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the act of speaking is examined in a number of theories so far. but what about the act of listening, or the pause? in her book "the other side of language" italian philosopher gemma corradi fiumara points out that western philosophy and art was dominated by "the assertive tradition of saying" but that "we have little familiarity with what it means to listen." maurice blanchot includes in his "the infinite conversation" the act of listening indicated by a pause when the dialog jumps from one interlocutor to another. for him a dialogue happens “when two people speak together, they speak not together, but each in turn: one says something, then stops, the other something else (or the same thing), then stops. The coherent discourse they carry on is composed of sequences that are interrupted when the conversation moves from partner to partner […] The fact that speech needs to pass from one interlocutor to another in order to be confirmed, contradicted, or developed shows the necessity of interval.” departing from blanchot's notion of the necessity of interval within a conversation and fiumara's arguing for the acknowledgement of the role of listening as a creative practice the question of an "aesthetics of listening" comes up. we should learn to begin with listening. by putting together a reading list the class could explore theories of listening and find out about "the aesthetics of listening". maurice blanchot: the infinite conversation (1969). gemma corradi fiumara: the other side of language (1990).


i've just come back to my research and would love to have been reading along with you all. i'll DL the nancy and blanchot files and see if i can catch up before the next meeting in feb. were there any notes made or discussion points raised that might be worthwhile keeping in mind - for a remote participant?



fiona geuss's picture

regarding blanchot we could read the chapter "interruption" (p. 75-80).

I'm not moving to Berlin until feb. 1st, so I can't participate, but I did want to suggest a good passage in the book "I Love to You" by Luce Irigaray about listening.

Here is a quote from that section:

"I am listening to you: I encourage something unexpected to emerge, some becoming, some growth, some new dawn, perhaps. I am listening to you prepares the way for the not-yet-coded, for silence, for a space for existence, initiative, free intentionality, and support for your becoming."

The section on listening is about pages 110-122 but I suggest reading all of chapters 9, 10, & 11.

infinite conversation seems cool i'd like to read that, nancy would also be ok - fiona, do you have any suggestions regarding the blanchot book?

caleb berlin's picture

our next meeting is coming up this saturday...anyone have suggestions on what to read?

i can't seem to find a copy of "the other side of language," but "the infinite conversation" is on aaaaarg. should we read something from that? or continue with the nancy from last meeting since there were only a few of us?

caleb berlin's picture

so we go with Wednesday, 21 December at 19:00. see everyone there...

for me both are ok

fiona geuss's picture

actually wednesday works better for me. would this be possible for everybody?

caleb berlin's picture

hi everyone,

it looks like there is some scheduling conflicts with the 17th. Would people be able to meet for the first session on Tuesday, the 20th at 19:00hr?




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