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Posthumously

For Jacques Derrida

Zsuzsa Baross is an associate professor in the Cultural Studies Program at Trent University, Ontario, Canada, where she teaches Film Studies and Critical Theory. She is the author of The Scandal of Disease in Theory and Discourse (University of Amsterdam, 1988) and has also published a wide number of essays in anthologies and journals, including International Studies in Philosophy, New Literary History, Deleuze Studies and Derrida Today.


In 2004, Jacques Derrida gave one of his final interviews prior to his death. Regarding the future of his work, Derrida advanced two contradictory hypotheses: "I will not be read"; and "despite a handful of good readers…I am yet to be read". This book is an homage to the spirit of Derrida, and seeks to grasp the significance of his death on the rich corpus of his work, in a voice that remains true to the "faithful betrayals" of Derrida's own works of deconstuction.

Two key journeys underpin Posthumously. The first is an exploration of both Derrida and deconstruction through the unusual prism of cinema and photography, bringing into play Gilles Deleuze's concept of creative repetition. In the second journey, the author embarks on a detailed engagement with Derrida's oft-neglected book on drawing, Memoirs of the Blind, and provides a subversive reading of that text, arguing that its labyrinthine turns (confession, self-portrait, and mourning) obscure a secret ambition to stage the last battle between its own graphic trait and the image in full colour. Beneath this vivid canopy, Zsuzsa Baross brings together a collection of shorter pieces developing the meaning of the term –posthumous– in the world of writing and literary criticism, interrogating Derrida's posthumous lesson on "learning to live".

The final act in this unique volume analyzes Derrida's last hand-written note; a note, the author argues, that reopens the question of the posthumous and provides an infinitely moving lesson on life.


Hardback ISBN: 978-1-84519-432-1
Hardback Price: £45.00 / $62.50
Release Date: March 201
   
Paperback ISBN: 978-1-84519-778-0
Paperback Price: £22.50 / $34.95
Release Date: March 2016
   
Page Extent / Format: 172 pp. / 229 x 152 mm
Illustrated: No
   

 



Acknowledgements

1 Preface — The Posthumous

2 Fragments

Two Versions of the Image

3 Toward a Memory of the Future: Cinema, Memory, History
i Hors-Texte
ii Projection—a method
iii Three Projections
iv Postscript

4 The Image and the “Trait”
i Foreword
ii Exhibition(s)
iii Self-portrait(s)
iv Between the Lines
v The Question of Color

5 Postscript—L’Arrêt de Mort

Works Cited
Index


Zsuzsa Baross writes about Derrida in a sensitive, deep, and probing way. The essays are beautifully written, sharing Derrida's playfulness and difficulty, eloquently and evocatively. This is an intimate reading of some of Derrida's thoughts on writing, memory, time, living, and dying. It is moving, highly informative, genuinely caring.
Stephen David Ross, author of the six-volume Gift series (SUNY Press and Global Academic Publishing)

Baross writes with grace, precision and intensity. In a series of meditative explications of Derridean texts – including extended and profound exegeses of Memoirs of the Blind and Archive Fever – she traces the complex unfolding of such key concepts as time, memory, image and event with unstinting rigor and intellectual energy. This is philosophical writing of the highest order.
Ronald Bogue, University of Georgia, author of Deleuzian Fabulation and the Scars of History (Edinburgh University Press)

Review article by Kir Kuiken, University at Albany-SUNY, the author of Imagined Sovereignties, Toward a New Political Romanticism (Fordham, 2014)
Baross ... offers a[n] ambitious task for her study: a reading of deconstruction from the standpoint of its own conception of the future, an anachronie that opens it to a different space or register, something that "is both unforeseen and unforeseeable by deconstruction itself." In other words, what is not at stake in her study is a "critique" of deconstruction that would come to intervene from the standpoint of that which is already "posthumous" with regard to it ... The operation of Baross's book is different, more difficult, and thus much more of an intervention . . . [it] gestures toward something "within" Derrida's writing that simultaneously exceeds it, and gives it back over to a future it could not anticipate, but whose very non-horizon was always what was at stake within it.
From: "Deconstructon Beyond Itself, Posthumously: For Jacques Derrida by Zsuzsa Baross," Cultural Critique, Volume 89, Winter 2015, pp. 222–237.

But Baross is doing something quite different in her brief homage to Derrida's work and life, though like Derrida's "adieu" her "posthumously" is an act of sur-vie, survival, however tremulous. Her gesture, like Derrida's to Nancy and others, is also a gift, both to the inspiration Derrida has clearly provided her thought and her work, and to the fact of Derrida's passing. This double valence, which Simon Morgan Wortham calls Derrida's "gift economy"—the living energy of Derrida's influence and the finality of his death—is at work throughout Baross's book, supplying it with both its central theme—and its greatest limitation.
Reviewed in Studies in 20th & 21st Century Literature, Vol. 37, Iss. 2 [2013], Art. 11 by Stephen Barker, Dean of Claire Trevor School of Arts, University California, Irvine


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