The Derrida Wordbook

The Derrida Wordbook

The Derrida Wordbook

The Derrida Wordbook

Synopsis

Jacques Derrida (1930-2004) was undoubtedly one of the most influential thinkers of the twentieth century. He informed debate across many varied subjects and questions, from literature and philosophy to politics, ethics, religion, aesthetics, and culture. The Derrida Wordbook offers scholars, students, and researchers an extensive glossary, providing the reader with definitions of a wide range of terms employed by, or associated with, Derrida.

Excerpt

Foreword: a word before all the other words, not the same not quite, occupying this space, that which comes before, and which is also affirmative; it is for words, rather than against or contrary to words. It comes in advance, the avant-word, a word or two, or more, opening onto every other word. But wait a minute. At any moment in any given reading, in every encounter with an inscription, which, legible and iterable, demands a response, and promises, or appears to promise some communication, delivery, posting, a sign, even if what the sign signifies, beyond the signification of all signs, may not be clear: is this not every word, wherever we are, wherever one finds oneself, immersed in, surrounded by, words, words, words, a wordhoard, gathered together, a verbal ‘treasure’, or archive at the very least, to be unlocked, as the Old English phrase, wordhoard or wordhord, should remind us–it reminds some while to others it remains locked, exclusive–by those who shared it and were defined by it, or by a sage whose purpose it was to unlock the wordhoard. So every word a ‘foreword’, regardless of where we find ourselves, where you start; for, in order to make sense, to give sense, to receive sense and so open communication in response to the trace, you must treat every word as on the one hand suspensive, interruptive, giving you pause, requiring that you consider, reflect, unpack; while on the other, that which inaugurates, coming as it does before what you have yet to read, and also having a certain spatial as well as temporal relationship to what has been read, inasmuch as can modify, transform or translate what you have already glossed. Every word comes before, even when it arrives after, every other word. Every word signs a place, in order to give place to every other word, while always remaining, in that place, in that reading and in every reading to come, singular in its operation.

But … a word book, word-book, a wordbook. Is such a thing, after Derrida, possible? Is not the word that which escapes and exceeds the book, going by the book? Does not the one oppose the other? Does not the idea of the book favour implicitly, in its . . .

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