Oliver Precht: PORTRAIT OF A PHILOSOPHER (Notes on a New Biography of Jacques Derrida)

Writing a biography of Jacques Derrida is no small task. The biographer is not only confronted with an abundance of personal material, he or she must also confront Derrida’s extensive and notoriously complex oeuvre. Matters become even more complicated when considering the author’s autobiographical writings and his almost obsessive attempt to create his own archive. In the early years of his career, Derrida was extremely reluctant to disclose any biographical information, but once he had revealed the first details on his personal life in a 1983 interview with Catherine David for Le Nouvel Observateur, Derrida intensified his attempts to narrate and thereby control his biography. This biographical turn resulted not only in some of his best known texts,[1] but also in the donation of his personal archive to the Langson Library at the University of California, Irvine, and the Institut Mémoires de l’édition contemporaine (IMEC), close to Caen. However, as Peter Salmon notes (Peter Salmon, An Event, Perhaps. A Biography of Jacques Derrida, London / New York: Verso, 2020), this self-archivisation and self-narration does „not simply record, it produces. By selecting what is important, it rejects what is not“ (270). The same is true of Salmon’s book: it “adds another narrative version of the life of Jacques Derrida” (ibid.). „Oliver Precht: PORTRAIT OF A PHILOSOPHER (Notes on a New Biography of Jacques Derrida)“ weiterlesen