At Tales from the Reading Room, litlove has long been one of blogdom's most persistent champions of Gabriel Josipovici. There are too few of us. Recently she had the opportunity to meet the writer and found him to be "like the condensed spirit of literature". I love this expression. And based on my readings of Josipovici's fiction and criticism, and also A Life, his loving biography of his mother, the translator (of Blanchot, as well as Henri Lefebvre, among others) Sacha Rabinovitch, the phrase is apt.
For some of us Josipovici means almost too much to convey. I find I could write about him constantly, and nearly do. Just last month, Stephen Mitchelmore wrote of his first encounter with Josipovici, as far back as 1988, via a letter to the editor of the London Review of Books, an encounter that, for him, ultimately had a profound impact. My own first encounter was as a name seen in passing, across a blog here or there, a name which stuck in my mind well enough to be dimly recognizable when I spied a remaindered copy of the New Directions edition of In a Hotel Garden. I enjoyed the novel, but I wouldn't chalk the experience up as a life-changer. But then came the critical books On Trust and The Book of God, books that hit me at just the right time in my life, when I was both dissatisfied with my reading and also working through certain borderline existential (not to say banal) issues in my personal life. The implications of the arguments in these two books alone continue to strike me as hugely important. The impact on my thinking, anyway, has been enormous, and much that I have written about since then has been deeply informed by his writing. With litlove's phrase in mind, along with Stephen's remembrance of a "profound conjunction", I wanted to take this opportunity to simply offer a little thanks.