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

3.7 of 5 stars 3.70  ·  rating details  ·  179 ratings  ·  21 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 sp...more
Paperback, 185 pages
Published December 1st 1996 by Writers & Readers Publishing (first published 1982)
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Jared Leonard
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
Sarah Hunter
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
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
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.
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 5 of 5 stars
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.
Still digesting this one. I really love the way that Derrida thinks, even if I don't understand half of it ;o)
Mike Jensen
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
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.
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.
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.
Here's some real Derrida for beginners:

Derrida was a French Algerian performance artist with funny hair. He was the Andy Kaufman of philosophy. He still fools people to this day with his sophistry.
Chris Schaeffer
This was a pretty good little comic book about Derrida to read on the river banks in Manayunk.
The most coherent and lucid explanation of Derrida's stance and ideology! Loved it!!
Ahimaaz R
A real decent intro to Derrida makes me really want to read a Derrida for real
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.
Marinha marked it as to-read
Jul 19, 2014
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Jul 04, 2014
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James Powell assures us that the universe is a silent partner in a dialogue that goes on all the time.
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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?” 6 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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