Blank Space and Affect: Reading Mallarmé through Balzac and Blanchot

I approach Un coup de dés jamais n’abolira le hasard through Balzac’s Le Chef- d’œuvre inconnu and Blanchot’s Le Livre à venir to propose that Mallarmé’s blank space, or “le blanc,” opens the space of affect. I explore how affect discloses itself through formal means (rather than through contents of subjective experience) to coincide with the movement of spatial expansion. In discussing instances where the universal poetics of negation opens, albeit momentarily, to the fragility of affect, I offer a reading that takes Mallarmé’s “blanc” beyond the negativity and absence it is commonly held to be.

Claire Chi-ah Lyu
Volume 47.1–2