Sunday, February 7, 2010

Writing and Difference

Reading Derrida out of context would appear to work simultaneously in contradistinction to and in coherence with Derridian philosophy; on the one hand, liberal excision via quotation robs the reader of the "work" necessary to thinking through the concepts, yet, on the other hand, embodies both the concepts of grafting and the bricoleur. Decide for yourself which option to choose. Of course, "I do not believe that today there is any question of choosing," so apparently, its not really up to you decide one way or the other anyway.

Derrida, Jacques. Writing and Difference. Chicago, IL: The University of Chicago Press, 1980.

from “Force and Signification”:

Form fascinates when one no longer has the force to understand force from within itself. That is, to create...Criticism henceforth knows itself separated from force” (Derrida 4-5).

“structure is the formal unity of form and meaning” (Derrida 5).

“A city no longer inhabited, not simply left behind, but haunted by meaning and culture. This state of being haunted, which keeps the city from returning to nature, is perhaps the general mode of the presence or absence of the thing itself in pure language. The pure language that would be housed in pure literature, the object of pure literary criticism” (Derrida 5).

“Structure then can be methodically threatened in order to be comprehended more clearly and to reveal not only its supports but also that secret place in which it is neither construction nor ruin but liability. This operation is called (from Latin) soliciting. In other words, shaking in a way related to the whole” (Derrida 6).

“To grasp the operation of creative imagination at the greatest possible proximity to it, one must turn oneself toward the invisible interior of poetic freedom. One must be separated from oneself in order to be reunited with the blind origin of the work in its darkness” (Derrida 8).

“For thought of the thing as what it is has already been confused with experience of pure speech; and this experience has been confused with experience itself” (Derrida 9).

“And if the necessity of becoming breath or speech restricts meaning—and our responsibility for it—writing restricts and constrains speech further still” (Derrida 9).

“It is because writing is inaugural, in the fresh sense of the word, that it is dangerous and anguishing. It does not know where it is going, no knowledge can keep it from the essential precipitation toward the meaning that it constitutes and that it is, primarily, its future. However, it is capricious only through cowardice. There is thus no insurance against the risk of writing. Writing is an initial and graceless recourse for the writer, even if he is not an atheist but, rather, a writer” (Derrida 11).

“But metaphor is never innocent. It orients research and fixes results” (Derrida 17).

“Our intention here is not, through the simple motions of balancing, equilibration or overturning, to oppose duration to space, quality to quantity, force to form, the depth of meaning or value to the surface of figures. Quite to the contrary. TO counter this simple alternative, to counter the simple choice of on of the terms or one of the series against the other, we maintain that it is necessary to seek new concepts and new models, an economy escaping this system of metaphysical oppositions. This economy would not be an energetics of pure, shapeless force. The differences examined simultaneously would be differences of site and differences of force. If we appear to oppose one series to the other, it is because from within the classical system we wish to make apparent the noncritical privilege naively granted to the other series of metaphysical oppositions. The break with this structure of belonging can be announced only through a certain organization, a certain strategic arrangement which, within the field of metaphysical opposition, uses the strengths of the field to turn its own stratagems against it, producing a force of dislocation that spreads itself throughout the entire system, fissuring it in every direction and thoroughly delimiting it” (Derrida 20).

“To comprehend the structure of a becoming, the form of a force, is to lose meaning by finding it. The meaning of becoming and of force, by virtue of their pure, intrinsic characteristics, is the repose of the beginning and the end, the peacefulness of a spectacle, horizon or face. Within this peace and repose the character of becoming and of force is disturbed by meaning itself” (Derrida 26).

“Hegel demonstrated convincingly that the explication of a phenomenon by a force is tautology. But in saying this, one must refer to language's peculiar inability to emerge from itself in order to articulate its origin, and not to the thought of force. Force is the other of language without which language would not be what it is” (Derrida 27).

“Metaphor in general, the passage from one existent to another, or from signified meaning to another, authorized by the initial submission of Being to the existent, the analogical displacement of Being, is the essential weight which anchors discourse in metaphysics, irremediably repressing discourse into its metaphysical state” (Derrida 27).

“one would seek in vain a concept in phenomenology which would permit the conceptualization of intensity of force. The conceptualization not only of direction but of power, not only in but the tension of intentionality” (Derrida 27).

“If this 'dialectic' of force and weakness is the finitude of thought itself in its relationship to being, it can only be articulated in the language of form, through images of shadow and light. For force is not darkness, and it is not hidden under a form for which it would serve as substance, matter, or crypt. Force cannot be conceived on the basis of an oppositional couple, that is, on the basis of the complicity between phenomenology and occultism. Nor can it be conceived, from within phenomenology, as the fact opposed to meaning” (Derrida 28).

