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Derrida: A Very Short Introduction

3.27  ·  Rating details ·  193 ratings  ·  21 reviews
Jacques Derrida, the French philosopher, wrote such famed works as Writing and Difference, Speech and Phenomena, and On Grammatology, has made important contributions to both post-structuralism and post-modern philosophy, and indeed has challenged some of the unquestioned assumptions of our philosophical tradition. But he is most renowned--or condemned--for his critical te ...more
Paperback, 124 pages
Published October 1st 2011 by Oxford University Press (first published August 25th 2011)
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3.27  · 
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 ·  193 ratings  ·  21 reviews

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Cosmo Polke
Feb 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Derrida was obviously illiterate, "words is ultimately meaningless" no Derrida, they aren't you dumbo otherwise how would I read YOUR book, sheesh.
Sep 24, 2013 rated it liked it
A home that is all the forms disposed to clarify the small, which are perhaps even just preliminaries for the analytic philosopher, might be poorly placed from which to set out after a view of Derrida. However, this introduction ranges helpfully over thick fingers of Derrida's vocabulary and makes tips of his argumentation.

Glendinning does well to dispel some of the fog around Derrida, but in so far as the latter is a love object of the former there remains an aura against the hope of sharp perc
Samuel Morris
Jul 27, 2013 rated it it was ok
When you're reading Glendinning's comments on prefaces you're going to suspect this book of being an ironic/postmodern practical joke. Inasmuch as it prefaces a body of work that you'd really need to be quite familiar with in order to understand the preface.
This reads like a love letter to Derrida, but it doesn't work as a concise introduction. NOTHING with the neologism onto-theological in it can really pretend to be introductory.
Mar 03, 2014 rated it liked it
As with most of the Very Short Introductions, this does its job. I'm a bit puzzled by people claiming Derrida is harder than Barthes -- I actually found it the other way round, and felt like I was clinging on a bit better to the meaning and key terms when it came to Derrida than Barthes. Glendinning writes well and engagingly, which helps.
Oct 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
Title is accurate.
Lazarus P Badpenny Esq
Nope, still none the wiser...
Lucas Johnston
Apr 29, 2019 rated it liked it
A bit heavy on biographical details. Also I’m not sure how much of Derrida is possible to introduce in an admittedly very short space, but some of the introduction is still somewhat difficult to grasp which is either a fault of the introducer, the introducability of Derrida or both.
Mar 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
I usually don't go in for these short introduction books, but as I've been meaning to get back to Derrida's works I thought this might be a good launching pad. I found Simon Glendinning's introduction to be extremely well written and clear, providing an engaging and enlightening summary of several of Derrida's main arguments. It felt both condensed (in a good way) and sufficiently rigorous to aid me in getting a re-grip on Derrida's thoughts before plunging back into the primary sources.
Wesley  Gerrard
The philosophy of Jacques Derrida keeps cropping up on my reading in Translation Studies. I'm getting a vague idea of deconstruction but really need to tackle the works of the man himself to truly understand his philosophy. I thought I'd try this short introduction as a taster to better familiarise myself with his ideas. I think that Derrida is slightly more complex and difficult to understand than more traditional philosophers. He gathers poles of thought within the philosophical movement. It s ...more
Chloe Lee
This would be interesting... if you have read Derrida beforehand, and would be turning to this as a companion instead of an introduction. When I wrote "read beforehand", I meant "be fully acquainted with Derrida's works", because Professor Glendinning does turn from text to text relatively quickly, and the lack of footnotes/ leaving the references to the very end will make it rather confusing for people like me, having only read a volume of Derrida so far. Moreover, Professor Glendinning has als ...more
David Roberts
Aug 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing
The book I read to research this post was Derrida A Very Short Introduction by Simon Glendinning which is an excellent book which I bought from kindle. This book is an introduction to the life and work of the philosopher Derrida who is widely regarded as the father of the deconstructionist movement. His work was very controversial among philosphers with many regarding him as antiwestern. He was born in a busy town near Algiers in Algeria & was educated at the Sorbonne in Paris. In 1999 in a ...more
Mark Harding
Jun 18, 2012 rated it liked it
Doesn't convince me of the necessity to read Deridda. (This is a comment on the Introduction, rather than JD.)
Basically the book follows the format of:
- Spend a lot of time setting the scene
- Spend less time on obvious comments
- Spend virtually no time justifying the contentious stuff
- State very little that is a 'conclusion' -- that could actually be acted on; something that has traction.

Good quotes from other philosophers though. (Especially Cora Diamond looks cool.)
To be fair, I did get more
Steven Berbec
Jul 15, 2012 rated it liked it
Though it is not long, it makes up for it in content. Glendinning with grace handle's Derrida's complex text like one who has studied under his authority. He does this in a way that allows Derrida's forms of deconstruction to shine forth with clarity. As one digs deeper into this little pamphlet, he catches glimpses of the man that was Derrida. These glimpses reveal a Derrida many do not know. Rather, what one finds here is the beginning of (hopefully) a relationship with a revolutionary thinker ...more
Nov 27, 2017 rated it did not like it
It was a grind to get through this book. And I'm not even a greenhorn in philosophical studies. I had to view The School of Life's introductional video to Derrida, before I could get a handle on where this book wanted to lead me. I admire Derrida's mindset and ambition. He deserves a much more approachable Very Short Introduction.
George Margaritoudis
It is indeed a very short introduction to the main ideas of Derrida. However i feel that the writer simply mention some of the basic topics of Derrida's philosophy and fails to explain them, for instance, democracy and the gift.
Nov 24, 2013 rated it really liked it
This very short introduction to Derrida is a very good introduction to his use of deconstruction, particularly the concepts of différance and iterability, and particularly as they relate to Derrida's views on Marxism and the animal/human distinction in philosophy.
Vicki Scullion
May 28, 2017 rated it liked it
This book introduces some of the philosophical arguments of Derrida. Hopefully reading this (and referring back to it as needed) will help me understand Derrida's own texts. I do like this series of very short introductions and recommend them to anyone struggling to read difficult material.
Jun 12, 2015 rated it did not like it
Extremely poorly written. Could manage to read only half of it.
Dec 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
Good starting point like most of the books in this series.
Nov 20, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: set-aside
There is so much about Derrida's thinking that I despise. I am grateful to Glendinning for reminding me.
Frank Spencer
Jan 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing
the author sets the stage for Derrida's writings, which allowed me to understand some of the information
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Dee Mcgowan-douglas
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Ben Craik
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