A Decade since Derrida

Any fool can undo things. As he made clear in his last interview, Derrida loved the great cultural and artistic achievements of the past as much as anyone did, but he had the burden of writing about them under the conditions that we regard as postmodern. He positioned himself in his work like the Jewish God, never to be spelled out or pinned down. He played a unique writerly game in the hope that no one could fashion an image of what he meant and so everyone could learn from his lessons of evasion. Nevertheless, deconstruction became in its turn a graven image. Meaning no more than “undo” in today’s mediaspeak, deconstruction has become a banal technical exercise, its historical context for- gotten. Its spirituality has been so utterly displaced that no common user of the term could begin to imagine what it is, or was. The man whom, as he said, we may re-create by reading him after his death remains a plurality of possibilities. There were and there remain many, many Derridas.

Leslie Chamberlain, "The Sad Rider: A Decade Since Derrida," Common Knowledge vol 20 no 3: pp. 393-401 - http://commonknowledge.dukejournals.org/content/20/3/391.abstract

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