Reading and Responsibility

Reading and Responsibility : Deconstruction's Traces

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What is the importance of deconstruction, and the writing of Jacques Derrida in particular, for literary criticism today? Derek Attridge argues that the challenge of Derrida's work for our understanding of literature and its value has still not been fully met, and in this book, which traces a close engagement with Derrida's writing over two decades and reflects an interest in that work going back a further two decades, shows how that work can illuminate a variety of topics. Chapters include an overview of deconstruction as a critical practice today, discussions of the secret, postcolonialism, ethics, literary criticism, jargon, fiction, and photography, and responses to the theoretical writing of Emmanuel Levinas, Roland Barthes, and J. Hillis Miller. Also included is a discussion of the recent reading of Derrida's philosophy as 'radical atheism', and the book ends with a conversation on deconstruction and place with the theorist and critic Jean-Michel Rabate.
Running throughout is a concern with the question of responsibility, as exemplified in Derrida's own readings of literary and philosophical texts: responsibility to the work being read, responsibility to the protocols of rational argument, and responsibility to the reader.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 192 pages
  • 156 x 234 x 15.24mm | 300g
  • Edinburgh, United Kingdom
  • English
  • Reprint
  • 0748643184
  • 9780748643189
  • 1,347,194

Table of contents

Introduction; 1. Deconstruction Today; 2. Singularities, Responsibilities: Derrida, Deconstruction, and Literary Criticism; 3. Following Derrida; 4. The Impossibility of Ethics; 5. Arche-Jargon; 6. Deconstruction and Fiction; 7. Posthumous Infidelity: Derrida, Levinas and the Third; 8. Roland Barthes's Obtuse, Sharp Meaning and the Responsibilities of Commentary; 9. Nothing to Declare: J. Hillis Miller and Zero's Paradox; 10. The Place of Deconstruction: a dialogue with Jean-Michel Rabate; 11. Coetzee's Artists, Coetzee's Art.
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About Derek Attridge

Derek Attridge is Professor of English at the University of York and a Fellow of the British Academy. He is the author or editor of numerous books on literary theory, James Joyce, poetic form, and South African writing. Born in South Africa, he has taught in Britain, the U.S.A., France, and Italy. He edited Jacques Derrida's Acts of Literature, and his recent books include The Singularity of Literature and J. M. Coetzee and the Ethics of Reading.
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