That forgetfulness constitutes a force detrimental to the ability of keeping promises is commonplace. Promises rely on a stable memory; in order to be realized they must be sheltered from the onslaught of oblivion. This article takes a closer look at the mutual exclusivity of promising and its forgetting— and discovers, at the very foundation of every promise, the unlikely expression of a promise of oblivion. Through readings of Sacher-Masoch, Nietzsche, Kafka, and others, this promise of oblivion emerges as the very condition of possibility of all promising: oblivion must be promised for promises to be. Thus, what on the surface seems mutually exclusive turns out essentially entangled: promising premised on oblivion. In a coda invoking Heidegger and Blanchot, the structure of language itself is revealed to be promissory—and, as such, forgetful.

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