Memoirs of the Blind The Self-Portrait and Other Ruins

ISBN-10: 0226143082
ISBN-13: 9780226143088
Edition: 1993
List price: $40.00
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Description: In this brilliant essay, Jacques Derrida explores issues of vision, blindness, self-representation, and their relation to drawing, while offering detailed readings of an extraordinary collection of images. Selected by Derrida from the prints and  More...

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Book details

List price: $40.00
Copyright year: 1993
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
Publication date: 10/1/1993
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 152
Size: 8.25" wide x 11.75" long x 0.50" tall
Weight: 1.958
Language: English

In this brilliant essay, Jacques Derrida explores issues of vision, blindness, self-representation, and their relation to drawing, while offering detailed readings of an extraordinary collection of images. Selected by Derrida from the prints and drawings department of the Louvre, the works depict blindness—fictional, historical, and biblical. From Old and New Testament scenes to the myth of Perseus and the Gorgon and the blinding of Polyphemus, Derrida uncovers in these images rich, provocative layers of interpretation. For Derrida drawing is itself blind; as an act rooted in memory and anticipation, drawing necessarily replaces one kind of seeing (direct) with another (mediated). Ultimately, he explains, the very lines which compose any drawing are themselves never fully visible to the viewer since they exist only in a tenuous state of multiple identities: as marks on a page, as indicators of a contour. Lacking a "pure" identity, the lines of a drawing summon the supplement of the word, of verbal discourse, and, in doing so, obscure the visual experience. Consequently, Derrida demonstrates, the very act of depicting a blind person undertakes multiple enactments and statements of blindness and sight.Memoirs of the Blindis both a sophisticated philosophical argument and a series of detailed readings. Derrida provides compelling insights into famous and lesser known works, interweaving analyses of texts—including Diderot'sLettres sur les aveugles, the notion of mnemonic art in Baudelaire'sThe Painter of ModernLife, and Merleau-Ponty'sThe Visible and theInvisible. Along with engaging meditations on the history and philosophy of art, Derrida reveals the ways viewers approach philosophical ideas through art, and the ways art enriches philosophical reflection. An exploration of sight, representation, and art,Memoirs of the Blindextends and deepens the meditation on vision and painting presented inTruth andPainting. Readers of Derrida, both new and familiar, will profit from this powerful contribution to the study of the visual arts.

Jacques Derrida was born in El-Biar, Algeria on July 15, 1930. He graduated from the �cole Normal Sup�rieure in 1956. He taught philosophy and logic at both the University of Paris and the �cole Normal Sup�rieure for around 30 years. His works of philosophy and linguistics form the basis of the school of criticism known as deconstruction. This theory states that language is an inadequate method to give an unambiguous definition of a work, as the meaning of text can differ depending on reader, time, and context. During his lifetime, he wrote more than 40 books on various aspects of deconstruction including Of Grammatology, Glas, The Postcard: From Socrates to Freud and Beyond, and Ulysses Gramophone: Hear Say Yes in Joyce. He died of pancreatic cancer on October 9, 2004 at the age of 74.

Translators'
Preface
Memoirs of the Blind: The Self-Portrait and Other Ruins
List of Illustrations

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