Richard Stern

Derridiarry

Richard Stern, 15 August 1991

At five o’clock on Friday, 19 April, anniversary of the shot heard round the world, Jacques Derrida gave the first of the four annual Frederick Ives Carpenter Lectures at the University of Chicago. Tom Mitchell, chairman of the English Department and editor of Critical Inquiry, the English-language journal in which Derrida most often publishes, introduced him to a crowd that filled not only the seats and aisles of the Max Palevsky Auditorium, but the lobby, where there was a PA system, and the street, where there wasn’t. The introduction was graceful, Derrida’s acknowledgment of it not only graceful but an integral part of the talk, which, like its successors, dealt with questions of gifts, gratitude, ‘giving and taking time’, existence, narrative, fiction, tobacco, luck, chance, ‘perhaps’, and a few other subjects already part of the Derrida canon.

Letter

In Quarantine

2 April 1987

SIR: The old wisdom is to ignore stupid reviewers. Now and then, however, it serves to post quarantine signs. So a brief note about John Sutherland, who managed to misquote, mis-attribute intentions, misuse the language and mistake the very title of the book he was reviewing, all within three hundred and fifty-odd words – cf., his review of The Position of the Body, LRB, 2 April. Sinners usually...

Poets and Pretenders

John Sutherland, 2 April 1987

James Atlas’s The Great Pretender is a first novel. But Atlas has some prior fame as the author of a powerful biography of Delmore Schwartz, America’s poète maudit who died...

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Humiliations

Michael Irwin, 4 December 1980

In the introduction to his Collected Short Stories Kingsley Amis strongly implies that the genre is not at present in a healthy state. He claims that subsidisation by the Arts Council, or other...

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