“Emancipation from this language must be attempted. But not as an attempt at emancipation from it, for this is impossible unless we forget our history. Rather, as the dream of emancipation. Nor as emancipation from it, which would be meaningless and would deprive us of the light of meaning. Rather, as resistance to it, as far as possible. In any event, we must not abandon ourselves to this language with the abandon which today characterizes the worst exhilaration of the most nuanced structural formalism” (Derrida 28).

from “Cogito and the History of Madness”:

“The history of madness itself is therefore the archaeology of a silence” (Derrida 35).

“But, first of all, is there a history of silence? Further, is not an archaeology, even of silence, a logic, that is, an organized language, a project, an order,a sentence, a syntax, a work?” (Derrida 35).”

Total disengagement from the totality of the historical language responsible for the exile of madness, liberation from this language in order to write the archaeology of silence, would be possible in only two ways."

"Either do not mention a certain silence (a certain silence which, again, can be determined only within a language and an order that will preserve this silence from contamination by any given muteness), or follow the madman down the road of exile. This misfortune of the mad, the interminable misfortune of their silence, is that their best spokesmen are those who betray them best; which is to say that when one attempts to convey their silence itself, one has already passed over to the side of the enemy, the side of order, even if one fights against order from within it, putting its origin into question” (Derrida 35-6).

“I mean that the silence of madness is not said, cannot be said in the logos of this book, but is indirectly, metaphorically, made present by its pathos—taking this word in its best sense” (Derrida 37).

“[Discourses] must carry normality within themselves...discourse...belongs to the meaning of meaning. It is an essential necessity from which no discourse can escape...Now, the work that starts with the most elementary discourse, with the first articulation of a meaning, with the first syntactical usage of an 'as such,' for to make a sentence is to manifest a possible meaning. By its essence, the sentence is normal. It carries within it, that is, sense, in every sense of the word...And if madness in general, beyond any factitious and determined historical structure, is the absence of a work, then madness is indeed, essentially and generally, silence, stifled speech, within a caesure and a wound that opens up life a historicity in general. Not a determined silence, imposed at one given moment rather than at any other, but a silence essentially linked to an act of force and a prohibition which open history and speech” (Derrida 54)

“Language being the break with madness, it adheres more thoroughly to its essence and vocation, makes a cleaner break with madness, if it pits itself against madeness more freely and gets closer and closer to it: to the point of being separated from it only by the 'transparent sheet'” (Derrida 55).

“From its very first breath, speech, confined to this temporal rhythm of crisis and reawakening, is able to open the space for discourse only by emprisoning madness. This rhythm, moreover, is not an alternation that additionally would be temporal. It is rather the movement of temporalization itself as concerns that which unites it to the movement of logos. But this violent liberation of speech is possible and can be pursued only in the extent to which it keeps itself resolutely and consciously at the greatest possible proximity to the abuse that is the usage of speech—just close enough to say violence, to dialogue with itself as irreducible violence, and just far enough to live and live as speech” (Derrida 61).

from “Edmond Jabés and the Question of the Book”:

“The poet, in the very experience of his freedom, finds himself both bound to language and delivered from it by speech whose master, nonetheless, he himself is” (Derrida 65).

“The poet is thus indeed the subject of the book, its substance and its master, its servant and its theme. And the book is indeed the subject of the poet, the speaking and knowing being who in the book writes on the book. This movement through which the book, articulated by the voice of the poet, is folded and bound to itself, the movement through which the book becomes a subject in itself and for itself, is not critical or speculative reflection, but is, first of all, poetry and history. For in its representation of itself the subject is shattered and opened. Writing is itself written, but also ruined, made into an abyss, in its own representation. Thus, within this book, which infinitely reflects itself and which develops as a painful questioning of its own possibility, the form of the book represents itself” (Derrida 65).

“The Poet...[is] not born here but elsewhere. They wander, separated from their true birth” (Derrida 66).

“Poetic autonomy, comparable to none other, presupposes broken Tables...Between the fragments of the broken Tables the poem grows and the right to speech takes root. Once more begins the adventure of the text as weed...poetic necessity, is the very form of exiled speech...The breaking of Tables articulates, first of all, a rupture within God as the origin of history” (Derrida 67).

“God separated himself from himself in order to let us speak, in order to astonish and to interrogate us. He did so not by speaking but by keeping still, by letting silence interrupt his voice and his signs, by letting the Tables be broken” (Derrida 67).

“Writing is displaced on the broken line between lost and promised speech. The difference between speech and writing is...lost immediacy” (Derrida 68).

“Absence attempts to produce itself in the book and is lost in being pronounced; it knows itself as disappearing and lost, and to this extent it remains inaccessible and impenetrable. To gain access to it is to lose it; to show it is to hide it; to acknowledge it is to lie” (Derrida 69).

“To be grounded far from one's language, to emancipate it or lose one's hold on it, to let it make its way alone and unarmed. To leave speech. To be a poet is know how to leave speech. To let it speak alone, which it can only do in its written form. To leave writing is to be there only in order to provide its passageway, to be the diaphanous element of its going forth: everything and nothing. For the work, the writer is at once everything and nothing” (Derrida 70).

