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Positions by Jacques Derrida


by Jacques Derrida

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When I try to decipher a text I do not constantly ask myself if I will finish by answering yes or no, as happens in France at determined periods of history, and generally on Sunday.

The above citation was chosen to reflect a contrast, one of styles - if not intentions. The epigram's glibness is useful to distract from the challenging depths of such a slim book. I dare say I spent more time per page than I have since I was a student. It did require a week to absorb this book, though right from the start Derrida questions whether he (or anyone) is an author and challenges the privilege given to a term like "book". Dodging those critiques I was impressed that Derrida offers "idealized" approach to his theory: by cutting and pasting aspects of Of Gramamtology both around and within Writing and Difference, he creates a hypertext of immense poetics and possible analysis. Some call him a madman or charlatan, I admire him, especially this questioning of words and concepts -- even if, it must be undertaken conceptually with words.

It is entertaining to approach this early Derrida (1967-1972) as he interrogates (defends?) his own work, almost in the third person. That of course led me to think of Stalin, perhaps even SSM's [b:Young Stalin|826564|Young Stalin|Simon Sebag Montefiore|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1356455250s/826564.jpg|994440]. I'm obviously not comparing the work and thought of the two men, though both were outsiders, trained in a disciplined thought, who both challenged and disrupted the framework of these operating systems,. It is likely prudent to walk away from that spontaneous comparison and think instead of Charlie Parker. Is there an effective spacing in the context of Jay McShann?

The middle discussion in Positions is between Derrida and Julia Kristeva. I read this twice and remain lost at sea.

The titular essay is essentially a defense of Derrida's grammar against the challenge of Marxist thought.

Don't you see, once again, I do not believe that one can speak, even from a Marxist point of view, of a homogenous Marxist text that would instantaneously liberate the concept of contradiction from its speculative, teleological, and eschatological horizon.

The debate then concludes with a sparring of missives from the interlocutors. I find the flow and play of Derrida's work to be immensely joyful, even if at times it is inscrutable.

( )
  jonfaith | Feb 22, 2019 |
Tough to rate this, since I disagree with Derrida's positions on most things. But this is clear compared to the essays which are being discussed (in English, in Writing and Difference; Margins of Philosophy; Dissemination). And it's short. If only someone would write a good critique of all this stuff that takes structuralism as a starting point. That I could give 5 stars. ( )
  stillatim | Dec 29, 2013 |
Probably the best introduction to Derrida's early work. ( )
  karl.steel | Apr 2, 2013 |
Lucid. ( )
  headisdead | Apr 22, 2006 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0226143317, Paperback)

Positions is a collection of three interviews with Jacques Derrida that illuminate and make more accessible the complex concepts and terms treated extensively in such works as Writing and Difference and Dissemination. Derrida takes positions on his detractors, his supporters, and the two major preoccupations of French intellectual life, Marxism and psychoanalysis.

The interviews included in this volume offer a multifaceted view of Derrida. "Implications: Interview with Henri Ronse" contains a succinct statement of principles. "Seminology and Grammatology: Interview with Julia Kristeva" provides important clarifications of the role played by linguistics in Derrida's work. "Positions: Interview with Jean-Louis Houdebine and Guy Scarpetta" is a wide-ranging discussion that touches on many of the polemics that Derrida's work as provoked.

Alan Bass, whose translation of Writing and Difference was highly praised for its clarity, accuracy, and readability, has provided extremely useful critical notes, full of vital information, including historical background.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:21:34 -0400)

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