Download Critical Excess: Overreading in Derrida, Deleuze, Levinas, by Colin Davis PDF

By Colin Davis

The "ancient quarrel" among philosophy and literature turns out to were resolved as soon as and for all with the popularity that philosophy and the humanities should be allies rather than enemies. Critical Excess examines intimately the paintings of 5 thinkers who've had a major, ongoing influence at the learn of literature and movie: Jacques Derrida, Gilles Deleuze, Emmanuel Levinas, Slavoj Žižek, and Stanley Cavell. Their methods are very assorted from each other, yet they each one make unforeseen interpretive leaps that render their readings exhilarating and unnerving.

But do they pass too some distance? Does a scribbled notice left at the back of via Nietzsche relatively let us know concerning the nature of textuality? Can Hitchcock really let you know "everything you usually desired to learn about Lacan"? Does the blanket hung up in a inn room invoke the Kantian divide among the knowable extra special global and the unknowable issues in themselves? Contextualizing the paintings of the 5 thinkers within the highbrow debates to which they give a contribution, this booklet analyzes the stakes and benefits of "overreading."

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Additional info for Critical Excess: Overreading in Derrida, Deleuze, Levinas, Žižek and Cavell

Example text

The poet receives something which is not his, and passes it on to others. By “his people” here, we might understand: the true addressees of the messages of the gods, those uniquely capable of comprehending them, that is, thinking readers such as—and above all—Heidegger. The poet himself is not the author of the poem, in the sense that his activity consists in intercepting and transmitting something of which he is not the source; and nor is the poet the addressee of his poem, since he is not able to preserve it and to understand it on his own.

It is curious that Derrida is so extremely cautious about nearly all commonplace terms and concepts, including (as we have seen) words such as literature and reading, yet he asserts quite dogmatically that for him the text has the force of law. It is as if its otherness is so extreme that it is beyond the reach of deconstruction; it poses searching questions of its readers, but is not itself subject to question. One might say that, rather than treating texts too lightly, Derrida takes them too seriously, uncharacteristically missing the opportunity to interrogate the duty and responsibility they are said to impose on us.

To others he represented a necessary, beneficial challenge to encrusted, latently (and sometimes overtly) violent traditions of thought, giving us the tools to re-think our place in the world, and paving the way for an ethical embrace of the future without simply casting off what was worth preserving of the past. 2 Even so, the fact that his work gave rise to such contradictory responses dramatically raises the problem of interpretation. What is the truth about Derrida? Would it be possible, interesting, or even desirable to settle the dispute over the meaning of his work?

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