By Benoît Peeters
This biography of Jacques Derrida (1930–2004) tells the tale of a Jewish boy from Algiers, excluded from university on the age of twelve, who went directly to develop into the main extensively translated French thinker on this planet – a weak, tormented guy who, all through his lifestyles, persisted to work out himself as unwelcome within the French college procedure. we're plunged into the several worlds within which Derrida lived and labored: pre-independence Algeria, the microcosm of the École Normale Supérieure, the cluster of structuralist thinkers, and the turbulent occasions of 1968 and after. We meet the amazing sequence of top writers and philosophers with whom Derrida struck up a friendship: Louis Althusser, Emmanuel Levinas, Jean Genet, and Hélène Cixous, between others. We additionally witness an both lengthy sequence of frequently brutal polemics fought over the most important matters with thinkers similar to Michel Foucault, Jacques Lacan, John R. Searle, and Jürgen Habermas, in addition to numerous controversies that went a ways past academia, the easiest recognized of which involved Heidegger and Paul de guy. We keep on with a chain of brave political commitments in aid of Nelson Mandela, unlawful immigrants, and homosexual marriage. And we watch as an idea – deconstruction – takes to the air and exerts a rare effect manner past the philosophical global, on literary reports, structure, legislations, theology, feminism, queer thought, and postcolonial studies.
In penning this compelling and authoritative biography, Benoît Peeters talked to over 100 people who knew and labored with Derrida. he's additionally the 1st individual to use the large own archive outfitted up through Derrida all through his existence and of his large correspondence. Peeters’ ebook offers us a brand new and deeper figuring out of the guy who will probably be noticeable because the significant thinker of the second one half the 20 th century.
'Exhaustive and exhilarating.'
'Lucid, clever and richly informative.'
Times Literary Supplement
'Peeters has ransacked the voluminous Derrida data and interviewed ratings of his acquaintances and associates. the result's a marvellously compelling account, lucidly translated by way of Andrew Brown. the fellow who emerges from this portrait is an agonised soul with unexpected outbreaks of gaiety, an astonishingly unique philosopher with greater than a touch of shallowness who however made himself totally to be had to the humblest student.'
Terry Eagleton, The* Guardian*
"Peeters' biography is exclusive in shaping Jacques Derrida's legacy in a manner new new release would receive advantages from knowing."
'Peeters isn't a Derridean, yet his e-book has traits Derrida may need preferred, especially a ideal persistence with highbrow hassle and abstention from ethical judgement. He has performed a heroic volume of study, interviewing greater than 100 of Derrida's acquaintances and co-workers. He additionally had the co-operation of Derrida's widow, Marguerite. yet his important resource of knowledge is Derrida's personal writing ... Derrida kept every little thing he wrote: he looked each scrap as a 'trace', a nearly sacred logo of survival - and all writing, from poetry to post-its, had philosophical implications. Peeters places Derrida's specialist writing and those strains on an equivalent footing, utilizing the single to light up the opposite. We see his many facets: a devoted pal and irrepressible seducer; a critic of dogma who couldn't carry himself to confess his personal blunders; a guy who loathed tribalism yet used to be so thin-skinned and so short of adoration that he ended up prime his personal educational tribe.'
London evaluation of Books
'Peeters has lower via many of the delusion and mystique surrounding Derrida. there's most likely extra illuminating info right here - and correspondence - than has ever been made public sooner than ... Peeters's Derrida is weak, delicate, vulnerable to bouts of melancholia, neurotic, hypochondriac, and verging on suicidal. he's as tormented and torn as his prose. this is often Derrida the poetic soul.'
'Peeters' poignant Derrida: A Biograghy is - obviously - no longer an autobiography, but it's a piece of writing that attracts upon Derrida's personal auto-biographies; on a lifetime of paintings that depicts the existence as paintings, as a piece in development, of a existence in writing as writing (not to say Peeters' exceptional entry to Derrida's own letters and different writings) ... certainly, the complicated dating among literature and philosophy, for Derrida, is a recurrent subject matter within the biography, and the fight among the 2, in Derrida's early life (which, as he states, "lasted till i used to be thirty-two"), makes for attention-grabbing reading.'
‘In addressing a thinker of the significance of Jacques Derrida, whose colossal output – approximately 60 volumes, no longer together with his as but unpublished seminars – has been translated and debated across the world, Benoît Peeters has fairly rightly selected no longer the origins or content material of the paintings itself, however the lifetime of the guy at the back of it. briefly, he has written a superb biography solely based on Anglo-Saxon traditions.’
Elisabeth Roudinesco,* The Guardian*
'Peeters’ biography humanizes the thinker in a manner that opens up his paintings in a brand new manner, and most significantly, makes it accessible.'
Philosophy After Dark
'[Peeters] excels at evoking the massive strength and alertness of the world's so much travelled thinker. If you've ever given up on Derrida, this portrait of him as a adorable, thin-skinned and narcissistic outdoors in France who shot to reputation within the usa may still make you reconsider.'
'A genuine travel de strength. Assimilating an unlimited quantity of fabric – Derrida’s personal voluminous courses, unpublished files and correspondence, and conversations with a number of buddies – Benoît Peeters has produced a compelling narrative that sheds mild on all facets of Derrida’s striking career.'
Jonathan Culler, Cornell University
About the Author
Benoît Peeters was once born in Paris in 1956. Following a level in Philosophy on the Sorbonne (Paris I), he went directly to learn for his Masters on the École Pratique des Hautes Études less than the path of Roland Barthes. He has because released over 40 works on a large choice of topics and has written essays and biographies on Hergé, Alfred Hitchcock, and Paul Valéry.
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Extra info for Derrida: A Biography
It might seem at best naive, or at worst presumptuous, to equate Klein’s “toys” with the objects with which art historians play (#1). As far-fetched as this material analogy may be, there is nevertheless something provocative about reading the two practices, art history and psychoanalysis, alongside each other. 52 Her conviction also, I believe, helps to illuminate the melancholic predisposition that shadows many an art historical writing. Such a fixation on objects, the felicitous semantic hinge that connects works of art to the fixtures of Klein’s fascination, intimates the many ways in which certain works of art might be doing something more for our disciplinary psyche than providing handsome materials for advanced research.
10 The kind of professional care with which we respond as art historians resides comfortably in our essays and books, but whence comes the desire to write about these works in the first place? 11 A couple of proleptic remarks: this essay is addressed directly to the scholarly commitment of writing art history and only indirectly to the role of evocative and meaningful historical objects in our memories, archives, and attics. No doubt, the key to the Bastille that lies quietly in the French National Assembly, or a fragment of an inscription from a recently excavated Mayan tomb, or even the love letters that my grandfather wrote to my grandmother in 1918, evince a powerful phenomenological pull all their own.
It would be difficult to imagine a scholar of the visual more different in temperament from the connoisseur Berenson with whom we began this essay than the cultural historian Warburg. Nevertheless, in their writings and lectures, both, in very different ways, were motivated by the sorrows of loss about what we do not know, what we cannot understand: the kind of historical attitude seized and satirized with justification by Nietzsche but given psychological depth by Riegl. ”34 Henceforth, in that tortured age, if anything was to be explained by its philosophers and historians, they had to go underground, so to speak, into the nether region of Orpheus and Eurydice, where very different narrative levels were at work.
Derrida: A Biography by Benoît Peeters