which in this book asserts an equality of presence between the read and the written, the reading and the writing. At once poetic and philosophical, Thurston’s work is an intervention into the book as a space of knowledge that renders productive the paradoxical relationship of the artistic act and the art work – the very question of the possibility of literature that obsessed Blanchot – contained simultaneously by the edges it continues beyond and the bind(ing)s that hold it together and hold it still.

By removing Blanchot’s text, Thurston paradoxically gives us Blanchot’s work; he presents rather than absents language. The book proffers the gift of theft. Which is as much as any work of literature, in Blanchot’s definition, can do.… Countersigning Blanchot’s text, Thurston also forges his name. Whiteness, witness: the proper genre for Reading the Remove of Literature may be portraiture.”

— Craig Dworkin, Univeristy of Utah, from the Introductory essay, ‘Cenography’.

Reading the Remove of Literature

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