“If absence does not allow itself to be reduced by the letter, this is so because it is the letter's ether and respiration” (Derrida 71).

“language is the rupture with totality itself. The fragment is neither a determined style nor a failure, but the form of that which is written” (Derrida 71).

“the caesure makes meaning emerge. It does not do so alone, of course; but without interruption—between letters, words, sentences. books—no signification could be awakened” (Derrida 71).
“A poem always runs the risk of being meaningless, and would be nothing without this risk of being meaningless, and would be nothing without this risk” (Derrida 74).

“meaning is alienated from itself in the transition of writing. Intention surpasses itself and disengages from itself in order to be said” (Derrida 76).

“the world in all its parts a cryptogram to be constituted or reconstituted through poetic inscription or deciphering” (Derrida 76).

from “Violence and Metaphysics”:

“Without intermediary and without communion, neither mediate nor immediate, such is the truth of our relation to the other, the truth to which the traditional logos is forever inhospitable...The poetic force of metaphor is often the trace of this rejected alternative. This wounding of language. Through it. In its opening, experience itself is silently revealed” (Derrida 90).

metaphor only turns away our glance, providing an alibi for the historical violence of light: a displacement of technico-political oppression in the direction of philosophical discourse. For it has always been believed that metaphors exculpate, lift weight of things and of acts. If there is no history, except through language, and if elementally metaphorical, Borges is correct: 'Perhaps universal history is but the history of several metaphors.' Light is only on example of these 'several' fundamental 'metaphors,' but what an example! Who will ever dominate it, who will ever pronounce its meaning without first being pronounced by it? What language will ever escape it?...If all languages combat within it, modifying only the same metaphor and choosing the best light, Borges, several pages later, is correct again: 'Perhaps universal history is but the history of the diverse intonations of several metaphors'” (Derrida 92).

“writing will always be secondary. To liberate it from this possibility and this horizon, form this essential secondariness, is to deny it as writing, and to leave room for a grammar or a lexicon without language, fro cybernetics or electronics” (Derrida 102).

“For the face to present the other without metaphor, speech must not only translate thought. Thought, of course, already must be speech, but above all the body must also remain a language” (Derrida 103).

“But if all justice begins with speech, all speech is not just. Rhetoric may amount to the violence of theory, which reduces the other when it leads the other, whether through psychology, demagogy, or even pedagogy which is not instruction” (Derrida 106).

For discourse to be non-violent, “its future and its telos [must] be nondiscourse” peace as a certain silence, a certain beyond speech, a certain possibility, a certain silent horizon of speech...There is war only after the opening of discourse, and war dies out only at the end of discourse. Peace, like silence, is the strange vocation of a language called outside itself by itself. But since finite silence is also a medium of violence, language can only indefinitely tend toward justice by acknowledging and practicing the violence within it Violence against violence. Economy of violence” (Derrida 117)

“It is impossible to avoid the ontic metaphor in order to articulate Being in language, in order to let Being circulate in language...At one and the same time language illuminates and hides Being itself. Nevertheless, Being itself is alone in its absolute resistance to every metaphor...Etymological empiricism, the hidden root of all empiricism, explains everything except that at a given moment the metaphor, has been thought as metaphor, that is, has been ripped apart as the veil of Being...As Hegel says somewhere, empiricism always forgets, at very least, that it employs the words to be. Empiricism is thinking by metaphor without thinking the metaphor as such” (Derrida 138-9).

“nonviolent language would be a language which would do without the verb to be, that is, without predication. Predication is the first violence. Since the verb to be and the predicative act are implied in every other verb, and in every common noun, nonviolent language, in the last analysis, would be a language of pure invocation, pure adoration, proffering only proper nouns in order to call to the other from afar. In effect, such a language would be purified of all rhetoric...purified of every verb.” (Derrida 147)

“what would a language without phrase, a language which would say nothing, offer to the other? Language must give the world to the other...A master who forbids himself the phrase would give nothing. He would have no disciples but only slaves” (Derrida 147).

“Violence appears with articulation” (Derrida 147-8).

“In its original possibility as offer, in its still intention, language is nonviolent (but can it be language, in this pure intention?) It becomes violent only in its history, in what we have called the phrase, which obliges it to articulate itself in the conceptual syntax opening the circulation of the same, permitting itself to be governed both by 'ontology' and by what remains...the concept of concepts: Being...Peace is made only in a certain silence, which is determined and protected by the violence of speech” (Derrida 148).

“to reawaken...the autistic syntax of [the] dream. The necessity to avoid the worst violence” (Derrida 152).

from “Genesis and Structure”:

“No doubt, to treat a philosophy by introducing the foreign substance of a debate may be efficacious...but it begins with an aggression and an infidelity” (Derrida 154).

