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30.10.09

Why read Derrida?

How the French philosopher can make us think twice about the way we read
Writer, thinker, philosopher Jacques Derrida

An excerpt from Nicholas Royle's excellent Jacques Derrida:
[Derrida] is an extraordinarily precise and faithful reader. In a quite disarming way, Derrida's readings [...] can often appear to be just describing what is happening in that text. If we wanted or rather if we were able to stop things there, this alone would constitute an excellent reason why we should read Derrida: he is a marvellously sharp and attentive reader, a brilliant explicator of texts. It is a journalistic of class-room cliché to say that Derrida is 'difficult'. But we could also see this the other way round. Always remarkably careful, painstaking and scrupulous in his readings, he offers superb expositions and elucidations of philosophical and other texts that are themselves 'difficult'. Would anyone want to pretend that reading Plato or Shakespeare or Freud is 'easy'? Derrida helps us read and make sense of the great, and less great, texts of western history.

Nicholas Royle, Jacques Derrida
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