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Sadiah Qureshi: Black History, 22 November 2018

... ask students to read Tacitus, Herodotus, Max Weber, Karl Marx, Michel Foucault, Antonio Gramsci, Jacques Derrida and, more rarely, Judith Butler. But how many are also required to read Audre Lorde, Stuart Hall, Frantz Fanon, Jasbir Puar, Sara Ahmed, Kim TallBear or Kimberlé Crenshaw? What if these writers were required reading for everyone? Present ...

Absent Authors

John Lanchester, 15 October 1987

Criticism in Society 
by Imre Salusinszky.
Methuen, 244 pp., £15, May 1987, 0 416 92270 8
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by Malcolm Bradbury.
Deutsch, 104 pp., £5.95, September 1987, 0 233 98020 2
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... one way or another in the new movements: three bottled-at-the-place-of-origin Deconstructionists (Jacques Derrida, Barbara Johnson, J. Hillis Miller) and one sympathiser (Geoffrey Hartman), two politically-minded oppositional critics (Edward Said, Frank Lentricchia) and two unclassifiable individualists (Harold Bloom, Frank Kermode). The ninth ...

Short Cuts

William Davies: Friend or Threat, 17 June 2021

... lectures on the question, originally given in January 1996 and published as De l’hospitalité, Jacques Derrida focused on the unavoidable ‘dilemma between, on the one hand, unconditional hospitality that dispenses with law, duty, or even politics, and, on the other, hospitality circumscribed by law and duty’. The abstract ideal of universal ...

Signposts along the way that Reason went

Richard Rorty, 16 February 1984

Margins of Philosophy 
by Jacques Derrida, translated by Alan Bass.
Harvester, 330 pp., £25, May 1983, 0 7108 0454 7
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... take seriously the ways of distinguishing between science, philosophy and art which Heidegger and Derrida criticise. Nowadays both men look like eccentrics, an impression they do their best to encourage. Their writings are filled with explanations of how very marginal, how very different and unlike all other philosophers they are. But in time they will be ...

How philosophers live

James Miller, 8 September 1994

A Pitch of Philosophy: Autobiographical Exercises 
by Stanley Cavell.
Harvard, 196 pp., £20.75, July 1994, 0 674 66980 0
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... memoirs by John Stuart Mill and R.G. Collingwood, confessions by St Augustine and Jean-Jacques Rousseau – autobiography is not a genre that comes naturally to most philosophers. The typical modern philosopher – the Kant of the three critiques, say, or the Wittgenstein of the Tractatus – seeks perfection in the composition of systematic ...

Culler and Deconstruction

Gerald Graff, 3 September 1981

The Pursuit of Signs: Semiotics, Literature, Deconstruction 
by Jonathan Culler.
Routledge, 256 pp., £7.95, July 1981, 0 7100 0757 4
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... an apologist for the post-structuralist critical modes typified by the work of Roland Barthes and Jacques Derrida, yet he writes without the supercilious tone of the former or the soporific word-play of the latter. Nor does Culler indulge in cheap vilification of opponents, suggesting that unwillingness to buy the whole post-structuralist bill of goods ...

Paul de Man’s Abyss

Frank Kermode, 16 March 1989

Wartime Journalism, 1939-1943 
by Paul de Man and Werner Hamacher, edited by Neil Hertz and Thomas Keenan.
Nebraska, 399 pp., £28, October 1988, 9780803216846
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Critical Writings 1953-1978 
by Paul de Man, edited by Lindsay Waters.
Minnesota, 228 pp., $39.50, April 1989, 0 8166 1695 7
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Paul de Man: Deconstruction and the Critique of Aesthetic Ideology 
by Christopher Norris.
Routledge, 218 pp., £25, October 1988, 0 415 90079 4
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Reading de Man Reading 
edited by Lindsay Waters and Wlad Godzich.
Minnesota, 312 pp., $39.50, April 1989, 0 8166 1660 4
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... Geoffrey Hartman, say that by the standards of the time this was pretty lukewarm anti-semitism. Jacques Derrida – a Jew and a close friend of de Man’s – finds it inexcusable, but demands that it be dealt with justly. He repeats that the article deeply wounded him, but discovers in it some redeeming qualities: for example, ‘to condemn “vulgar ...

Pseuds’ Skyscraper

Mark Lilla, 5 June 1997

The Ethical Function of Architecture 
by Karsten Harries.
MIT, 414 pp., £29.95, January 1997, 0 262 08252 7
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... today they tend towards that of the post-structuralist academy. The (translated) writings of Jacques Derrida have spawned their own architectural sub-literature and are even responsible for a few buildings erected by his followers Peter Eisenman and Bernard Tschumi, gurus of the mercifully short-lived ‘deconstructivist’ movement. But ...