Logos is nothing outside of history and Being, since it is discourse, infinite discursiveness and not an actual infinity, and since it is meaning...Inversely, no history as self-tradition and no Being could have meaning without logos which is the meaning which projects and proffers itself...Which amounts to saying that in criticizing classical metaphysics, phenomenology accomplishes the most profound project of metaphysics” (Derrida 166).

from “La parole soufflée”:

“when we appear to regret a silence or defeat before the unique, it is because we believe in the necessity of reducing the unique, of analyzing it and decomposing it by shattering it even further. Better: we believe that no commentary can escape these defeats, unless it destroys itself as commentary by exhuming the unity in which is embedded the differences...which implicitly support both criticism and the clinic” (Derrida 174).

“For what his howls promise us, articulating themselves under the headings of existence, flesh, life, theater, cruelty is the meaning of an art prior to madness and the work, an art which no longer yields works, an artist's existence which is no longer a route or an experience that gives access to something other than itself; Artaud promises the existence of a speech that is a body, of a body that is a theater, of a theater that is a text because it is no longer enslaved to a writing more ancient than itself, an ur-text or an ur-speech...In pursuit of a manifestation which would not be an expression but a pure creation of life, which would not fall far fro the body then to decline into a sign or a work, an object, Artaud attempted to destroy a history, the history of the dualist metaphysics “ (Derrida 175).

“Spirited [soufflée]: let us understand stolen” (Derrida 175).

“Artaud knew that all speech fallen from the body, offering itself to understanding or reception, offering itself as spectacle, immediately becomes stolen speech. Becomes signification which I do no possess because it is signification” (Derrida 175).

“Spirited [soufflée]: at the same time let us understand inspired by an other voice that itself reads a text older than the text of my body or than the theater of my gestures” (Derrida 176). inspiration itself: the force of a void, the cyclonic breath [souffle] of a prompter [souffleur] who draws his breath in, and thereby robs me of that which he first allowed to approach me and which I believed I could say in my own name...unpower: not the absence but the radical irresponsibility of speech, irresponsibility as the power and the origin of speech. I am in relation to myself within the ether of a speech which is always spirited away [soufflée] from me, and which steals from me the very thing that it puts me in relation to..It is neither within the province of netiher morals, nor logic, nor aesthetics to define this irresponsibility: it is total and original loss of existence itself...and primarily, occurs in my Body, in my Life” (Derrida 176).

“As soon as I speak, the words I have found (as soon as they are words) no longer belong to me, are originally repeated...As soon as I am heard, as soon as I hear myself, the I who hears itself, who hears me, becomes the I who speaks and takes speech from the I who thinks that he speaks and is heard in his own name; and becomes the I who takes speech without ever cutting off the I who thinks that he speaks” (Derrida 177-8).

“the act of reading perforates the act of speaking or writing. And through this perforation, this hole, I escape myself” (Derrida 178).

“The mind purloins. The letter, inscribed or propounded speech, is always stolen. Always stolen because it is always open. It never belongs to its author or to its addressee, and by nature, it never follows the trajectory that leads from subject to subject. Which amounts to acknowledging the autonomy of the signifier as the letter's historicity” (Derrida 178).

“If my speech is not my breath [souffle], if my letter is not my speech, this is so because my spirit was already no longer my body, my body no longer my gestures, my gestures no longer my life” (Derrida 179).

“Ever since I have had a relation to my body, therefore, ever since my birth, I no longer am my body. Ever since I have had a body I am not this body, hence I do not possess it...My body has thus always been stolen from me” (Derrida 180).

“This history of God is thus the history of the work as excrement” (Derrida 182).

“My work, my trace, the excrement that robs me of my possessions after I have been stolen from my birth, must thus be rejected. But to reject it is not, here, to refuse it but to retain it. To keep myself, to keep my body and my speech, I must retain the work within me, conjoin myself with it so that there will be no opportunity for the Thief to come between it and me: it must be kept from falling far from my body as writing” (Derrida 182-3).

“It is metaphor that Artaud wants to destroy. He wishes to have done with standing upright as metaphorical erection within the written work. This alienation of the written work into metaphor is a phenomenon that belongs to superstition” (Derrida 184).

“the Theater of Cruelty, by killing metaphor...pushes us into 'a new idea of Danger'” (Derrida 185).


“The initial urgent requirement of an in-organic theater is emancipation from the text” (Derrida 187).

“Without disappearing, speech will now have to keep to its place; and to do so it will have to modify its very function, will have no longer to be a language of words, of terms 'in a single define sense' (TD, p. 118), of concepts which put an end to thought and life. It is within silence of definition-words that 'we could listen more closely to life' (ibid). Thus, onomatopoeia, the gesture dormant in all classical speech, will be reawakened, and along with it sonority, intonation, intensity. And the syntax governing the succession of word gestures will no longer be a grammar of predication, a logic of 'clear thinking' or of a knowing consciousness” (Derrida 188).

“to overflow the power of the literal work is not to erase the letter, but only to subordinate it to the incidence of illegibility or at least illiteracy” (Derrida 188).

“The traces inscribed on the body will no longer be graphic incisions but wounds received in the destruction of the West, its metaphysics and its theater” (Derrida 188).

