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Routledge, 1978 - Criticism (Philosophy) - 342 pages
23 Reviews
First published in 1967, Writing and Difference, a collection of Jacques Derrida's essays written between 1959 and 1966, has become a landmark of contemporary French thought. In it we find Derrida at work on his systematic deconstruction of Western metaphysics. The book's first half, which includes the celebrated essay on Descartes and Foucault, shows the development of Derrida's method of deconstruction. In these essays, Derrida demonstrates the traditional nature of some purportedly nontraditional currents of modern thought -- one of his main targets being the way in which "structuralism" unwittingly repeats metaphysical concepts in its use of linguistic models. The second half of the book contains some of Derrida's most compelling analyses of why and how metaphysical thinking must exclude writing from its conception of language, finally showing metaphysics to be constituted by this exclusion. These essays on Artaud, Freud, Bataille, Hegel, and Lévi-Strauss have served as introductions to Derrida's notions of writing and difference -- the untranslatable formulation of a nonmetaphysical "concept" that does not exclude writing -- for almost a generation of students of literature, philosophy, and psychoanalysis. Writing and Difference reveals the unacknowledged program that makes thought itself possible. In analyzing the contradictions inherent in this program, Derrida foes on to develop new ways of thinking, reading, and writing, -- new ways based on the most complete and rigorous understanding of the old ways. Scholars and students from all disciplines will find Writing and Difference an excellent introduction to perhaps the most challenging of contemporary French thinkers -- challenging because Derrida questions thought as we know it. -- Back cover.

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Review: Writing and Difference

User Review  - John HD Lucy - Goodreads

Every time I read Derrida I remember that he is hard to read. I don't want to sound dumb, but the big words and esoteric concepts that he uses, constantly, weigh down the text for the reader. Each ... Read full review

Review: Writing and Difference

User Review  - Derek - Goodreads

started to talk about first couple of essays here: Read full review

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About the author (1978)

Jacques Derrida was born in Algeria in 1930. His works of philosophy and linguistics form the basis of the school of criticism known as deconstruction. This theory states that language is an inadequate method to give an unambiguous definition of a work, as the meaning of text can differ depending on reader, time, and context. His De la Grammatologie (1967, published as Of Grammatology in 1976), is the most formal known statement of his theory. He further demonstrates this theory in his book Glas (1974, translated to English in 1986). Jacques Derrida lives in Paris and teaches at the Ecole Normale Superieure. His awards include honorary doctorates form Columbia (1980), the University of Louvain (1983), and the University of Essex (1987), and an honorary degree by Cambridge University (1992), which was publicly contested, adding to his already controversial reputation.

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