Sterility

The leap is inspiration’s form or movement. This form or this movement makes inspiration unjustifiable. But in this form or movement inspiration also comes into its own: its principle characteristic is affirmed in this inspiration which is at the same time and from the same the same point of view lack of inspiration – creative force and aridity intimately confounded. Hölderlin undergoes the rigours of this condition when he endures poetic time as the time of distress, when the gods are lacking but where God’s default helps us: Gottes Fehl hilft. Mallarmé, whom sterility tormented and who shut himself into it with heroic resolve, also recognised that this deprivation did not express a simple personal failing, did not signify that he was deprived of the work, but announced his encounter with the work, the threatening intimacy of this encounter.

— Blanchot, The Space of Literature (tr. A Smock)

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