Chapter

Cinders of Philosophy, Philosophy of Cinders: Derrida and the Trace of the Holocaust

Robert Eaglestone

in The Holocaust and the Postmodern

Published in print December 2004 | ISBN: 9780199265930
Published online September 2007 | e-ISBN: 9780191708596 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199265930.003.0011
 							Cinders of Philosophy, Philosophy of Cinders: Derrida and the Trace of the Holocaust

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This chapter argues that Jacques Derrida's work was also greatly influenced by responding to the Holocaust, and that Levinas's idea of the ‘trace’ plays a central role in this. This is argued by following the idea of the trace from Derrida's early work, including Of Grammatology, through Levinas's work in Totality and Infinity and Otherwise than Being, and then to its use in Derrida's later work, including Cinders. This not only shows the importance of the Holocaust for Derrida, but also illumines a range of issues in Holocaust studies, including the debate over uniqueness. More than this, to see Derrida's work as ‘a philosophy of cinders’ brings out his challenge to the tradition of philosophy in relation to history, contemporary discourse, and the thought of the ‘to come’, and illuminates Derrida's work in an original way.

Keywords: Holocaust philosophy; Emmanuel Levinas; Cinders; history; ‘to come’

Chapter.  9189 words. 

Subjects: Literary Theory and Cultural Studies

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