At the time of his death in 2004, Jacques Derrida was arguably the most influential and the most controversial thinker in contemporary philosophy. Deconstruction, the movement that he founded, has received as much criticism as admiration and provoked one of the most contentious philosophical debates of the twentieth century. Derrida's contribution to European and American literary and philosophical culture was enormous and a comprehensive overview of his extraordinary life and work is long overdue. "Jacques Derrida: A Biography" offers, for the first time, a complete biographical overview of this important philosopher, drawing on Derrida's own accounts of his life, as well as the narratives of friends and colleagues. Powell explores Derrida's early life in Algeria, his higher education in Paris and his development as a thinker, before examining the extraordinary influence of his published works and the celebrity status that he achieved in both Europe and the USA.
Powell goes on to explore the crisis Derrida faced toward the end of the 1970s, when structuralism was waning, and his renewed efforts to create a public forum for deconstruction, often in the face of fierce criticism from the popular press. He concludes with an account of his last years and publications, which are both reflective and more assertive in their commentary on the times in which we live, bringing to light his thoughts on fame, life, and death. "Jacques Derrida: A Biography" provides an essential and engaging account of this major philosopher's remarkable life and work.
Dr Jason Powell is at the University of Liverpool.
Introduction; 1. Algeria; 2. Paris and ENS. 3. After ENS; 4. The First Book; 5. Against Structuralism; 6. 1967; 7. Post-Structuralism; 8. America: Derrida as Literature; 9. Glas; 10. Greph; 11. Paul de Man; 12. Nietzsche and Heidegger; 13. The Post Card; 14. The 1980s; 15. 1987-90: Deconstruction and Germany; 16. Autobiographical Years: 1990-91; 17. The Future of Democracy: The Very Worst Moment of Capitalism; 18. Derrida's World: Confronting Marx; 19. The Politics of Friendship; 20. Derrida's Religion; 21. Thoughtful Welcoming of the Other; 22. 2000 Onwards; 23. Conclusion: On the Future of Thinking; Bibliography.