More Derrida To Come?


Is there a flood of Derrida seminars about to be unleashed on the unsuspecting general public? An editorial note to the Russian review of recently released Séminaire La bête et le souverain: Volume 1 (2001-2002) claims that there are 40-50 volumes of Derrida seminars in all to be released. Say what? I’m not really sure where this information is coming from but the French review (PDF) of the above book does mention about 14 000 pages of Derrida material just waiting to be processed and published:

L’édition intégrale des séminaires et cours de Jacques Derrida – dont le premier volume, la Bête et le Souverain, paraît aujourd’hui et qui nécessitera des décennies pour être menée à terme (1), le philosophe laissant “l’équivalent de quelque 14 000 pages imprimées” – est un événement. L’entreprise est comparable à la publication posthume des Cours du Collège de France de Foucault et de ses Dits et écrits.

Dans le cas de Derrida interviennent spécifiquement deux critères : le mode de production des textes et le lieu. Le philosophe, disparu le 9 octobre 2004, a enseigné à la Sorbonne (1960-1964), à l’École normale supérieure (1964-1984), à l’École des hautes études en sciences sociales (Ehess, 1984-2003) et dans plusieurs universités américaines. Ses textes, d’une calligraphie difficile, sont manuscrits jusqu’en 1969, tapés à la machine et corrigés à la main jusqu’en 1987 et, ensuite, rédigés à l’ordinateur. Dès le début de sa carrière, il avait pris l’habitude de rédiger entièrement ses cours, et les lisait, sans trop improviser. Aussi l’édition présente-t-elle “le texte du séminaire, tel qu’il fut écrit par Jacques Derrida, en vue de la parole, de la lecture à voix haute, donc avec
certaines marques d’oralité anticipée et quelques tournures familières”.

Is there a second coming of Derrida in the works? Was he really ever gone? Young graduate students take note, start reading your Derrida now and by the time you are entering the field, you can make your career on commenting on Derrida’s seminars (seriously, do it).

Apparently University of Chicago Press is working on English translations to be released almost simltaneously with French.

5 thoughts on “More Derrida To Come?

    • I suppose on a level of “Holy crap! I thought Derrida published everything he ever said, wrote or even thought!” I have nothing against it though, I think it would be a fun read, I’m just struck with the ambition of 50 volumes project.

  1. “When he died in 2004, Jacques Derrida left behind a vast legacy of unpublished material, much of it in the form of written lectures. With The Beast and the Sovereign, Volume 1, the University of Chicago Press inaugurates an ambitious series, edited by Geoffrey Bennington and Peggy Kamuf, translating these important works into English.”

    See http://www.press.uchicago.edu/Complete/Series/SJD.html

  2. Half the material published under Derrida’s name in English is actually anthologies of shorter essays, interviews, lectures and letters all sorted by themes. Some (Negotiations, Rogues, Without Alibi) are on par with his classic early-middle work whereas some are merely just extra space (parts of Psyche, Points, etc). Rogues was an amazing little book actually.

    The seminars about to be published will be a different story however. As opposed to short pieces where he can just throw out ideas, these seminar courses were far more carefully planned and thought out. The analysis in these will usually be more detailed and concepts thrown out in the short writings anthologies will gain greater explication and depth in these seminars, apart from brand new concepts we’ve never known of from Derrida.
    I promise you guys, this is the stuff to look forward to.
    Like Foucault, they should have just collected all the late short pieces into an anthology and published the seminars. Foucault’s lecture courses are being released that way right now.

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