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Derrida: A Biography

673 Pages · 2012 · 9.24 MB · English

  • Derrida: A Biography

    Derrida Derrida


    A Biography


    Benoît Peeters


    Translated by


    Andrew Brown


    polity First published in French as Derrida © Flammarion, 2010


    This English edition © Polity Press, 2013


    Polity Press


    65 Bridge Street


    Cambridge CB2 1UR, UK


    Polity Press


    350 Main Street


    Malden, MA 02148, USA


    All rights reserved. Except for the quotation of short passages for the purpose


    of criticism and review, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored


    in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic,


    mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior


    permission of the publisher.


    ISBN-13: 978-0-7456-5615-1


    A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library.


    Typeset in 10.5 on 11.5 pt Times New Roman MT


    by Servis Filmsetting Ltd, Stockport, Cheshire


    Printed and bound in Great Britain by MPG Books Group Limited, Bodmin,


    Cornwall


    The publisher has used its best endeavours to ensure that the URLs for


    external websites referred to in this book are correct and active at the time of


    going to press. However, the publisher has no responsibility for the websites


    and can make no guarantee that a site will remain live or that the content is or


    will remain appropriate.


    Every eff ort has been made to trace all copyright holders, but if any have


    been inadvertently overlooked the publisher will be pleased to include any


    necessary credits in any subsequent reprint or edition.


    For further information on Polity, visit our website: www.politybooks.com Contents


    Acknowledgements vii


    Introduction 1


    PART I JACKIE 1930–1962


    1 The Negus 1930–1942 9


    2 Under the Sun of Algiers 1942–1949 19


    3 The Walls of Louis-le-Grand 1949–1952 35


    4 The École Normale Supérieure 1952–1956 59


    5 A Year in America 1956–1957 80


    6 The Soldier of Koléa 1957–1959 92


    7 Melancholia in Le Mans 1959–1960 108


    8 Towards Independence 1960–1962 113


    PART II DERRIDA 1963–1983


    1 From Husserl to Artaud 1963–1964 127


    2 In the Shadow of Althusser 1963–1966 144


    3 Writing Itself 1965–1966 155


    4 A Lucky Year 1967 170


    5 A Period of Withdrawal 1968 186


    6 Uncomfortable Positions 1969–1971 207


    7 Severed Ties 1972–1973 230


    8 Glas 1973–1975 256


    9 In Support of Philosophy 1973–1976 267


    10 Another Life 1976–1977 288


    11 F rom the Nouveaux Philosophes to the Estates General


    1977–1979 298


    12 Postcards and Proofs 1979–1981 308


    13 Night in Prague 1981–1982 332


    14 A New Hand of Cards 1982–1983 342 vi Contents


    PART III JACQUES DERRIDA 1984–2004


    1 The Territories of Deconstruction 1984–1986 355


    2 From the Heidegger Aff air to the de Man Aff air


    1987–1988 379


    3 Living Memory 1988–1990 402


    4 Portrait of the Philosopher at Sixty 417


    5 At the Frontiers of the Institution 1991–1992 440


    6 Of Deconstruction in America 451


    7 Specters of Marx 1993–1995 462


    8 The Derrida International 1996–1999 478


    9 The Time of Dialogue 2000–2002 495


    10 In Life and in Death 2003–2004 518


    Notes 543


    Sources 593


    Bibliography 596


    Index 605 Acknowledgements


    I can never thank Marguerite Derrida enough for placing her con-


    fi dence in me, without which the present work would have been


    unimaginable. She gave me free access to the archives and answered


    my countless questions with patience and precision. I am also


    extremely grateful to Pierre and Jean, the sons of Marguerite and


    Jacques Derrida, as well as to René and Évelyne Derrida, Janine


    and Pierrot Meskel, Martine Meskel, and Micheline Lévy.


    Many of Derrida’s archives are kept at IMEC, the Institut


    Mémoires de l’Édition Contemporaine, at the Abbaye d’Ardenne. It


    was a particular pleasure to work there. Thanks are due to the whole


    of the team, in particular to Olivier Corpet, the general director, to


    Nathalie Léger, deputy director, to Albert Dichy, literary director,


    and to José Ruiz-Funes and Mélina Reynaud, who are in charge


    of the Derrida collection and his correspondence. Their friendly


    assistance and their competence have been of the greatest value to


    me. I must also thank Claire Paulhan, who s uggested more than one


    fruitful path for me to follow.


    The other part of Jacques Derrida’s public archives is preserved


    in the ‘Special Collections’ of the University of California, Irvine.


    Thanks to Jackie Dooley, Steve McLeod, and their whole team for


    their great effi ciency.


    Particular thanks must also go to Patricia de Man, Jacqueline


    Laporte, Dominne and Hélène Milliex, Christophe Bident, Éric


    Hoppenot, Michael Levinas, Avital Ronell, Ginette Michaud,


    Michel Monory, Jean-Luc Nancy and Jean Philippe, as well as to


    Marianne Cayatte (archives of the Lycée Louis-le-Grand), André


    Vivet (Association des Anciens Élèves du Lycée Montesquieu


    in Le Mans), Françoise Fournié (archives of Gérard Granel),


    Myriam Watthee-Delmotte (Henry Bauchau collection in Louvain-


    la-Neuve), Catherine Goldenstein (Paul Ricoeur collection in Paris),


    Bruno Roy (archives of Roger Laporte), Claire Nancy (archives of


    Philippe Lacoue-Labarthe), and to all those who have enabled me


    to fi nd rare letters or documents. viii Acknowledgements


    A huge thank you to those who have helped me, with their advice,


    their remarks, or their encouragements: to Valérie Lévy-Soussan,


    fi rst and foremost, for lending me her ear, her advice, and her


    support every day, but also to Marie-Françoise Plissart, Sandrine


    Willems, Marc Avelot, Jan Baetens, Jean-Christophe Cambier,


    Luc Dellisse, Archibald and Vladimir Peeters, Hadrien and Gabriel


    Pelissier. Thanks also to Sophie Dufour, who transcribed several


    quotations, with both care and enthusiasm. And particular thanks


    to Christian Rullier: he knows why.


    To Sophie Berlin, director of the Human Sciences department at


    Flammarion, I am immensely indebted. Without her, I would never


    have had the idea of embarking on this project, nor the energy to


    bring it to completion.


    Translator's Acknowledgements


    Thanks to Benoît Peeters for replying so readily to my questions


    and generously providing me with original source materials. Thanks


    also to Jean-Pacal Pouzet, Chloé Szebrat, and Jane Horton for help


    and advice. And thanks, most of all, to Justin Dyer for his scrupu-


    lous copy-editing and ability to track down the most recalcitrant


    translations of Derrida and company into English. All mistakes are


    my own (toutes les erreurs me sont propres). A few further refl ections


    on Derrida and biography can be found at http://benequildatuit.


    blogspot.co.uk.


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