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Derrida for Beginners (A Writers and Readers Beginners Documentary Comic Book)
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Derrida for Beginners (For Beginners)

3.73  ·  Rating Details ·  234 Ratings  ·  28 Reviews
In 1966, Jacques Derrida gave a lecture at Johns Hopkins University that cast the entire history of Western philosophy into doubt. The following year, Derrida published three brilliant but mystifying books that convinced the pollsters that he was the most important philosopher of the late 20th century. Unfortunately, nobody was sure whether the intellectual movement he s ...more
Paperback, 185 pages
Published December 1st 1996 by Writers & Readers Publishing (first published 1982)
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Benoit Lelièvre
Jun 26, 2016 Benoit Lelièvre rated it really liked it
Jacques Derrida is kind of a collective frustration for most intellectual people (such as myself) and I have made my mission to get at least a basic understanding of his philosophy. DERRIDA FOR BEGINNERS isn't exactly a one stop shop (Jim Powell wrote other volumes on the canonical French thinker), but it's a pretty darn great starting point. Powell gives historical and cultural insight on how post-structuralism came to be and how Jacques Derrida came to occupy such an important place in that mo ...more
Sarah Hunter
May 28, 2012 Sarah Hunter rated it really liked it
Shelves: theory, own, comics
If you are afraid to read this book because you don't want people to see you reading a "for beginners" book publicly, think about it this way; anybody who doesn't know who Derrida is won't care, and anybody who does know who Derrida is will appreciate any attempt to figure out what the heck he was saying. I'm a big fan of post-structuralism and the writings of Derrida, and I picked up this book for some light reading- but it is definitely not light reading. This is a tough book that you need to ...more
Jared Leonard
May 01, 2007 Jared Leonard rated it really liked it
Shelves: philosophy
Another great entry for this series. If you've ever heard the word/process/concept of "deconstruction" then you've been reading/listening to someone influenced by Derrida. He was a prolific writer so this introductory book focuses on his initial development of deconstruction and explains how deconstruction works. The gist of deconstruction is that no text is univocal and, thus, all texts are open to multiple interpretations. Deconstruction usually happens in the form of identifying and interpret ...more
Jun 26, 2015 Mishek rated it really liked it
(I)t w(as) (go)od !(?)
Apr 22, 2011 Elizabeth rated it it was amazing
what a delightful romp through philosophy with all the cartoon characters and the silliness and jokes along the way. What a fun way to dip one's toes into any subject at all in this series. I am much smarter now and can discuss deconstruction as well as anyone. I'm a big fan of these books. They are a joy to read. Looking now to read the "Philosophers for Beginners" now.
Mar 19, 2009 Lia rated it really liked it
i'm kind of embarrassed to admitting reading this, but who cares. i found it in JB's library, and it had a lot of wear on the spine, so i think he liked it too... in any case, i've read derrida before, but i feel i needed some preparation before i hit up 'truth in painting.' it's pretty concise. it's goofy, but it's very thorough. thumbs up.
Sep 15, 2007 David rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: interested in or wondering about "deconstruction"
Shelves: philosophy
This book is fun. Very easy to read, lots of cartoons!

And very insightful into the life of a conflicted, brilliant man. Insightful into his difficult-to-grasp writings as well.

