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Not Half No End

Militantly Melancholic Essays in Memory of Jacques Derrida

Geoffrey Bennington

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This book gathers essays written by Geoffrey Bennington since the death of his friend Jacques Derrida in 2004. All, with significant variations of depth, manner and tone dictated by the different circumstances for which they were written, continue the ongoing work of elucidating difficult and complex thought, often enough with reference to Derrida's persistent interrogation of the concepts of life and death, mourning and melancholia, and what he sometimes calls 'half-mourning'. This is a kind of mourning not so much 'failed' as suspended in the name of mourning itself, an 'ethical' interruption of the drive to complete mourning (the drive to get over it and get back to oneself and back to work), an interruption that Not Half, No End relates to the persistent but still ill-understood motif of interrupted teleology, which, it is argued here, is definitive of deconstruction in general.

This suspension or interruption of the end (which is none other than differance 'itself' holding difference short of opposition and its dialectical totalisation, so that differance is always not half difference, less than absolute) has all manner of consequences for our thinking, and for how we attempt to categorize that thinking (as epistemological, ethical, political or aesthetic, for example). Not Half, No End moves through all these domains, and the whole of Derrida's rich and varied corpus, in a weave or scatter of styles, from the expository and analytic to the autobiographical and the confessional, in the ongoing process of deconstruction.

Key Features

  • New collection of essays by major theorist
  • Expanded readings of late texts by Derrida
  • Research monograph on mourning and melancholy
  • First consideration of the legacy of Derrida by a co-author

Contents

iNTRODUCTION
aUTO-
JACQUES DERRIDA:…A LIFE
FOUNDATIONs
IN THE EVENT

THAT'S LiFE, DEATH
HANDSHAKE
THE liMITS OF MY LANGUAGE
DERRIDA'S 'EIGHTEENTH CENTURY'
HALF-LIFE
WRITE, HE WROTE
BEGINNINGS AND ENDS
SALUT À JACQUES
JACQUES DERRIDA IN AMERICA
FOREIGN LANGUAGE (JACQUES DERRIDA AND ME)
WORMWORDS
iNDEX.

About the Author

Geoffrey Bennington is Asa G Candler Professor of Modern French Thought at Emory University. He is the author and translator of numerous books and articles on literary and philosophical issues, and translator of many texts by Jacques Derrida and other French thinkers. His books include Late Lyotard (2005), Deconstruction is Not What You Think…(2005), Interrupting Derrida (2000) and, with Jacques Derrida, Jacques Derrida (1991).

Reviews

Geoffrey Bennington was Derrida's close friend, and is his distinguished translator, his collaborator (in their Jacques Derrida), and one of Derrida's most profound readers. He has an exemplary knowledge of all Derrida's work. One distinctive value and originality of the essays in this book is the way they show in detail how Derrida's "early work" foreshadows the later books and essays, down to the final seminars. A necessary book for all those interested in Derrida's writing.J. Hillis Miller, UCI Distinguished Research Professor of Comparative Literature and English, The University of California at Irvine
- J. Hillis Miller

Bennington (Emory) brings together 15 essays and meditations conceived as works of mourning after Derrida's death in october 2004. The various tones and differing occasions that characterize them display the range of Bennington's skill as theorist and essayist. The effect is powerful and engaging ... Essential.

- N. Lukacher, University of Illinois at Chicago, Choice
For those wanting to discover or rediscover Jacques Derrida still alive and thinking after life, Geoffrey Bennington is the exemplary guide, a scholarly acrobat, at once grave and droll. Let us follow him. Along the way with fear and trembling, he reminds us that reading ekes out its living between possibilities and impossibilities from an opening onto 'no end'. Combining the strength of a rigorous pedagogy with the creative and extravagant powers of the poet-philosopher, Geoffrey Bennington is a bookworm of genius, actively inhabiting the entire Derridian archive. He has read everything, he hears and understands everything. Working from a double experience (his own and Derrida's), he reconstitutes the philosophical hero's adventure, from the age of 22 until his last days. Bennington knows Derrida's script by heart: played by Bennington, Derrida becomes the hero of a deeply moving philosophical epic. This admirable book with melancholy in its title is also the triumph of a never unfaithful freedom.
- Hélène Cixous
Geoffrey Bennington was Derrida's close friend, and is his distinguished translator, his collaborator (in their Jacques Derrida), and one of Derrida's most profound readers. He has an exemplary knowledge of all Derrida's work. One distinctive value and originality of the essays in this book is the way they show in detail how Derrida's "early work" foreshadows the later books and essays, down to the final seminars. A necessary book for all those interested in Derrida's writing.
- Professor J. Hillis Miller, University of California, Irvine

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