Acts of Literature by Jacques Derrida

By Jacques Derrida

Acts of Literature, compiled in shut organization with Jacques Derrida, brings jointly for the 1st time a few Derrida's writings on literary texts. The essays speak about literary figures resembling Rousseau, Mallarm&#233, Joyce, Shakespeare, and Kafka, and include items spanning Derrida's profession. the gathering now features a great interview with him on questions of literature, deconstruction, politics, feminism and historical past, and Derek Attridge presents an introductory essay on deconstruction and the query of literature, with feedback for extra examining. those essays research where and operation of literature in Western tradition, and are hugely unique responses to person literary texts. They spotlight Derrida's curiosity in literature as an important cultural establishment and as a in particular difficult type of writing, with inescapable effects for our brooding about philosophy, politics and ethics.

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The histories of Blanchot or Heidegger, that of Paul de Man too, are even more complicated, more heterogeneous in themselves and so different from each other that this mere association might risk encouraging into confusion some of those who are multiplying ineptitudes on this matter. The list, alas, would he a long one. In the matter of equivocation, heterogeneity or instability, analysis by definition escapes all closure and all exhaustive formalization. " The performativity we have just been talking about calls for the same responsibility on the part of the readers.

I believe no text resists it absolutely. Absolute resistance to such a reading would purely and simply destroy the trace of the text. I'd say rather that a text is poetico-literary when, through a sort of original negotiation, without annulling either meaning or reference, it does something with this resistance, something that we'd have a lot of trouble defining for the reasons I was mentioning earlier. For such a definition would require not only that we take into account multiple, subtle and stratified conventional and intentional modifications, but also at a certain point the questioning of the values of intention and convention which, with the textuality of the text in general and literature in particular, are put to the test of their limits.

The writer can be ignorant or naive in relation to the historical tradition which bears him or her, or which s/he transforms, invents, displaces. 54 55 AN INTERVIEW WITH JACQUES DERRIDA AN INTERVIEW WITH JACQUES DERRIDA rather the opposite. " Effective deconstruction. Deconstruction perhaps has the effect, if not the mission, of liberating forbidden jouissance. That's what has to be taken on hoard. " Who, moreover, blame those they call the "deconstructionists" for depriving them of their habitual delectation in the reading of the great works or the rich treasures of tradition, and simultaneously for being too playful, for taking too much pleasure, for saying what they like for their own pleasure, etc.

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