Highly recommended to anyone living in the U.S. (or the West altogether) born between 1930 and the date you read this post.
Trey Rogge
Sep 15, 2016 Trey Rogge rated it liked it
Don't let the comic book aspect of this fool you. This is actually pretty dense, yet it only touches on the general idea behind Derrida's deconstruction. I do feel, though, that I can finally read something from Derrida and not be completely lost, and I can also start forming some opinion on whether or not I agree with his claims, but, still, I'm not absolutely clear on what Derrida actually wanted to accomplish through his complete inversion and evisceration of Western philosophy - even after r ...more
Jan 29, 2008 Beth rated it really liked it
Still digesting this one. I really love the way that Derrida thinks, even if I don't understand half of it ;o)
Nov 30, 2014 Adam rated it really liked it
Derrida is at the heart of the post-modern movement in philosophy and it seemed valuable to get some idea of what his ideas were. In Powell's lucid and clever presentation, it becomes clear that he did advance a preponderance of pomo premises in both philosophy and literature, but also why his works are notoriously abstruse and stymying. Throughout the book, I kept thinking "yes, that's a core tenet of my worldview and something that makes a lot of sense, but why did he ever choose to explain it ...more
Mar 15, 2013 Raghad rated it it was amazing
Adriana Scarpin
May 21, 2016 Adriana Scarpin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: filosofia, quadrinhos
Estou até vendo eu misturar (propositalmente) Derrida com Lacan na prática clínica. Rá!
No mais esse livrinho é bem interessante e um dos melhores como introdução ao pensamento de Derrida, porque essa série pode ser para principiantes e cheios de figuras, mas nenhum deles pega leve na conceituação teórica.
Mike Jensen
Dec 07, 2010 Mike Jensen rated it liked it
If you believe that when you say, “The fire truck is red,” you get to determine that red refers to the color and anyone who insists you mean, “The fire truck is socialist,” is wrong, you will not like Derrida. He insists that the socialist option is valid. While speaking and writing are not the same, Derrida insists they are as opposite as poison and cure. Derrida was certainly wrong. A lot. Based on his latter speeches, I believe he was a fraud. He fooled thousands of people. This book does a f ...more
Oct 15, 2014 David rated it really liked it
I lol'd.
Feb 24, 2012 Niral added it
Have to give this book some love for even attempting to explain in clear prose (and poke fun at) notoriously abstruse, academic knowledge. It's what every grad student is thinking: why can't they just say what they mean minus the jargon and lofty, circular language? Being new to Derrida, I can't say whether this book adequately represents the man's ideas. Still, a spirited effort is a spirited effort.
Mrityunjay Mrityunjay
OMFG! I love comics again!
Jun 11, 2008 Michael rated it liked it
Shelves: philosophy
Let's start with the obvious: Derrida is complex. Very complex. Even a lighthearted comic book presentation can't overcome that, but it's a fun way to try to understand the basics of his philosophies. If you love the minutia of language and meaning then exploring Derrida's ideas is a good way to gain perspective on how humans communicate.
No me gustó mucho. Creo que en buena medida no lo terminé de entender, pero me parece que es poco relevante lo que propone Derrida. En vez de revalorarlo creo que ahora me interesa menos. Es una primera aproximación, había escuchado bastante sobre el asunto de la deconstrucción, ahora entiendo un poco más a que se referian.
William Durden
As with any intro book to a complicated thinker/topic, there are points that I think are covered well, and places where I think important information is missing. As an introduction, it serves its function well enough. But my own understanding of Derrida is colored by interpretations not represented here.
Dec 08, 2013 Lucas added it
If you are reading this review, it may very well be too late, however I had a much easier time understanding Deconstructionalism from this book than the "Deconstruction for Beginners" of the same series. Essentially easy to read, but it still required full rapt attention.
Kunjila Mascillamani
Meaning is fascist.
Don't understand why most philosophers are obsessed with translating all of it to hymen. Such an insignificant entity.
Derrida rocks.
Chris Schaeffer
Dec 25, 2012 Chris Schaeffer rated it really liked it
This was a pretty good little comic book about Derrida to read on the river banks in Manayunk.
Aug 25, 2012 Neetu rated it really liked it
The most coherent and lucid explanation of Derrida's stance and ideology! Loved it!!
Ahimaaz R
Dec 14, 2010 Ahimaaz R rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A real decent intro to Derrida makes me really want to read a Derrida for real
Jul 18, 2009 Dawn rated it it was ok
I still didn't understand Derrida after this. Perhaps that's my fault.
Sep 18, 2008 Sally marked it as to-read
What kind of magic would it take to get the CSU library to stock this book?
Jun 03, 2012 Brent marked it as to-read
Shelves: history, biography
I love Beginners books.
Graham Ross
Graham Ross rated it did not like it
Oct 13, 2016
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First impressions.
Some people
take their cue
from a handshake,
the eyes,
a bank statement,
or the shine of one’s shoes.
I make a beeline
for the bookshelves.
Forget reading palms.
One’s library
is a window
into one’s soul.
Go through my books and
my mind stands revealed before you.

writer, editor, meditation teacher, story consultant to motion picture industry
More about James N. Powell...

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“Deconstruction seeks neither to reframe art with some perfect, apt and truthful new frame, nor simply to maintain the illusion of some pure and simple absence of a frame. Rather it shows that the frame is, in a sense, also inside the painting. For the frame is what "produces" the object of art, is what sets it off as an object of art—an aesthetic object. Thus the frame is essential to the work of art; in the work of art. Paint a $5,000 abstract painting on a railroad boxcar and nobody will pay a cent for it. Take a torch, remove the panel of the boxcar, install it in a gallery, and it will be worth $5,000. It will be art because it is now framed by the gallery. But at the same moment that the frame encloses the work in its own protected enclosure, making it a work of art, it becomes merely ornamental—external to the work of art. Thus is the frame central or marginal? Is the frame inside the work of art, essential to it, or outside the work of art, extrinsic to it?” 9 likes
“So that to give a commentary on the text, such as we are attempting here, is to reinforce the illusion that a present meaning exists–that a text can be presented.

When I try to present a commentary (as I am doing here), I necessarily resist the suction of the play of meanings which attempts to suck any such attempt–which it produces–back into a void. If I try to explain the text, I forget that the production of my explanation is already related to its dissolution, its disappearance into a textual void, a void between any two readings, a void which is always already producing another reading, and its dissolution.”
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