The Writing of Innocence

Blanchot and the Deconstruction of Christianity

By Aïcha Liviana Messina

Subjects: Continental Philosophy, Philosophy Of Religion, Comparative Literature, Christianity, Literary Theory
Series: SUNY series, Literature . . . in Theory
Hardcover : 9781438488998, 218 pages, July 2022
Paperback : 9781438489001, 218 pages, January 2023

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Table of contents


Serge Margel

Introduction: The Fall of Innocence

1. Law

2. Grace

3. Innocence

4. Apocalypse

5. The Deconstruction of Christianity in Nancy and Blanchot

Conclusion: The Innocence of the Stone


An original reading of Blanchot's thought with far-reaching philosophical and literary implications.


The Writing of Innocence explores the topic of innocence and the peculiar relationship to Christianity in the writing of Maurice Blanchot. Its starting point is that innocence is not a condition relegated to a mythical past but rather one resulting from the construction of the subject in and through language. Hence, we don't lose innocence; instead, we are lost by innocence. It is an excess, not a lack. This inverted notion of innocence raises new ethical and political issues that Aïcha Liviana Messina unfolds through vigorous re-readings of a series of biblical motifs, including law, grace, and apocalypse. The closing chapter turns to the convergences and divergences between Jean-Luc Nancy's and Blanchot's understandings of the deconstruction of Christianity. With a foreword by philosopher Serge Margel, The Writing of Innocence offers a fresh perspective on Blanchot's writings in general and on his dialogue with Hegel in particular. While staging innocence in its philosophical and literary dimensions, The Writing of Innocence provides singular readings of works by Kierkegaard, Agamben, Derrida, Nancy, Camus, Hugo, and Kafka.

Aïcha Liviana Messina is Titular Professor of Philosophy at Diego Portales University in Chile.


"The Writing of Innocence makes a lasting contribution to contemporary continental philosophy. Messina gives readers insight into the overall dynamic of Blanchot's thought, presents this dynamic through an unjustly neglected theme, and shows how this theme helps us see the complexity and ambivalence in Nancy's responses to Blanchot. The result is a new conception of modern French thought, elegantly and succinctly developed under the optic of innocence." — Peter Fenves, author of The Messianic Reduction: Walter Benjamin and the Shape of Time