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Jacques Derrida

4.06  ·  Rating Details ·  64 Ratings  ·  9 Reviews
This extraordinary book offers a clear and compelling biography of Jacques Derrida along with one of Derrida's strangest and most unexpected texts. Geoffrey Bennington's account of Derrida leads the reader through the philosopher's familiar yet widely misunderstood work on language and writing to the less familiar themes of signature, sexual difference, law, and affirmatio ...more
Paperback, 432 pages
Published June 15th 1999 by University Of Chicago Press (first published 1990)
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William Durden
The Bennington discussion is certainly worthwhile, more in depth than other 'intro' pieces, but what makes this text essential in the Derrida canon is his own shockingly personal discussion of his relationship to his mother and to religion. Inspired Caputo's Prayers and Tears of Jacques Derrida, and has a profound impact on the way I read Derrida in general.
John Dizon
Feb 16, 2014 John Dizon rated it liked it
Why ask why? Well, for one thing, some guys never know when to give up, and I'd have to say that Geoffrey Bennington and I have that in common. He probably got halfway through Derrida's work, just as I got midway through his, and most likely said the same thing I did: 'What the hell am I doing this for?'. I'm sure he gave himself the same answer I did: you started that damn thing, so you might as well finish it. And so it goes.

What it's mostly about when you wander down this particular corridor
Apr 18, 2011 Andrew rated it it was amazing
I have only read some if Bennington's systematizing of Derrida, so I can't speak for that, but Derrida's Circumfession was an enthralling, emotional, and philosophically tortuous but exciting read. Derrida confesses his own struggles with his (non)-identity (whether it be a brief homosexual experience, or his Judaism or Atheism, or his circumcision), and relates this to his larger philosophical approach in general, in a way that is subtle way. This requires the reader, like all Derrida texts, to ...more
Mar 05, 2007 David rated it really liked it
In my opinion, this is my favorite of the various Derrida introductions I've read. (I like reading various introductions to various philosophers for fun.) It's certainly more convincing and interesting than the others that focus primarily on the uses of his theories for literary purposes. Instead, the reader is taken through the ideas from their often neglected (well, for literary theory) roots in phenomenology. It can be challenging, but it's really very good.
William West
Bennigton's text is the most movingly intimate explication of Derrida's thought I've come across. Indeed, Jacques seemed to think so as well. Derrida added a book length "foot note" that is the closest thing he ever wrote to an autobiography. A must read even for those with an expert knowledge of Derrida's oevre.
Feb 27, 2008 Kate rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Kate by: Jody Greene
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Totally nutty in the way that only Derrida can do.

Bennington's narrative is especially helpful in understanding Derrida; Derrida's "response" is especially helpful in totally fucking up the possibility of understanding him.

Super fun! The layout (2/3 page of Bennington, 1/3 page Derrida at the bottom) really resists the idea of a linear narrative or singular knowledge production.
Saara Raappana
I am only reading the bottom part of this book, the part written by Derrida. I don't give a good goddamn about Mr. Bennington. But since I just read the bottom 1/4 of each page, it probably wouldn't be fair of me to rate it.
Nov 21, 2009 Jonathan added it
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