Hayden White and History

Stephen Bann, 17 September 1987

The Content of the Form: Narrative Discourse and Historical Representation 
by Hayden White.
Johns Hopkins, 248 pp., £20.80, May 1987, 0 8018 2937 2
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Post-Structuralism and the Question of History 
edited by Derek Attridge, Geoff Bennington and Robert Young.
Cambridge, 292 pp., £27.50, February 1987, 0 521 32759 8
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... and the Question of History, with its three editors, and 11 contributors, goes under the sign of Jacques Derrida. The differences implicit in these two contemporary works which both deal broadly with ‘the question of history’ are very revealing. For White gives generous and full consideration to historical theorists whose concerns impinge upon his ...

Outside the Academy

Robert Alter, 13 February 1992

Authors and Authority: English and American Criticism 1750-1990 
by Patrick Parrinder.
Macmillan, 392 pp., £40, August 1991, 0 333 43294 0
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A History of Modern Criticism 1750-1950. Vol. VII: German, Russian and Eastern European Criticism, 1900-1950 
by René Wellek.
Yale, 458 pp., £26, October 1991, 0 300 05039 9
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... at his home institution in the so-called École de Yale. In 1979, Harold Bloom, Paul de Man, Jacques Derrida, Geoffrey Hartman and J. Hillis Miller, all at the time Yale colleagues, put together a kind of manifesto entitled Deconstruction and Criticism. There were certain affinities among the five but the differences were more striking. On one ...


John Sturrock, 4 January 1996

L’Accent du souvenir 
by Bernard Cerquiglini.
Minuit, 165 pp., frs 99, September 1995, 2 7073 1536 2
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... of linguistic change. The issue is a large one: of what, after years of letting the arguments of Jacques Derrida sink fully in, we now know as phonocentrism. Phonocentric is what we almost all of us are but none of us should be, according to Derrida: we look on the written language simply as the representation of the ...

Doing what doesn’t come naturally

John Sturrock, 16 December 1993

French Lessons: A Memoir 
by Alice Kaplan.
Chicago, 221 pp., £15.95, September 1993, 0 226 42418 9
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... our un-speakable selves and the impersonal signs we have to resort to to publicise them which Jacques Derrida has argued for so devastatingly. Those who have objected to Derrida on this ground should reflect on what we experience when we use a so-called foreign language and explain how that might differ in kind ...

Plato’s Friend

Ian Hacking, 17 December 1992

Metaphysics as a Guide to Morals 
by Iris Murdoch.
Chatto, 520 pp., £20, October 1992, 0 7011 3998 6
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... of the most original and creative modern philosophers (including Nietzsche, Wittgenstein and Derrida) have been discovering rhetoric and using its wiles against blundering one-eyed theoretical reason,’ she tartly retorts that she ‘would rather back analytic philosophy against rhetoric’. But her own way of thinking philosophically is not ...


Terry Eagleton, 27 November 1997

The Indivisible Remainder: An Essay on Schelling and Related Matters 
by Slavoj Žižek.
Verso, 248 pp., £40, January 1997, 1 85984 094 9
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The Abyss of Freedom/Ages of The World 
by Slavoj Žižek and F.W.J. Von Schelling.
Michigan, 182 pp., £35, July 1997, 0 472 09652 4
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The Plague of Fantasies 
by Slavoj Žižek.
Verso, 248 pp., £40, November 1997, 1 85984 857 5
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... Thomas Aquinas, is closer to us than we are to ourselves. This ‘Thing’, as the psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan calls it, with horror movies archly in mind, is otherwise known as the Real, in the Lacanian Holy Trinity of the Real, the Imaginary and the Symbolic. It is also the chief protagonist of the work of the Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Zizek, who by ...

Why the Tortoise Lost

John Sturrock, 18 September 1997

Bergson: Biographie 
by Philippe Soulez and Frédéric Worms.
Flammarion, 386 pp., frs 140, April 1997, 9782080666697
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... de France were the prototype in intellectual chic for the barnstorming Parisian ‘seminars’ of Jacques Lacan in the Sixties and Seventies, even if the topics that the fashionable came to hear were as dry as the lecturer’s podium manner: ‘The Evolution of Theories of Memory’, ‘Theories of the Will’, ‘The Nature of Mind and Its Relation to ...

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