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francesco
01-08-2005, 03:24 PM
Need a 'primer' on Derrida books, what to read first, and what is considered essential by him or about him.
Thanks for help.

borderpolice
01-08-2005, 03:31 PM
Need a 'primer' on Derrida books, what to read first, and what is considered essential by him or about him.
Thanks for help.

personally i find all this primer stuff a waste of time. if you are serious about understanding JD, and i don't think you should bother unless you really want to know, then read the originals. Grammatology is not that hard to read if you make an effort. Signature, Event, Context, his exchange with austin and searle is probably a very good place to start. it is in "margins of philosophy" if i remember correctly.

labrat
01-08-2005, 03:58 PM
Margins of Philosophy is the first thing I read and very probably the best introduction.
Give Writing and différance a go,particarly the chapter on Artaud.
Be prepared for some difficulty ;)

owen
01-08-2005, 05:00 PM
'of grammatology' is ok if you read Spivak's intro (to her english translation) first, it kind of places you so its easier to make sense of what's going on...early things (eg writing and difference) can be a bit arid

i kind of prefer the later, more stylistically perverse things like 'the post card'- i love the way jd writes, but don't find much of what he actually has to say (endless chain of signifiers, metaphysics of presence etc etc) very interesting. 'specters of marx' also good, though disappointingly vague in terms of erm, praxis....am writing a thing on herbert marcuse at the mo- he scrawled on a copy of a derrida book 'this is what passes for philosophy nowadays' heheh

joanofarctan
01-08-2005, 07:35 PM
Points... Interviews, 1974 - 1994 (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0804724881/102-3587107-0824914?v=glance) is an excellent overview, in as much as one is possible. Some extracts here (http://prelectur.stanford.edu/lecturers/derrida/interviews.html). In dialogue i find Derrida, as Deleuze, a pleasure to read and really revealing in his answers. I'm not a professional philosopher so i won't read all the original texts, just as i wouldn't read PhD's on biotech published under a university imprint. I've got 'Writing and Difference' though, which is pretty approachable if you're coming from a literature background.

henrymiller
02-08-2005, 09:49 AM
personally i find all this primer stuff a waste of time. if you are serious about understanding JD, and i don't think you should bother unless you really want to know, then read the originals.

jesus, why? there are *lots* of important thinkers out there, y'know. it might be useful to know about derrida as 'context' for other things. only someone with infinite leisure time could plausibly study all of derrida if this was their aim. and then do fans of derrida know all the texts derrida refers to in the depth he does? should they? even if they should, they couldn't.

borderpolice
02-08-2005, 11:41 AM
jesus, why? there are *lots* of important thinkers out there, y'know. it might be useful to know about derrida as 'context' for other things. only someone with infinite leisure time could plausibly study all of derrida if this was their aim. and then do fans of derrida know all the texts derrida refers to in the depth he does? should they? even if they should, they couldn't.

i may have expressed myself lazily. i didn't mean to say he should read all original JD texts, on the contrary: a few are more than enough, but rather that he should prefer reading JD originals over secondary literature (note the shift of quantifiers). in addition, i was trying to convey that it's not really worth doing some half-arsed one evening type investigation of JD's work. that doesnt really lead you anywhere (speaking from own experience here).

jadrenos
12-08-2005, 06:54 PM
There's a pretty good book, _A_Derrida_Reader_ ed. Kamuf, with excerpts from various books, but it's a few years old. Without wishing to sound pretentious, I find Derrida much clearer in French, rather than in translation, so if you can read French at all you might want to get the French editions of the books. One interesting Derrida book, where D plays with the fact of writing for translation is _The_Secret_Art_of_Antonin_Artaud_ (Derrida/Thévenin).
As for primers, I've just been looking at _A_Derrida_Dictionary_ (Lucy), which seems very good so far (I was initially put off by the tone of the entries, for some reason); the best commentary I've seen.

johneffay
13-08-2005, 09:30 AM
Without wishing to sound pretentious, I find Derrida much clearer in French, rather than in translation, so if you can read French at all you might want to get the French editions of the books.
Whilst this is undoubtedly true, it's worth mentioning that your French has to be very good indeed in order to really get to grips with the detail of Derrida's work. His writing is so nuanced that it can be very hard to work out what's really going on. I'm competent enough to read most French philosophy without much of a problem, but I have a great deal of difficulty with Derrida.

At least with the English translations you get footnotes to the effect that 'here Derrida is playing on the 64 different meanings of word x' ;)

I think that the best place to start with Derrida is either (as somebody else mentioned) the interviews, or read something that he has written on a another writer that you are already quite familiar with. That way, you pick up the references more easily and have a much easier task of working out what he's up to.