Download Critical Excess: Overreading in Derrida, Deleuze, Levinas, by Colin Davis PDF

By Colin Davis

The "ancient quarrel" among philosophy and literature turns out to were resolved as soon as and for all with the popularity that philosophy and the humanities might be allies rather than enemies. Critical Excess examines intimately the paintings of 5 thinkers who've had a big, ongoing influence at the learn of literature and movie: Jacques Derrida, Gilles Deleuze, Emmanuel Levinas, Slavoj Žižek, and Stanley Cavell. Their ways are very diversified from each other, yet they each one make unforeseen interpretive leaps that render their readings exhilarating and unnerving.

But do they cross too some distance? Does a scribbled be aware left at the back of through Nietzsche quite let us know concerning the nature of textuality? Can Hitchcock actually inform you "everything you usually desired to find out about Lacan"? Does the blanket hung up in a inn room invoke the Kantian divide among the knowable extraordinary global and the unknowable issues in themselves? Contextualizing the paintings of the 5 thinkers within the highbrow debates to which they give a contribution, this booklet analyzes the stakes and benefits of "overreading."

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Extra resources for Critical Excess: Overreading in Derrida, Deleuze, Levinas, Žižek and Cavell

Example text

Contrary to such approaches Derrida’s deconstruction is not a critical method amongst others, despite the attempts of some critics to turn it into one; rather, it is an attempt to traverse the event of the text in its utter singularity, to stand exposed—and obliged to respond—to its untameable strangeness. Derrida is uncomfortable saying he writes “about” texts, since to do so would imply some degree of interpretive mastery and the identifiable separateness of a critical metalanguage; he prefers to say he writes “towards” them, or “in the face of the event of another’s text” (Derrida 1992: 62).

So Derrida is a reader of literature. Hillis Miller goes so far as to describe him as, amongst so much else, “one of the great literary critics of the twentieth century” (Miller 2001: 58). 4 Is Derrida a great critic, or someone who never practised anything like literary criticism? In fact, even to describe him as a reader of literature requires qualification, since neither reading nor literature is accepted by him as a secure, self-evident category. ) on the grounds that the form of the question takes for granted an ontological perspective insofar as it calls for an answer in terms of essences.

Moreover, since reading and thinking are for him strictly coextensive, to overread is to think more boldly, to push thought further along the way to truth by forcing the poem to disclose its half-unspoken wisdom. For Heidegger, it matters little in the end whether his interpretive acts might be thought to be misguided or wrong according to normal scholarly criteria. He offers no regulative principle by which correctness or incorrectness could be judged, other than the thinker’s and his audience’s own sense of appropriateness.

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