Derrida: A Biography

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 ...

See more details below
Hardcover
$23.80
BN.com price
(Save 32%)$35.00 List Price

Pick Up In Store

Reserve and pick up in 60 minutes at your local store

Other sellers (Hardcover)
  • All (18) from $19.00   
  • New (13) from $20.47   
  • Used (5) from $19.00   
Sending request ...

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.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Winner of the Choice award for Outstanding Academic Title

'Exhaustive and exhilarating.'
The Scotsman

'Lucid, intelligent and richly informative.'
Times Literary Supplement

'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

"Peeters' biography is unique in shaping Jacques Derrida's legacy in a way that a new generation would benefit from knowing."
The Tablet

'Peeters is not a Derridean, but his book has qualities Derrida might have appreciated, above all a supreme patience with intellectual difficulty and abstention from moral judgement. He has done a heroic amount of research, interviewing more than a hundred of Derrida's friends and associates. He also had the co-operation of Derrida's widow, Marguerite. But his principal source of information is Derrida's own writing ... Derrida saved everything he wrote: he regarded every scrap as a 'trace', an almost sacred emblem of survival - and all writing, from poetry to post-its, had philosophical implications. Peeters puts Derrida's professional writing and these traces on an equal footing, using the one to illuminate the other. We see his many sides: a loyal friend and irrepressible seducer; a critic of dogma who couldn't bring himself to admit his own errors; a man who loathed tribalism but was so thin-skinned and so in need of adoration that he ended up leading his own academic tribe.'
London Review of Books

'Peeters has cut through a lot of the myth and mystique surrounding Derrida. There is probably more illuminating information here - and correspondence - than has ever been made public before ... Peeters's Derrida is vulnerable, sensitive, prone to bouts of melancholia, neurotic, hypochondriac, and verging on suicidal. He is as tormented and torn as his prose. This is Derrida the poetic soul.'
Literary Review

'Peeters' poignant Derrida: A Biograghy is - evidently - not an autobiography, yet it is a piece of writing that draws upon Derrida's own auto-biographies; on a life of work that depicts the life as work, as a work in progress, of a life in writing as writing (not to mention Peeters' unprecedented access to Derrida's personal letters and other writings) ... Indeed, the complex relationship between literature and philosophy, for Derrida, is a recurrent theme in the biography, and the struggle between the two, in Derrida's adolescence (which, as he states, "lasted until I was thirty-two"), makes for fascinating reading.'
Review 31

‘In addressing a philosopher of the importance of Jacques Derrida, whose massive output – about 60 volumes, not including his as yet unpublished seminars – has been translated and debated the world over, Benoît Peeters has quite rightly chosen not the origins or content of the work itself, but the life of the man behind it. In short, he has written an excellent biography entirely in keeping with Anglo-Saxon traditions.’
Elisabeth Roudinesco, The Guardian

'Peeters’ biography humanizes the philosopher in a way that opens up his work in a new way, and most importantly, makes it accessible.'
Philosophy After Dark

'[Peeters] excels at evoking the huge energy and application of the world's most travelled philosopher. If you've ever given up on Derrida, this portrait of him as a lovable, thin-skinned and narcissistic outside in France who shot to fame in the United States should make you reconsider.'
New Statesman

'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 – Benoît Peeters has produced a compelling narrative that sheds light on all aspects of Derrida’s remarkable career.'
Jonathan Culler, Cornell University

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780745656151
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 10/30/2012
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 700
  • Sales rank: 944,781
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 2.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Benoît Peeters was born in Paris in 1956. Following a degree in Philosophy at the Sorbonne (Paris I), he went on to study for his Masters at the École Pratique des Hautes Études under the direction of Roland Barthes. He has since published over forty works on a wide variety of subjects and has written essays and biographies on Hergé, Alfred Hitchcock, and Paul Valéry.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements vii

Introduction 1

PART I JACKIE 1930–1962

1 The Negus 1930–1942 9

2 Under the Sun of Algiers 1942–1949 19

3 The Walls of Louis-le-Grand 1949–1952 35

4 The École Normale Supérieure 1952–1956 59

5 A Year in America 1956–1957 80

6 The Soldier of Koléa 1957–1959 92

7 Melancholia in Le Mans 1959–1960 108

8 Towards Independence 1960–1962 113

PART II DERRIDA 1963–1983

1 From Husserl to Artaud 1963–1964 127

2 In the Shadow of Althusser 1963–1966 144

3 Writing Itself 1965–1966 155

4 A Lucky Year 1967 170

5 A Period of Withdrawal 1968 186

6 Uncomfortable Positions 1969–1971 207

7 Severed Ties 1972–1973 230

8 Glas 1973–1975 256

9 In Support of Philosophy 1973–1976 267

10 Another Life 1976–1977 288

11 From the Nouveaux Philosophes to the Estates General 1977–1979 298

12 Postcards and Proofs 1979–1981 308

13 Night in Prague 1981–1982 332

14 A New Hand of Cards 1982–1983 342

PART III JACQUES DERRIDA 1984–2004

1 The Territories of Deconstruction 1984–1986 355

2 From the Heidegger Aff air to the de Man Aff air 1987–1988 379

3 Living Memory 1988–1990 402

4 Portrait of the Philosopher at Sixty 417

5 At the Frontiers of the Institution 1991–1992 440

6 Of Deconstruction in America 451

7 Specters of Marx 1993–1995 462

8 The Derrida International 1996–1999 478

9 The Time of Dialogue 2000–2002 495

10 In Life and in Death 2003–2004 518

Notes 543

Sources 593

Bibliography 596

Index 605

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)