Charlotte Thevenet (UCL) - 2015-16 Students

The Rhetorics of the Commentary in Jacques Derrida’s divided texts

Our main hypothesis is that the divided lay out of our texts (Glas, 1974; « Tympan », 1972; « La double séance », 1972; « Living On. Border Lines », 1979; Cinders, 1987)  pertains in a larger rhetorical arsenal, and that as such, it has to be studied as a device with different functions, made to produce different effects. This research project has two main objectives: first, it aims at giving an account of those texts (which have never been studied together despite their similar lay out); secondly, it aims at formalizing Derrida’s practice of the commentary. The first objective entails as much a close, stylistic reading of our texts, than an historical contextualization of the divided page (that we find in an artistic tradition, and in an exegetic tradition). The second objective will consist in formalizing Derrida’s practice of the commentary through the notion of the remainder (reste, resistance), which relates to the divided lay out, but also reminds the opening lines of Glas, and which could help to understand Derrida’s operation as a commentator. Formalizing this notion of reste in the economy of the commentary will contribute to document this notion that has not been favoured by the critics until now.

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