Thom Ford’s Review of Meillassoux’s The Number and the Siren

I met Thom at ANU this past summer and we discussed this book quite a bit. He is someone who specializes both in 20th-century literature and knows a bit about Meillassoux’s project. That said, his sympathy (given the book) can only go so far in this Symposium review:

And so the chiasmus of the [Mallarmé’s] poem’s form is revealed to be the Cross of a new secularized religion of Modernity. After the death of God, the great intellectual projects of the 19th century sought to reconstitute the social solidarity and subjective intensity once offered by religion. For Meillassoux, Un Coup de Déssucceeds—uniquely, unrepeatably—in accomplishing “this intimate revolution of the subject, through which ardent centuries communicate once more with us.” (222) The literary century that intervenes between Mallarmé and Meillassoux, however, is cast as an irredeemably fallen time, one unilluminated by the mathematics of contingency. For both the “voluntarist literature of the absurd” (Sartre) and the “literature of the exhaustion of literature” (Blanchot), contingency represented an insurmountable impasse to absolute meaning. (32) For Meillassoux, to the contrary, it offers nothing less than an ideal resurrection of the dead.

The whole thing is worthy a read.