“To reject the work, to let one's speech, body, and birth be spirited away [soufflé] by the furtive god is thus to defend oneself against the theater of fear which multiplies the differences between myself and myself. Restored to its absolute and terrifying proximity, the stage of cruelty will thus return me to the autarchic immediacy of my birth, my body and my speech” (Derrida 190).

“To thwart this danger, which inwardly threatens danger itself, Artaud, through a strange movement, disposes the language of cruelty within a new form of writing: the most rigorous, authoritarian, regulated, and mathematical—the most formal form of writing” (Derrida 190).

from “Freud and the Scene of Writing”:

“Breaching, the tracing of a trail, opens up a conducting path. Which presupposes a certain violence and a certain resistance to effraction. The path is broken, cracked fracta, breached” (Derrida 200).

“Trace as memory is not a pure breaching that might be reappropriated at any time as simple presence; it is rather the ungraspable and invisible difference between breaches. We thus already know that psychic life is neither the transparency of meaning nor the opacity of force but the difference within the exertion of forces” (Derrida 201).

“No doubt life protects itself by repetition, trace, différance (deferral)...différance is not an essence, as it is not anything, it is not life” (Derrida 203).

“To say that différance is orginary is simultaneously to erase the myth of a present origin. Which is why 'originary' must be understood as having been crossed out, without which différance would be derived from an original plentitude. It is a non-origin which is originary” (Derrida 208).

“Difference in the work of breaching concern not only forces but also locations. And Freud already wants to think force and place simultaneously” (Derrida 204).

“formal regression in dreams must thus be interpreted, henceforth, as a path back into a landscape of writing. Not a writing which simply transcribes, a stony echo of muted words, but a lithography before words: metaphonetic, nonlinguistic, alogical” (Derrida 207).

“The dreamer invents his own grammar” (Derrida 209).

“The materiality of a word cannot be translated or carried over into another language. Materiality is precisely that which translation relinquishes. To relinquish materiality: such is the driving force of translation. And when that materiality is reinstated, translation becomes poetry. In this sense. Since the materiality of the signifier constitutes the idiom of every dream scene, dreams are untranslatable” (Derrida 210).

“Here again the metaphorical concept of translation...or dangerous, not because it refers to writing, but because it presupposes a text which would be already there, immobile” (Derrida 211).

“The text is not conceivable in an originary or modified presence. The unconscious text is already a weave of pure traces, differences in which meaning and force are united—a text nowhere present, consisting of archives which are always already transcriptions. Originary prints. Everything begins with reproduction. Always already: repositories of a meaning which was never present, whose signified presence is always reconstituted by deferral...belatedly, supplementary” (Derrida 211).

“Force produces meaning (and space) through the power of 'repetition' alone, which inhabits it originally as its death. This power, that is, this lack of power, which opens and limits the labor of force, institutes translatability, makes possible what we call 'language,' transforms an absolute idiom into a limit which is always already transgressed: a pure idiom is not language; it becomes so only through repetition; repetition always already divides the point of departure of the first time” (Derrida 213).

“words are also and 'primarily' things” (Derrida 219).

“Pure words and pure things are thus, like the idea of the primary process, and consequently, the secondary process, 'theoretical fictions'” (Derrida 219).

“We must be several in order to write, and even to 'perceive'” (Derrida 226).

“The 'subject' of writing does not exist if we mean by that some sovereign solitude of the author. The subject of writing is a system of relations between strata” (Derrida 227).

“Representation is death. Which may be immediately transformed into the following proposition: death (is) only representation. But it is bound to life and to the living present which it repeats originally. A pure representation, a machine, never runs by itself” (Derrida 227).

“The trace is the erasure of selfhood, of one's own presence, and is constituted by the threat or anguish of its irremediable disappearance, of the disappearance of its disappearance” (Derrida 230).

from “The Theater of Cruelty”:

“Theater of cruelty is not a representation. It is life itself, in the extent to which life is unrepresentable. Life is the nonrepresentable origin of representation. 'I therefore said 'cuelty' as I might have said 'life'' (TD, p. 114). This life carries many along with it, but it not primarily the life of man. The latter is only a representation of life, and such is the limit—the humanist limit—of the metaphysics of classical theater” (Derrida 234).

“Is not the most naïve form of representation mimesis? Like Nietzsche—and the affinities do not end there—Artaud wants to have done with the imitative concept of art, with the Aristolean aesthetics in which the metaphysics of Western art comes into its own” (Derrida 234).

“The theatrical practice of cruelty , in its action and structure, inhabits or rather produces a nontheological space” (Derrida 235).

“The stage is theological for as long as it is dominated by speech, by a will to speech, by the layout of a primary logos which does not belong to the theatrical site and governs it from a distance” (Derrida 235).

