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On the Name (Meridian: Crossing Aesthetics) Paperback – August 1, 1995

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Editorial Reviews


“A major new book by Derrida that represents his most recent thinking, and includes landmark readings of Plato and the German poet-mystic Angelus Silesius. The essays are wonderfully rich and provocative, and, in spite of their apparent diversity of topic, are bound together as three ways of approaching the problematic of naming and speaking of something that exceeds ‘isness.’ ” —J. Hillis Miller, University of California, Irvine

Language Notes

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

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Product Details

  • Series: Meridian: Crossing Aesthetics
  • Paperback: 168 pages
  • Publisher: Stanford University Press; 1st edition (August 1, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0804725551
  • ISBN-13: 978-0804725552
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.4 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #564,075 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Steven H Propp TOP 100 REVIEWER on March 17, 2015
Format: Paperback
Jacques Derrida (1930–2004) was a French philosopher and writer, best known for developing a form of semiotic analysis known as “Deconstruction.”

The translator notes, “Jacques Derrida’s ‘On the Name’ comprises three essays, which, if taken together, would ‘form a sort of essay on the Name’… In 1993 the three essays simultaneously appeared in France as a ‘Collection’ of three separately bound but matching books published by Editions Galilée. ‘On the Name’…thus is not a translation of any French book title by Jacques Derrida; it is a name given to what is a hypothetical book in France.”

Derrida says in the first essay [‘Passions’], “Some souls believe themselves to have found in Deconstruction …---as if there were one, and only one---a modern form of immorality, of amorality, or of irresponsibility… while others, more serious, in less of a hurry, better disposed toward so-called Deconstruction, today claim the opposite; they discern encouraging signs and in increasing numbers … which would testify to a permanent, extreme, direct, or oblique, in any event, increasingly intense attention, to those things which one could identify under the fine names of ‘ethics,’ ‘morality,’ ‘responsibility,’ ‘subject,’ etc.” (Pg. 15)

He continues, “For sure, in saying that (‘And let it not be said too precipitately…’ etc.), one gives ammunition to the officials of anti-deconstruction, but all in all isn’t that preferable to the constitution of a consensual euphoria or, worse, a community of complacent deconstructionists, reassured and reconciled with the world in ethical certainty, good conscience, satisfaction of service rendered, and the consciousness of duty accomplished (or, more heroically still, yet to be accomplished)?” (Pg.
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A book like this...a review thereof for whom?
A certain amount of "familiarity" with Jackie's style of writing will probably be necessary to get into these three short essays around (and whatever other prepositions you care to put in) the theme of the name, naming, saving the name, keeping the name safe, and the name's refusal to be called by a name.
The first of the essays is titled "Passions" and is the most fragmented of the three in terms of delivery. A bit taxing, really. By way of introduction, Jack commits an abduction by way of "apophasis" -- a kind of an irony, whereby we deny that we say or do that which we especially say or do (OED) -- to bring about the idea of the passions of secrets: Secrets not by being hidden nor by being shared by a privileged few, but the kind that is open to all, perhaps taking on the form of a non-secret.
The second essay has a little more to sink one's teeth into. The subject is "negative theology" as such, or the (im)possibility thereof. A very penetrating reading of Angelus Silesius' The Cherubinic Wanderer.
The third essay, "Khora" -- non-placeable place, the third genus -- is a reading of Plato's notion of that "mother", "nurse", "the Receiver" that gives place for all that "takes place": A placing, a positing of displacement and differance, a displacement by way of oscillation between two types of oscillation: the double exclusion(neither/nor) and the participation(both this and that).
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