Who Was Jacques Derrida? An Intellectual Biography

292 Pages · 2009 · 1.63 MB · English

  • Who Was Jacques Derrida? An Intellectual Biography

    Who Was Jacques Derrida? This page intentionally left blank Who Was


    Jacques Derrida

    An Intellectual Biography


    Yale University Press New Haven &London Copyright © 2009by David Mikics.

    All rights reserved.

    This book may not be reproduced,in whole or in part,including

    illustrations,in any form (beyond that copying permitted by Sections 107

    and108ofthe U.S.Copyright Law and except by reviewers for the public

    press),without written permission from the publishers.

    Set in Minion Roman type by Integrated Publishing Solutions.

    Printed in the United States ofAmerica.

    Library ofCongress Cataloging-in-Publication Data


    Who was Jacques Derrida? :an intellectual biography / David Mikics.

    p. cm.

    Includes bibliographical references and index.

    ISBN978-0-300-11542-0(hardcover :alk.paper)

    1. Derrida,Jacques. I. Title.

    B2430.D484M48 2009


    [B] 2009011984

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

    This paper meets the requirements ofANSI/NISO Z39.48–1992

    (Permanence ofPaper).

    10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 For VM This page intentionally left blank Contents

    Acknowledgments ix

    Preface xi

    List ofAbbreviations xv

    Introduction 1

    ONE From Algeria to the École Normale:

    Sartre,Hegel,Husserl 11

    TWO Writing and DifferenceandOfGrammatology 62

    THREE Plato,Austin,Nietzsche,Freud 139 viii Contents

    FOUR Gadamer,Celan,de Man,Heidegger 182

    FIVE Politics,Marx,Judaism 216

    Coda 244

    Notes 249

    Index 259 Acknowledgments

    John Kulka and Jennifer Banks,my editors at Yale University

    Press,accompanied me every step ofthe way.This book would

    not exist without their care and enthusiasm.The anonymous

    readers for Yale were also extraordinarily helpful, and Jack

    Borrebach provided expert copyediting. Harvey Yunis read

    and usefully commented on my discussion of Plato.I greatly

    appreciate the support of David Bromwich and John Hollan-

    der,as well as the patience ofHarold Bloom,Michael Fox,and

    Tzvetan Todorov,who answered my questions about their per-

    sonal experience ofDerrida.

    The Martha Gano Houstoun fund at the English Depart-

    ment of the University of Houston supported the writing of

    this book in essential ways.I am grateful to the Houstoun fam-

    ily and to the English Department’s Houstoun Committee.

    Richard Armstrong and Rob Zaretsky,of the Honors College

    at the University of Houston, offered help and insight; the

    Honors College was a true intellectual home during my work

    on the book.In New York,the Frederick Lewis Allen Room of

    the New York Public Library provided a place to work and an

    inspiring sense that I was surrounded by many distinguished

    writers, past and present. I thank my father, Lewis J. Mikics;

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