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By Benoît Peeters

This biography of Jacques Derrida (1930–2004) tells the tale of a Jewish boy from Algiers, excluded from tuition on the age of twelve, who went directly to turn into the main broadly translated French thinker on the planet – a weak, tormented guy who, all through his lifestyles, endured to work out himself as unwelcome within the French collage method. we're plunged into the various worlds during which Derrida lived and labored: pre-independence Algeria, the microcosm of the École Normale Supérieure, the cluster of structuralist thinkers, and the turbulent occasions of 1968 and after. We meet the impressive sequence of top writers and philosophers with whom Derrida struck up a friendship: Louis Althusser, Emmanuel Levinas, Jean Genet, and Hélène Cixous, between others. We additionally witness an both lengthy sequence of usually brutal polemics fought over an important concerns with thinkers similar to Michel Foucault, Jacques Lacan, John R. Searle, and Jürgen Habermas, in addition to numerous controversies that went some distance past academia, the simplest identified of which involved Heidegger and Paul de guy. We persist with a sequence of brave political commitments in aid of Nelson Mandela, unlawful immigrants, and homosexual marriage. And we watch as an idea – deconstruction – takes to the air and exerts a unprecedented effect method past the philosophical international, on literary reviews, structure, legislations, theology, feminism, queer thought, and postcolonial studies.

In penning this compelling and authoritative biography, Benoît Peeters talked to over 100 people who knew and labored with Derrida. he's additionally the 1st individual to use the large own archive outfitted up through Derrida all through his lifestyles and of his wide correspondence. Peeters’ ebook offers us a brand new and deeper figuring out of the guy who will maybe be visible because the significant thinker of the second one half the 20 th century.

Review

'Exhaustive and exhilarating.'
The Scotsman

'Lucid, clever and richly informative.'
Times Literary Supplement

'Peeters has ransacked the voluminous Derrida files and interviewed rankings of his associates and co-workers. the result's a marvellously compelling account, lucidly translated through Andrew Brown. the guy who emerges from this portrait is an agonised soul with surprising outbreaks of gaiety, an astonishingly unique philosopher with greater than a splash of shallowness who however made himself totally to be had to the humblest student.'
Terry Eagleton, The* Guardian*

"Peeters' biography is exclusive in shaping Jacques Derrida's legacy in a manner new new release would get advantages from knowing."
The Tablet

'Peeters isn't really a Derridean, yet his publication has features Derrida may need preferred, notably a very best persistence with highbrow hassle and abstention from ethical judgement. He has performed a heroic volume of analysis, interviewing greater than 100 of Derrida's acquaintances and colleagues. He additionally had the co-operation of Derrida's widow, Marguerite. yet his crucial resource of data is Derrida's personal writing ... Derrida stored every little thing he wrote: he seemed each scrap as a 'trace', a virtually sacred logo of survival - and all writing, from poetry to post-its, had philosophical implications. Peeters places Derrida's expert writing and those lines on an equivalent footing, utilizing the single to light up the opposite. We see his many aspects: a faithful pal and irrepressible seducer; a critic of dogma who couldn't carry himself to confess his personal blunders; a guy who loathed tribalism yet used to be so thin-skinned and so wanting adoration that he ended up major his personal educational tribe.'
London evaluate of Books

'Peeters has reduce via many of the fantasy and mystique surrounding Derrida. there's most likely extra illuminating info right here - and correspondence - than has ever been made public earlier than ... Peeters's Derrida is susceptible, delicate, susceptible to bouts of melancholia, neurotic, hypochondriac, and verging on suicidal. he's as tormented and torn as his prose. this can be Derrida the poetic soul.'
Literary Review

'Peeters' poignant Derrida: A Biograghy is - obviously - now not an autobiography, but it's a piece of writing that pulls upon Derrida's personal auto-biographies; on a lifetime of paintings that depicts the lifestyles as paintings, as a piece in growth, of a existence in writing as writing (not to say Peeters' remarkable entry to Derrida's own letters and different writings) ... certainly, the advanced dating among literature and philosophy, for Derrida, is a recurrent topic within the biography, and the fight among the 2, in Derrida's formative years (which, as he states, "lasted until eventually i used to be thirty-two"), makes for attention-grabbing reading.'
Review 31

‘In addressing a thinker of the significance of Jacques Derrida, whose great output – approximately 60 volumes, no longer together with his as but unpublished seminars – has been translated and debated internationally, Benoît Peeters has particularly rightly selected now not the origins or content material of the paintings itself, however the lifetime of the fellow in the back of it. in brief, he has written a very good biography solely based on Anglo-Saxon traditions.’
Elisabeth Roudinesco,* The Guardian*

'Peeters’ biography humanizes the thinker in a fashion that opens up his paintings in a brand new method, and most significantly, makes it accessible.'
Philosophy After Dark

'[Peeters] excels at evoking the large strength and alertness of the world's such a lot travelled thinker. If you've ever given up on Derrida, this portrait of him as a adorable, thin-skinned and narcissistic outdoors in France who shot to status within the usa should still make you reconsider.'
New Statesman

'A actual travel de strength. Assimilating an enormous volume of fabric – Derrida’s personal voluminous guides, unpublished records and correspondence, and conversations with a number of neighbors – Benoît Peeters has produced a compelling narrative that sheds mild on all points of Derrida’s amazing career.'
Jonathan Culler, Cornell University

About the Author

Benoît Peeters was once born in Paris in 1956. Following a level in Philosophy on the Sorbonne (Paris I), he went directly to learn for his Masters on the École Pratique des Hautes Études lower than the course of Roland Barthes. He has due to the fact released over 40 works on a large choice of topics and has written essays and biographies on Hergé, Alfred Hitchcock, and Paul Valéry.

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Extra resources for Derrida: A Biography

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In the G erm an rom antic tradition, he glorified the self above society. “Every m om ent,” he wrote, “the fetters of reality cut the sharpest welts in my flesh. B ut my own I rem ain,” Indeed, Stirner denied any tru th beyond the individual’s free will. S tirner anticipated Nietzsche and even Freud. H e reflected A lexandra’s in n er turm oil by picturing the self as divided betw een its wants and needs on the one h and, and on the oth er a police force d eterm ined to restrain it from satisfying itself.

Pom ar was not the light society quack that A lexandra pictured her. Rather, the Duchess a u th o re d some weighty tomes, notably Serious Letters to Serious Friends. Due to their heretical views, her books h ad shocked the clergy of E urope. Pom ar was an associate of M adam e Blavatsky and Annie Besant and becam e cofounder of the Paris Lodge of the Theosophists. ” H er models h arked back to neolithic days w hen female divinities pos­ sessed the traits that once again would be valued in future society.

T h e re were advantages and a sense of identity in being a Theosophist. A lexandra was especially attracted by the character of Annie Besant, who becam e Blavatsky’s disciple in 1889 an d the leading fig­ ure (and eventually president) o f the Theosophical Society after the fo u n d e r’s death in 1891. N ot coincidentally, A lexandra formally jo in e d the society the next year, stayed with Besant in London, followed by a lengthy stay at the Theosophical com pound near Adyar, India in 1893.

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