“Cruel representation must permeate me. And nonrepresentation is, thus, original representation, if representation signifies, also, the unfolding of a volume, a mutlidimensional milieu, an experience which produces its own space. Spacing...that is to say, the production of a space that no speech could condense or comprehend (since speech primarily presupposes this spacing), thereby appeals to a time that is no longer that of so-called phonic linearity” (Derrida 237)

“Poetry can escape Western 'illness' only by becoming theater” (Derrida 238).

“we can distinguish the sense of cruelty as necessity and rigor” (Derrida 238).

“Speech will cease to govern the stage, but will be present upon it. Speech will occupy a rigorously delimited place, will have a function within a system to which it will be coordinated. For it is known that the representation of the theater of cruelty had to be painstakingly determined in advanced. The absence of an author and his text does not abandon the stage to dereliction” (Derrida 239).

“Everything, thus, will be prescribed in a writing and a text whose fabric will no longer resemble the model of classical representation” (Derrida 239).

“Speech and its notion—phonetic speech, an element of classical theater—speech and its writing will be erased on the stage of cruelty only in the extent to which they were allegedly dictation: at once citations or recitations and orders. The director and the actor will no longer take dictation: 'Thus we shall renounce the theatrical superstition of the text and the dictatorship of the writer' (TD, p. 124)” (Derrida 239).

“How will speech and writing function then? They will once more become gestures; and the logical an discursive intentions which speech ordinarily uses in order to ensure its rational transparency, and in order to purloin its body in the direction of meaning, will be reduced or subordinated. And since this theft of the body by itself is indeed that which leaves the body to be strangely concealed by the very thing that constitutes its as diaphanousness, then the deconstitution of diaphanousness lays bares the flesh of the word, lays bar the word's sonority, intonation, intensity—the shout that the articulations of language and logic have not yet entirely frozen, that is, the aspect of oppressed gesture which remains in all speech, the unique and irreplaceable movement which the generalities of concept and repetition have never finished rejecting” (Derrida 240).

“Thus, it is less a question of constructing a mute stage than of constructing a stage whose clamor has not yet been pacified into words...the language of life itself the 'speech before words' must be found again” (Derrida 240).

“but also hieroglyphic writing, the writing in which phonetic elements are coordinated to visual, pictorial, and plastic elements” (Derrida 240).

“Artaud too, speaks of a 'visual and plastic materialization of speech' (TD, p. 72) and making use of speech 'in a concrete and spatial sense' in order to 'manipulate it like a solid object, one which overturns and disturbs things' (TD, p. 72)” (Derrida 241).

Artaud wanted to erase repetition in general. For him, repetition was evil, and one could doubtless organize an entire reading of his texts around this center, Repetition separates force, presence, and life from themselves. This separation is the economical and calculating gesture of that which defers itself in order to maintain itself, that which reserves expenditure and surrenders to fear. This power of repetition governed everything Artaud wished to destroy, and it has several names: God, Being, Dialectics” (Derrida 245).

“Dialectics is always that which has finished us, because it is always that which takes into account our rejection of it. As it does our affirmation. To reject death as repetition is to affirm death as a present expenditure without return. And inversely” (Derrida 246).

“In this sense the theater of cruelty would be the art of difference and of expenditure without economy, without reserve, without return, without history. Pure presence as pure difference. Its act must be forgotten, actively forgotten” (Derrida 247).

“Writing is space itself and the possibility of repetition in general. This is why 'We should get rid of our superstitious valuation of texts and written poetry. Written poetry is worth reading once, and then should be destroyed' (TD, p.78)” (Derrida 247).

“And there would be no exception to be made for the attempts made by Artaud himself. He knew this better than any other: the 'grammar' of the theater of cruelty, of which he said that it is 'to be found,' will always remain the inaccessible limit of a representation which is not representation, or of re-presentation which is full presence, which does not carry its double within itself as death, of a present which does not repeat itself, that is, of a present outside time, a nonpresent” (Derrida 248).

“Artaud kept himself as close as possible to the limit: the possibility and impossibility of pure theater” (Derrida 249).

“Because it has always already begun, representation therefore has no end. But one can conceive of the closure of that which is without end. Closure is the circular limit within which repetition of difference infinitely repeats itself. That is to say, closure is its playing space. This movement is the movement of the world as play. 'And for the absolute life itself is a game' (OC 4:282). This play is cruelty as the unity of necessity and chance. 'It is play that is infinite, not god' (Fragmentations). This play of life is artistic” (Derrida 250).

from “From Restricted to General Economy”:

“Misconstrued, treated lightly, Hegelianism only extends its historical domination, finally unfolding its immense enveloping resources without obstacle” (Derrida 251).

