The Rarity of Shade



Shade is a rarity of light. The amorphous qualities of shade are not to be confused with the definable contours of shadow. Not only is shade a subversion of what Maurice Blanchot has called “the optical imperative” of the western tradition, it is also a suspension of the Platonic binaries that define knowledge and ignorance. In the arc between these polarities, shade transforms to tone, and knowledge fades to intimation. If we can know rarity, we know it as we know shade.


Oxford English Dictionary Western Tradition Amorphous Quality Poetic Language Collect Poetry 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 4.
    Roy Sorensen, Seeing Dark Things: The Philosophy of Shadows ( Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008 ), 118.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 5.
    Andrew Marvell, The Complete Poems, ed. Elizabeth Story Donno (Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, 1976 ), 101.Google Scholar
  3. 6.
    Stéphane Mallarmé, Divagations, trans. Barbara Johnson (Cambridge: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2007 ), 207.Google Scholar
  4. 12.
    Yves Bonnefoy, The Curved Planks, trans. Hoyt Rogers (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2006 ), 58–59.Google Scholar
  5. 13.
    Maurice Blanchot, The Gaze of Orpheus and Other Literary Essays, trans. Lydia Davis (Barrytown, NY: Station Hill Press, 1981 ), 67.Google Scholar
  6. 22.
    Maurice Blanchot, The Space of Literature, trans. Ann Smock (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1989 ), 168.Google Scholar
  7. 29.
    Simon Critchley, Very Little … Almost Nothing: Death, Philosophy, Literature (New York: Routledge, 1997), 35.Google Scholar
  8. 30.
    Henri Bergson, Duration and Simultaneity in Henri Bergson: Key Writings, ed. Keith Ansell Pearson and John Mullarkey (London: Continuum, 2002), 216.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Harold Schweizer 2016

Authors and Affiliations

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations