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Derrida's beautifully written and clear Archive Fever: A Freudian Impression is concerned with the establishment of Freud's London house as a museum or archive, with the interpretation of Freud's public and private texts as the source or archive of psychoanalytic science, and with the identification of sources and beginnings generally. Derrida's focus is on how psychoanalytic insights themselves problematise this identification. Caputo's Deconstruction in a Nutshell: A Conversation with Jacques Derrida sets out specifically to correct widespread failures by Derrida's critics to notice the novelty of the implications of Derrida's position (48). The book consists in a 26-page record of Derrida's responses to six questions by some of the Villanova University faculty, followed by Caputo's lengthy commentary on the responses, with substantial reference to Derrida's writings. It is a fairly lightweight book, aiming successfully to be readable and clear. It bristles, however - and necessarily - with paradoxes which will still be unpalatable to those who are liable quickly to dismiss Derrida. For example: 'Deconstruction is the relentless pursuit of ... things whose possibility is sustained by their impossibility' (32), a statement to which I shall return.


Copyright © 1997 Jeremy Barris. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

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