“The poetic or the ecstatic is that in every discourse which can open itself up to the absolute loss of its sense, to the (non-)base of the sacred, of nonmeaning, of un-knowledge or of play, to swoon from which its is reawakened by a throw of the dice. What is poetic in sovereignty is announced in 'the moment when poetry renounces theme and meaning' (El, p. 239). It is only announced in this renunciation, for, given over to 'play without rules,' poetry risks letting itself be domesticated, 'subordinated,' better than ever. This risk is properly modern. To avoid it, poetry must be 'accompanied by an affirmation of sovereignty' 'which provides,' Bataille says in an admirable, untenable formulation which could serve as the heading for everything we are attempting to resemble here as the form and torment of his writing, 'the commentary on its absence of meaning.' Without which poetry would be, in the worst of cases, subordinated and, in the best of cases, 'inserted.' For then, 'laughter, drunkenness, sacrifice, and poetry, eroticism itself, subsist autonomously, in a reserve, inserted into a sphere, like children in a house. Within their limits they are minor sovereigns who cannot contest the empire of activity' (ibid.)” (Derrida 261).

“We must find a speech which maintains silence. Necessity of the impossible: to say in language—the language of servility—that which is not servile” (Derrida 262).

“If the word silence 'among all words,' is 'the most perverse or the most poetic,' it is because in pretending to silence meaning, its says nonmenaing, it slide and it erases itself, does not maintain itself, silence itself, not as silence, but as speech” (Derrida 262).

“'We must find,' Bataille explains to us, in choosing, 'silence' as 'an example of a sliding word,' 'words' and 'objects' which 'make us slide'...(El, p. 29). Toward what? Toward other words, other objects, of course, which announce sovereignty” (Derrida 262).

“This sliding is risky. But since it has this orientation, what it risks is meaning and the loss of sovereignty in the figure of discourse. It risks making sense, risks agreeing to the reasonableness of reason, of philosophy, of Hegel, who is always right, as soon as one opens one's mouth in order to articulate meaning. In order to run this risk within language, in order to save that which does not want to be saved—the possibility of play and of absolute risk—we must redouble language and have recourse to ruses, to stratagems, to simulacra” (Derrida 263).

“Since it is a certain sliding that is in question, as we have seen, what must be found, no less than the word, is the point, the place in a pattern at which a word drawn from the old language will start, by virtue of having been placed there and by virtue of having received such an impulsion, to slide and to make the entire discourse slide. A certain strategic twist must be imprinted upon language; and this strategic twist, with a violent and sliding, furtive, movement must inflect the old corpus in order to relate its syntax and its lexicon to major silence. And to the privileged moment pf the sovereign operation, 'even if it took place only once,' rather than to the concept or meaning of sovereignty.

An absolutely unique relation: of language to a sovereign silence which tolerates no relations, tolerates no symmetry with that which tilts itself and slides in order to be related to it. A relation, however, which must rigorously, scientifically, place into a common syntax both the subordinated significations and the operation which is nonrelational, which has no signification and freely keeps itself outside syntax. Relations must scientifically be related to nonrelations, knowledge to unknowledge” (Derrida 264).

“Once sovereignty has to attempt to make someone or something subordinate to itself, we know that it would be retaken by dialectics” (Derrida 265).

“sovereignty has no identity, is not itself, for itself, toward itself, near must practice forgetting...and as the ultimate subversion of lordship, it must no longer seek to be recognized” (Derrida 265).

“The problem is even more difficult in that sovereignty simultaneously assigns itself another form of writing: that one that produces the trace as trace” (Derrida 265).

“Since the space which separates the logic of lordship and, if you will, the nonlogic of sovereignty neither can nor may be inscribed in the nucleus of the concept will have to be inscribed within the continuous chain (or functioning) of a form of writing. This—major—writing will be called writing because it exceeds the logos (of meaning, lordship, presence etc.). Within this writing...the same concepts, apparently unchanged in themselves, will be subject to a mutation of meaning, or rather will be struck by (even though they are apparently indifferent), the loss of sense toward which they slide, thereby ruining themselves immeasurably. To blind oneself to this rigorous precipitation, this pitiless sacrifice of philosophical concepts, and to continue to read, interrogate, and judge...within 'significative discourse' is, perhaps, to hear something within it, but it is assuredly not to read it” (Derrida 267).

“Carried away I this calculated sliding, concepts become nonconcepts, they are unthinkable, they become untenable” (Derrida 268).

“The writing of sovereignty conforms to general economy by at least two characteristics: (1) it is a science; (2) it relates its objects to the destruction, without reserve, of meaning...There is no sovereignty itself. Sovereignty dissolves the values of meaning, truth and a grasp-of-the-thing-itself. This is why the discourse that it opens above all is not true, truthful or 'sincere.' Sovereignty is the impossible, therefore it is not, it is—Bataille writes this word in italics—'this loss'” (Derrida 270).

“One could submit all the concepts of general this schematization. The predicates are not there in order to mean something, to enounce or to signify, but in order to make sense slide, to denounce it or to deviate from it. This writing does not necessarily produce new concepts unities; and its concepts are not necessarily distinguished from classical concepts by marked characteristics in the form of essential predicates, but rather by qualitative differences of force, height, etc., which themselves are qualified in this way only by metaphor. Tradition's names are maintained, but they are struck with the differences between the major and the minor, the archaic and the classical. This is the only way, within discourse, to mark that which separates discourse from its excess” (Derrida 272).

