Chapter

“One day someone …”

Peggy Kamuf

in To Follow

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print October 2010 | ISBN: 9780748641543
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748652136 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3366/edinburgh/9780748641543.003.0007
“One day someone …”

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One day someone may make an inventory of the conferences, symposia, and colloquia, throughout the world, that were concerned with Derrida's work, and at which he was present as an interlocutor. These would probably number in the hundreds. Countless, then, would be all those who had the chance to receive the generosity of his thought when, as so frequently happened, he was called upon to engage others in public discourse. Derrida's generosity is an attribute invariably cited to characterize his response to interlocutors. But this recognition arises from the experience of something altogether unlike ordinary ideas of generosity. It was certainly not the experience in the vicinity of the ‘great man’, whose greatness is such that he can bestow tokens on lesser mortals without diminishing his own store, indeed while adding to his reputation for generosity. As a great thinker, of the paradoxes of the gift, and as pitilessly lucid as he was about his own or anyone else's ‘greatness’, one may be sure Derrida was not easily deluded about the endless ruses of narcissistic calculation.

Keywords: Derrida; public discourse; generosity

Chapter.  1171 words. 

Subjects: Literary Theory and Cultural Studies

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