Derrida, Deconstruction and Literary Criticism

Derek Attridge

in Reading and Responsibility

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print May 2010 | ISBN: 9780748640089
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748652112 | DOI:
Derrida, Deconstruction and Literary Criticism

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This chapter addresses the early reception of Jacques Derrida's work by literary critics. It also belongs to a period at which Derrida's ‘deconstructions’ of texts by Ferdinand de Saussure, Claude Lévi-Strauss, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Plato, G. W. F. Hegel, J. L. Austin and other philosophers or linguists were having a profound influence on literary studies, while his many readings of literary works were being regularly passed over. The texts of literary criticism down the ages would no doubt offer the same opportunities for deconstruction as philosophy. Most of Derrida's writing on philosophical texts is more guarded, less open to the chance of contretemps and therefore more summarisable, more teachable, more transferable. A deconstructive literary criticism will not be one that apes Derrida's writing on literature.

Keywords: Jacques Derrida; deconstruction; literary criticism; literary works; Ferdinand de Saussure; Claude Lévi-Strauss; Jean-Jacques Rousseau; Plato; G. W. F. Hegel; J. L. Austin

Chapter.  8734 words. 

Subjects: Literary Theory and Cultural Studies

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