“for this writing must assure us of nothing, must give us no certitude, no result, no profit. It is absolutely adventurous, is a chance and not a technique” (Derrida 273).

“the destruction of discourse...multiplies words, precipitates them one against the other, engulfs them too, in an endless and baseless substitution whose only rule is the sovereign affirmation of the play outside meaning” (Derrida 274).

“We have not stopped at any word; the chain rests on nothing; none of the concepts satisfies the demand, all are determined by each other and, at the same time, destroy or neutralize each other” (Derrida 274).

from “Structure, Sign, and Play”:

“The event I called rupture, the disruption I alluded tot at the beginning of this paper, presumably would have come about when the structurality of structure had to begin to be was necessary to begin thinking that there was no center, that the center could not be thought in the form of a present-being, that the center had no natural site, that it was not a fixed locus but a function, a sort of nonlocus in which an infinite number of sign-substitutions came into play. This was the moment when language invaded the universal problematic, the moment when, in the absence of a center or origin, everything became discourse—provided we can agree on this word—that is to say, a system in which the central signified, the original or transcendental signified, is never absolutely present outside a system of differences. The absence of the transcendental signified extends the domain and the play of signification infinitely” (Derrida 280).

“There is no sense in doing without the concepts of metaphysics in order to shake metaphysics. We have no language—no syntax and no lexicon—which is foreign to this history; we can pronounce not a single destructive proposition which has not already had to slip into the form, the logic, and the implicit postulations of precisely what it seeks to contest” (Derrida 280).

“this does not mean that all the ways of giving in to [discourse] are of equal pertinence. The quality and fecundity of a discourse are perhaps measured by the critical rigor with which this relation to the history of metaphysics and to inherited concepts is thought. Here it is a question of both critical relation to the language of the social sciences and a critical responsibility of the discourse itself. It is a question of explicitly and systematically posing the problem of the status of a discourse which borrows form a heritage the resources necessary for the deconstruction of that heritage itself. A problem of economy and strategy” (Derrida 282).

“language bears within itself the necessity of its own critique” (Derrida 284).

“The someone who uses 'the means at hand,' that is, the instruments he finds at his disposition around him, those which are already there, which had not been especially conceived with an eye to the operation for which they are to be used and to which one tries by trial and error to adapt them, not hesitating to change them whenever it appears necessary, or to try several of them at once, even if their form and their origin are heterogeneous—and so forth. There is therefore a critique of language in the form of the bricolage, and it has even been said that bricolage is critical language itself” (Derrida 285).

“What I want to emphasize is simply that the passage beyond philosophy does not consist in turning the page on philosophy...but in continuing to philosophers in a certain way” (Derrida 288).

“If totalization no longer has any meaning, it is not because the infiniteness of a field cannot be covered by a finite glance of a finite language, but because the nature of the field—that is, language and a finite language—excludes totalization. This field is in effect that of play, that is to say, a field of infinite substitutions only because it is finite, that is to say, because instead of being too large, there is something missing from it: a center which arrests and grounds the play of substitutions...that this movement of play, permitted by the lack or absence of a center or origin, is the movement of supplementarity. One cannot determine the center and exhaust totalization because the sign which replaces the center, which supplements it, taking the center's place in its absence—this sign is added, occurs as a surplus, as a supplement. The movement of signification adds something, which results in the fact that there is always something more, but this addition is a floating one because it comes to perform a vicarious function, to supplement a lack on the part of the signified” (Derrida 289).

“The overabundance of the signifier, its supplementary character, is thus the result of a finitude, that is to say, the result of a lack which must be supplemented” (Derrida 290).

“Besides the tension between play and history, there is also the tension between play and presence. Play is the disruption of presence. The presence of an element is always a signifying and substitutive reference inscribed in a system of difference and the movement of a chain. Play is always play of absence and presence, but if it is to be thought radically, play must be conceived as presence or absence. Being must be conceived as presence or absence on the basis of the possibility of play and not the other way around” (Derrida 292).

'the Nietzschean affirmation, that is the joyous affirmation of a world of signs without fault, without truth, and without origin which is offered to an active interpretation. This affirmation then determines the noncenter otherwise than as loss of center. And it plays without security” (Derrida 293).

“There are thus two interpretations of interpretation, of structure, of sign, of play. The one seeks to decipher...The other, which is no longer turned toward the origin, affirms play and tries to pass beyond man and humanism...

For my part, although these two interpretations must acknowledge and accentuate their difference and define their irreducibility, I do not believe that today there is any question of choosing” (Derrida 293).

from “Ellipsis”:

“It is not absence instead of presence, but a trace which replaces a presence which has never been present, an origin by means of which nothing has begun” (Derrida 295).

“The beyond of the closure is not a future present, yesterday is not a past refound. It is there, but out there, beyond, within repetition, but eluding us there. It is there like the shadow of the book, the third party between the hands holding the book, the deferral within the now of writing, the distance between the book and the book, that other hand” (Derrida 300).

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