Derrida, Heidegger, Blanchot: Sources of Derrida’s Notion and Practice of Literature
Jacques Derrida is undoubtedly one of the foremost figures in the development of twentienth-century literary theory. The school of ‘deconstruction’ that has grown out of his work has been either absorbed into the corpus of modern literary theory, or criticized for its departures from the original texts of Derrida in whose name it is practised. Timothy Clark’s innovative book traces instead sources of Derrida’s practice of ‘literature’ as a form of philosophical thinking, in the work of Heidegger and Blanchot. It offers a welcome stylistic clarity in a field beleaguered by its philosophical and linguistic difficulty. Clark gives close readings of key texts including Heidegger’s Conversation on a Country Path, Blanchot’s L’attente l’oubli, and Derrida’s Pas and Signsponge, and widens the scope of his discussion of philosophical cultivation of ‘literary’ forms to include in addition the issues of creativity, influence and responsibility as they appear in the work of Lyotard and Levinas.