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An exploration of sight, representation, and art, Memoirs of the Blind extends and deepens the meditation on vision and painting presented in Truth and Painting.Readers of Derrida, both new and familiar, will profit from this powerful contribution to the study of the visual arts.
As Graham Harman moans, “No figure in the history of philosophy is simultaneously so observant and so irritating as Jacques Derrida” (110).
Indeed, Derrida leaves no pebble or pun unturned in his close reading of Joyce’s pioneering text.
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).
Derrida provides compelling insights into famous and lesser known works, interweaving analyses of texts—including Diderot's Lettres sur les aveugles, the notion of mnemonic art in Baudelaire's The Painter of Modern Life, and Merleau-Ponty's The Visible and the Invisible.
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.
In an example of overdetermination and literary criticism at its finest, or perhaps feckless, Derrida’s essay “Ulysses Gramophone” scrutinizes the presence of Yes in the novel, determining that the word appears 222 times.
This number does not even account for other moments of, what Derrida calls, “yes without the word yes”: the Yeahs, the Yeas, the Yas, the Ayes, the letter I, and the seeing eye (266).
He taught philosophy and logic at both the University of Paris and the École Normal Supérieure for around 30 years.
His works of philosophy and linguistics form the basis of the school of criticism known as deconstruction.