Derrida from Now on

Derrida from Now on

Derrida from Now on

Derrida from Now on


Written in the wake of Jacques Derrida's death in 2004, Derrida From Now On attempts both to do justice to the memory of Derrida and to demonstrate the continuing significance of his work for contemporary philosophy and literary theory.

If Derrida's thought is to remain relevant for us today, it must be at once understood in its original context and uprooted and transplanted elsewhere. Michael Naas thus begins with an analysis of Derrida's attachment to the French language, to Europe, and to European secular thought, before turning to Derrida's long engagement with the American context and to the ways in which deconstruction allows us to rethink the history, identity, and promise of post-9/11 America.

Taking as its point of departure several of Derrida's later works (from "Faith and Knowledge" and The Work of Mourning to Rogues and Learning to Live Finally), the book demonstrates how Derrida's analyses of the phantasms of sovereignty, the essential autoimmunity of democracy or religion, or the impossible mourning of the nation-state can help us to understand what is happening today in American culture, literature, and politics.

Though Derrida's thought has always lived on only by being translated elsewhere, his disappearance will have driven home this necessity with a new force and an unprecedented urgency. Derrida From Now On is an effect of this force and an attempt to respond to this urgency.


In the days immediately following the death of Jacques Derrida in October 2004, I imagined that my mourning would go otherwise. (“My mourning,” I say, as if I knew what mourning was and could identify it as “my own.”) I imagined myself continuing to speak and write about the importance of Derrida’s work for me personally and for contemporary thought more generally. I imagined myself bearing witness to the kindness and hospitality Derrida always showed me and my work. I even imagined myself in the wake of Derrida’s death recounting some more personal stories about him—something I had never allowed myself to do before. and I also saw myself, of course, continuing to read him, especially, I thought, those final interviews, texts, and seminars, works that I imagined might tell me something about how he himself thought about a death he knew was approaching and how I myself should understand that death or my own work of mourning. in short, I imagined myself as a more or less “faithful heir,” bearing witness to Derrida’s life and work, introducing that work to students who have never had the chance to read it before, and defending it before those in the academy and the media who so often blindly criticize it.

Today, more than a couple of years after the death of Jacques Derrida, it has become unmistakably clear that I had imagined wrongly, that my mourning has gone otherwise, demonstrating, no doubt, that mourning is never so predictable and that, in this case at least, it was never simply my own. Indeed the one thing I did not imagine myself doing in those . . .

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