By Jacques Derrida
Acts of Literature, compiled in shut organization with Jacques Derrida, brings jointly for the 1st time a couple of Derrida's writings on literary texts. The essays talk about literary figures reminiscent of Rousseau, Mallarmé, Joyce, Shakespeare, and Kafka, and include items spanning Derrida's occupation. the gathering now contains a titanic interview with him on questions of literature, deconstruction, politics, feminism and background, and Derek Attridge offers an introductory essay on deconstruction and the query of literature, with feedback for additional studying. those essays study where and operation of literature in Western tradition, and are hugely unique responses to person literary texts. They spotlight Derrida's curiosity in literature as an important cultural establishment and as a principally difficult type of writing, with inescapable effects for our puzzling over philosophy, politics and ethics.
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Additional info for Acts of Literature
Here the example of Shakespeare is magnificent. Who demonstrates better that texts fully conditioned by their history, loaded with history, and on historical themes, offer themselves so well for reading in historical contexts very distant from their time and place of origin, not only in the European twentieth century, but also in lending themselves to Japanese or Chinese productions and transpositions? This has to do with the structure of a text, with what I will call, to cut corners, its iterability, which both puts down roots in the unity of a context and immediately opens this non-saturable context onto a recontextualization.
Inside this immense space, many distinctions remain necessary. Some texts called "literary" "question" (let us not say "critique" or "deconstruct") philosophy in a sharper, or more thematic, or better informed way than others. Sometimes this questioning occurs more effectively via the actual practice of writing, the staging, the composition, the treatment of language, rhetoric, than via speculative arguments. " A work laden with obvious and canonical "metaphysical" theses can, in the operation of its writing, have more powerful "deconstructive" effects than a text proclaiming itself radically revolutionary without in any way affecting the norms or modes of traditional writing.
Even if that isn't a moral or political duty (but it can also become one), this experience of writing is "subject" to an imperative: to give space for singular events, to invent something new in the form of acts of writing which no longer consist in a theoretical knowledge, in new constative statements, to give oneself to a poetico-literary performativity at least analogous to that of promises, orders, or acts of constitution or legislation which do not only change language, or which, in changing language, change more than language.
Acts of Literature by Jacques Derrida