Sunday, June 05, 2011

aura of the hydra-headed wise guy

Near the beginning of chapter 1 of To Follow: the wake of Jacques Derrida (2010), Peggy Kamuf notes “...the dialogic or polylogic form of texts published under Derrida’s name alone,” i.e., bearing a pretense of unifiability (or implicit monology) due to a singularity of the author (presuming a singularity of authorship in being “Derrida”), though there’s “plurivocality in Derrida’s thought,” just as one might expect of a richly imaginative novelist. The singularity of Derrida (the living writer, now long dead) may be trivial relative to the plural interpsychality of the writing (the living written) in light of inestimable influence (a wake of life, manifold Trace) originally

 But the singularity is not trivial as existing life, trivial only for conceptual tourism that would keep philosophy mirroring one’s presumptions. (One book by Derrida is titled Whose Afraid of Philosophy?, playing on the title of the famous Edward Albee play, I suppose.) The singularity of Derrida’s originality may be primordially plural, proximally interpsychal, yet intrapsychally plural at heart; but not thusly so: The intrapsychality isn’t a mere gestalt of its interpsychality; the intrapsychality isn’t translatable or reducible to an interpsychality of the Trace (the wake of a life’s time). Instead, the plural psychality belongs to Derrida singularly, such that any cohering conception of interpsychality derives from the intrapsychality so conceiving that (which only Derrida might have done—but would not do, as a matter of principle), a cohering otherwise being merely another’s proffered conception (by a theorist, a philosophical biographer, etc.) of singularity imputed.

I look forward to seeing what Timothy Clark does in The Poetics of Singularity: the counter-culturalist turn in Heidegger, Derrida, Blanchot, and the later Gadamer (2005) one of these days.