Details

ISBN-10: 0745656161
ISBN-13: 9780745656168
Publisher: Polity Press
Publish Date: 11/07/2016
Dimensions: 9.00" L, 6.02" W, 1.85" H

Derrida: A Biography

Paperback

Price: $19.95

Overview

This biography of Jacques Derrida (1930-2004) tells the story of a Jewish boy from Algiers, excluded from school at the age of twelve, who went on to become the most widely translated French philosopher in the world – a vulnerable, tormented man who, throughout his life, continued to see himself as unwelcome in the French university system. We are plunged into the different worlds in which Derrida lived and worked: pre-independence Algeria, the microcosm of the École Normale Supérieure, the cluster of structuralist thinkers, and the turbulent events of 1968 and after. We meet the remarkable series of leading writers and philosophers with whom Derrida struck up a friendship: Louis Althusser, Emmanuel Levinas, Jean Genet, and Hélène Cixous, among others. We also witness an equally long series of often brutal polemics fought over crucial issues with thinkers such as Michel Foucault, Jacques Lacan, John R. Searle, and Jürgen Habermas, as well as several controversies that went far beyond academia, the best known of which concerned Heidegger and Paul de Man. We follow a series of courageous political commitments in support of Nelson Mandela, illegal immigrants, and gay marriage. And we watch as a concept – deconstruction – takes wing and exerts an extraordinary influence way beyond the philosophical world, on literary studies, architecture, law, theology, feminism, queer theory, and postcolonial studies.

In writing this compelling and authoritative biography, Benoît Peeters talked to over a hundred individuals who knew and worked with Derrida. He is also the first person to make use of the huge personal archive built up by Derrida throughout his life and of his extensive correspondence. Peeters’ book gives us a new and deeper understanding of the man who will perhaps be seen as the major philosopher of the second half of the twentieth century.

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Reviews

''Peeters has ransacked the voluminous Derrida archives and interviewed scores of his friends and colleagues. The result is a marvellously compelling account, lucidly translated by Andrew Brown. The man who emerges from this portrait is an agonised soul with sudden outbreaks of gaiety, an astonishingly original thinker with more than a dash of vanity who nevertheless made himself fully available to the humblest student.''
Terry Eagleton, The Guardian

''Exhaustive and exhilarating.''
The Scotsman

''A real tour de force. Assimilating a vast amount of material Derrida's own voluminous publications, unpublished documents and correspondence, and conversations with a host of acquaintances Ð Benoit Peeters has produced a compelling narrative that sheds light on all aspects of Derrida's remarkable career.''
Jonathan Culler, Cornell University

''If you've ever given up on Derrida, this portrait of him as a lovable, thin-skinned and narcissistic outsider in France who shot to fame in the United States should make you reconsider.''
New Statesman

''In his impressive, massive biography... Benoit Peeters, a former student of Derrida's, tells a captivating tale of the enfant terrible outsider.''
Wichita Eagle

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Details

ISBN-10: 0745656161
ISBN-13: 9780745656168
Publisher: Polity Press
Publish Date: 11/07/2016
Dimensions: 9.00" L, 6.02" W, 1.85" H
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