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Archive Fever: A Freudian Impression (Religion and Postmodernism) 1st Edition

3.6 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0226143675
ISBN-10: 0226143678
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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

The presumed purpose of this essay, presented at a conference on memory in London on June 5, 1994, is Derrida's reading of Freud's 1906 interpretation of Jensen's Gradiva, but this reading comes late in the exposition and accounts for only 11 percent of the text. In introductions and postscript, French deconstructiononist philosopher Derrida explores the Greek roots of archive, which stands for both "commencement" and "commandment." This means that authority is as much at stake as origin. Archiving represents both attempting to preserve something to be remembered and leaving out something to be forgotten. Derrida notes that this impulse with contradictory purposes is found in individual and collective minds, historically and fictionally. Indeed, history and fiction may blur in the haunted selves that suffer from "archive fever" (mal d'archive). Translator Prenowitz has managed valiantly to bring into English a difficult but inspiring text that relies on Greek, German, and their translations into French. For academic collections.?Marilyn Gaddis Rose, SUNY, Binghamton
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Language Notes

Text: English (translation)
Original Language: French --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Product Details

  • Series: Religion and Postmodernism
  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press; 1 edition (October 15, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0226143678
  • ISBN-13: 978-0226143675
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.5 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #109,911 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Jacques Derrida (1930-2004), was born in Algeria, has been called the most famous philosopher of our time. He was the author of a number of books, including Writing and Difference, which came to be seen as defining texts of postmodernist thought.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Archive Fever - A Freudian Impression is the text of a lecture given by Jacques Derrida at the Freud Museum in London during an international colloquium entitled "Memory: The Question of Archives" organized by the Société Internationale d'Histoire de la Psychiatrie et de la Psychanalyse. The location, the theme of the conference, the title of the lecture, the list of persons present and absent: all matters enormously for the understanding of this text, which highlights a decisive aspect of Derrida's thought.

Freud's last house after he flew to London in 1938 became a museum after his daughter Anna passed away in 1982. It shelters part of Freud's personal archives, his library, his daughter's papers, and a research center on the history of psychoanalysis.

To paraphrase Derrida, Freud's house is used as a scene of domiciliation: it gives shelter, it assigns to residence, and it consigns, as it gathers together signs. As a place for archives [the word comes from the Greek arkheion, the residence of the superior magistrate], it is at once institutive and conservative. "It has the force of law, of a law which is the law of the house," writes Derrida. The archivization produces as much as it records the event. It opens "the question of the future itself, the question of a response, of a promise and of a responsibility for tomorrow". In the case of psychoanalysis, the conservation of archives raises specific questions: "What is this new science of which the institutional and theoretical archive ought by rights to comprise the most private documents, sometimes secret?" asks Derrida.
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Format: Paperback
Jacques Derrida (1930–2004) was a French philosopher and writer, best known for developing a form of semiotic analysis known as “Deconstruction.”

He begins the lecture with the statement, “Let us not begin at the beginning, nor even at the archive. But rather at the word ‘archive’---and with the archive of so familiar a word. ‘Arkhe,’ we recall, names at once the commencement and the commandment. This name apparently coordinates two principles in one: the principle according to nature or history, there where things commence---physical, historical, or ontological principle---but also the principle according to the law, there where men and gods command, there where authority, social order are exercised, in this place from which ORDER is given---nomological principle. There, we said, and in this place. How are we to think of THERE? And this taking place or this having a place of the arkhe?” (Pg. 1)

He says, “I dream now of having the time to submit for your discussion more than one thesis, three at least. This time will never be given to me. Above all, I will never have the right to take your time so as to impose upon you, rapid-fire, these three + n essays. Submitted to the test of your discussion, these theses thus remain, for the time being, hypotheses. Incapable of supporting their demonstration, constrained to posit them along the way in a mode which will appear at times dogmatic. I will recall them in a more critical and formal manner in conclusion.” (Pg. 5)

He states, “It is thus the first figure of an archive, because EVERY archive, we will draw some inferences from this, is at once institutive and conservative. Revolutionary and traditional.
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This is definitive Derrida "behind the Venetian blinds" as he himself would have said in his later years. It is a transcript of a very important lecture Derrida gave in June of 1994 entitled The Concept of the Archive: a Freudian Impression. Derrida begins the exposition by giving a deconstructive exegetic analysis of the word "archive'' as an etonym of the Greek "Arkhe" which originally meant "commencement" or "commandment" in the ancient Greek dialect. From here we follow Derrida into an understanding of the topology of this commencement, where history commences or comes together at the location of the archive -- a place where the hidden is kept and where the documents of history are preserved by archivists (the governing body of the archive who know how to read them.) Historiography can give little more than an orthographic understanding of a text's intended meaning and this is not to say the least of works demanding the specific rigour of the eclectic writings of the father of psychoanalysis. Deconstruction is neither historiography nor orthography as any Derrida reader knows that the aesthetics of grammar can only be an aesthetics of truth if it is taken in a holistic form to encompass all interpretations.

In Archive Fever we are taken on an exhibition of the Freud archives by one who knows the rarity of gaining access to the works of (psycho)analysis. By a legitimate hermeneutic authority, the archivists or archons (guardians of it's contents) live and work each day with the documents. They alone secure both to protect and to give authoritative readings (what the author would have intended us to eventually uncover.
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