‘Acts of Literature’ by Jacques Derrida

Published by Routledge in 1991.

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Jacques Derrida (1930—2004) was one of the most influential figures in literary theory in the English-speaking world, yet much of his writing on literary texts and on the question of literature is not easily available in translation.

Acts of Literature brings together for the first time a number of these works—on French, German, and English literary texts and figures—including Rousseau, Mallarme, Joyce, Shakespeare, and Kafka. Also included is a substantial interview with Derrida on questions of literature, deconstruction, politics, feminism, and history. For those unfamiliar with Derrida’s writing, editor Derek Attridge provides an introductory essay on deconstruction and the question of literature, as well as suggestions for further reading.

Acts of Literature will serve as an excellent introduction to Derrida’s remarkable contribution to literary studies, and will help refocus attention on the importance of literature, an on such topics as singularity, responsibility, and affirmation, in his work as a philosopher and critic of institutions.

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