The Work of MourningPaperback
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- Publisher: University of Chicago Press
- Format: Paperback | 272 pages
- Dimensions: 150mm x 226mm x 15mm | 318g
- Publication date: 14 October 2003
- Publication City/Country: Chicago, IL
- ISBN 10: 0226142817
- ISBN 13: 9780226142814
- Sales rank: 69,948
One must go before the other. This inevitability bestows upon the mourner a further inevitability - to say something and to participate in the codes and rites of mourning. The distinguished French philosopher Jacques Derrida has been forced to wrestle with the complexities of mourning, as colleagues and friends passed away before him. This volume gathers together letters of condolence, memorial essays, eulogies and funeral orations, written after the deaths of figures well known in France and the US: Roland Barthes, Paul de man, Louis Marin, Emmanuel Levinas, Joseph Riddel and Michel Serviere to name but a few. Many essays are available in English for the first time. Each chapter has an introduction and a biographical sketch of its subject. Derrida bears witness to the singularity of friendship and to the uniqueness of each relationship. He is aware of the questions of tact, taste and ethical responsibility involved in speaking of the dead, and the risk of using the occasion of death for one's own reason. This collection of memorial addresses captures Derrida's relation to prominent French thinkers and his thoughts on some important themes - mourning, the "gift of death", time, memory and friendship.
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Jacques Derrida is the director of studies at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, Paris, and professor of humanities at the University of California, Irvine. He is the author of many books including "The Gift of Death" and "Archive Fever," both published by the University of Chicago Press. Pascale-Anne Brault is an associate professor of French at DePaul University. Michael Naas is a professor of philosophy at DePaul University. Together they have translated several works by Derrida, including "Memoirs of the Blind," published by the University of Chicago Press, and "Adieu."
Jacques Derrida is, in the words of the" New York Times," "perhaps the world's most famous philosopher--if not the only famous philosopher." He often provokes controversy as soon as his name is mentioned. But he also inspires the respect that comes from an illustrious career, and, among many who were his colleagues and peers, he inspired friendship. "The Work of Mourning" is a collection that honors those friendships in the wake of passing. Gathered here are texts--letters of condolence, memorial essays, eulogies, funeral orations--written after the deaths of well-known figures: Roland Barthes, Paul de Man, Michel Foucault, Louis Althusser, Edmond Jabes, Louis Marin, Sarah Kofman, Gilles Deleuze, Emmanuel Levinas, Jean-Francois Lyotard, Max Loreau, Jean-Marie Benoist, Joseph Riddel, and Michel Serviere. With his words, Derrida bears witness to the singularity of a friendship and to the absolute uniqueness of each relationship. In each case, he is acutely aware of the questions of tact, taste, and ethical responsibility involved in speaking of the dead--the risks of using the occasion for one's own purposes, political calculation, personal vendetta, and the expiation of guilt. More than a collection of memorial addresses, this volume sheds light not only on Derrida's relation to some of the most prominent French thinkers of the past quarter century but also on some of the most important themes of Derrida's entire oeuvre-mourning, the "gift of death," time, memory, and friendship itself. "In his rapt attention to his subjects' work and their influence upon him, the book also offers a hesitant and tangential retelling of Derrida's own life in French philosophical history. There are illuminating and playful anecdotes--how Lyotard led Derrida to begin using a word-processor; how Paul de Man talked knowledgeably of jazz with Derrida's son. Anyone who still thinks that Derrida is a facetious punster will find such resentful prejudice unable to survive a reading of this beautiful work."--Steven Poole, "Guardian" "Strikingly "simpa" meditations on friendship, on shared vocations and avocations and on philosophy and history."--"Publishers Weekly "