Blanchot, Maurice(mōrēs` bläNshō`), 1907–2003, French novelist and literary critic. One of the first intellectuals in France to be interested in questions of language and meaning, he was an important influence on French postmodernist thought. In his critical works, notably L'Espace littéraire (1955, tr. 1982), Blanchot propounds the theory that literary compositions are organic entities separate from the external world. Such novels as Thomas l'obscure (1941; tr. 1973) and Le Très-Haut (1948, tr. 1996) exemplify his theoretical ideas in their complex language and imaginary settings. Blanchot's later fiction dispensed with plot, character, and other elements of representation. Collections of his essays in English translation include The Gaze of Orpheus (1981), The Sirens' Song (1982), and The Blanchot Reader (1995).
See studies by M. Foucault (tr. 1987), S. Shaviro (1990), J. Gregg (1994), D. M. Hess (1999), L. Hill (1997 and 2001), and A. Smock (2003).