Blanchot and Kafka

International seminar
7-8 December 2017
Hof van Liere
Prinsstraat 13 - 2000 Antwerp

Seminar organized in cooperation with the Center for European Philosophy (University of Antwerp) and with the support of FWO Flanders and the Department University & Society of the University of Antwerp.

In this seminar, a systematic examination of the Blanchot/Kafka connection will be presented, on the basis of Blanchot’s translations of Kafka. The works of Franz Kafka had an important significance for Blanchot, who dedicated more than seven essays to examining Kafka. These essays were collected in the book De Kafka à Kafka. Blanchot quotes Kafka in most of his work on the transformation of literary narrative in the 20th century and the appearance of the neuter. He relates several issues which are central in his own approach to literature to the work of Kafka, such as the passage from the “I” to the “he” in the experience of writing, the experience of estrangement in the act of narrating, and the outside. The aim of the seminar is to examine and discuss Blanchot’s interpretation of Kafka, the influence Kafka may have had on Blanchot's own fiction and critical reflections, and more in general the impact (or absence of it) of the Blanchot/Kafka connection on contemporary literary theory. Blanchot’s translations of some of Kafka's writings, to be published this fall, will likely constitute an interesting point of departure to (re)consider these issues.

With contributions by including Arthur Cools (University of Antwerp), Marco Gutjahr (Universität Rostock), Kevin Hart (University of Virginia), Leslie Hill (University of Warwick), Eric Hoppenot (Université Paris Sorbonne-ESPE), Vivian Liska (Institute of Jewish Studies), Alain Milon (Université Paris Nanterre), Annelies Schulte Nordholt (Leiden University), and Aukje van Rooden (University of Amsterdam).





Thursday 7 December 2017

  • 09.30-10.00  Registration & coffee
  • 10.00-10.30  Welcome and introduction by Arthur Cools (University of Antwerp)
  • 10.30-11.20  Leslie Hill (University of Warwick) 
    ‘Les forces de la vie…’: Blanchot, Kafka, Disaster
  • 11.20-12.10  Kevin Hart (University of Virginia)
    Reading Kafka            
  • 12.10-14.00  Lunch (speakers only)
  • 14.00-14.40  Sebastian Müngersdorff (University of Antwerp)
    On the Endless Stairs between Literature and Philosophy: The Case of the Hunter Gracchus in the Work of Maurice Blanchot
  • 14.40-15.20  Leen Verheyen (University of Antwerp)
    Estrangement and The Invitation to Interpretation. Proximity and Difference between Kafka and Blanchot
  • 15.20-16.00  Louis Schreel (University of Antwerp)
    Law or Desire? Kafka and the Question of Justice
  • 16.00-16.20  Coffee break
  • 16.20-17.10  Aukje van Rooden (University of Amsterdam)
    Kafka Divided Between Sartre and Blanchot
  • 17.10-18.00  Annelies Schulte Nordholt (University of Leiden)
    Blanchot reading Kafka’s Castle
  • 18.00-20.00  Dinner (speakers only)
  • 20.00-21.30  Eric Hoppenot (ESPE, Université Paris Sorbonne)
    Maurice Blanchot et la tradition juive – de quelques figures bibliques
    With a response by Vivian Liska (University of Antwerp)
    Followed by a reception

Friday 8 December 2017

  • 9.30-10.20  Alain Milon (Université Paris Nanterre)
    De Kafka à Kafka: la question de l’avant-dernier mot
  • 10.20-11.10  Eric Hoppenot (ESPE, Université Paris Sorbonne)
    Cheminer vers l'intime. Blanchot traducteur et interprète de la correspondance amoureuse de Kafka
  • 11.10-12.00  Marco Gutjahr (University of Rostock)
    The Impossible Literature. The disaster of the récit in Blanchots Aminadab and Kafka’s Das Schloss
  • 12.00-12.30  Closing discussion (Vivian Liska, University of Antwerp)
  • 12.30  Lunch (speakers only)


To register for this seminar, click here.