Maurice Blanchot is arguably the key figure after Sartre in exploring the relation between literature and philosophy. Blanchot
developed a distinctive, limpid form of essay writing; these essays, in form and substance, left their imprint on the work
of the most influential French theorists. The writings of Barthes, Foucault, and Derrida are unimaginable without Blanchot.
Published in French in 1949, The Work of Fire is a collection of twenty-two essays originally published in literary journals.
Certain themes recur repeatedly: the relation of literature and language to death; the significance of repetition; the historical,
personal, and social function of literature; and simply the question what is at stake in the fact that something such as art
or literature exists? Among the authors discussed are Kafka, Mallarme;, Holderlin, Baudelaire, Rimbaud, Sartre, Gide, Pascal,
Vale;ry, Hemingway, and Henry Miller.