Life Death (The Seminars of Jacques Derrida) (Hardcover)

Life Death (The Seminars of Jacques Derrida) By Jacques Derrida, Pascale-Anne Brault (Editor), Peggy Kamuf (Editor), Pascale-Anne Brault (Translated by), Michael Naas (Translated by) Cover Image

Life Death (The Seminars of Jacques Derrida) (Hardcover)

By Jacques Derrida, Pascale-Anne Brault (Editor), Peggy Kamuf (Editor), Pascale-Anne Brault (Translated by), Michael Naas (Translated by)

$45.00


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The seventh in our series of Derrida's seminars, Life Death provides interdisciplinary reflections on the relationship of life and death—now in paperback.

One of Jacques Derrida’s most provocative works, Life Death deconstructs a deeply rooted dichotomy of Western thought: life and death. In rethinking the relationship between life and death, Derrida undertakes a multi-disciplinary analysis of a range of topics across philosophy, linguistics, and the life sciences. Derrida gave this seminar over fourteen sessions between 1975 and 1976 at the École normale supérieure in Paris to prepare students for the agrégation, a notoriously competitive exam. The theme for the exam that year was “Life and Death,” but Derrida made a critical modification to the title by dropping the coordinating conjunction. The resulting title of Life Death poses a philosophical question about the close relationship between life and death. Through close readings of Freudian psychoanalysis, the philosophy of Nietzsche and Heidegger, French geneticist François Jacob, and epistemologist Georges Canguilhem, Derrida argues that death must be considered neither as the opposite of life nor as the truth or fulfillment of it, but rather as that which both limits life and makes it possible. Derrida thus not only questions traditional understandings of the relationship between life and death but also ultimately develops a new way of thinking about what he calls “life death.”
Jacques Derrida (1930–2004) was director of studies at the École des hautes études en sciences sociales, Paris, and professor of humanities at the University of California, Irvine. Several of his books have been published in their English translation by the University of Chicago Press.

Pascale-Anne Brault is an associate professor of French at DePaul University.

Peggy Kamuf is the Marion Frances Chevalier Professor of French and Comparative Literature at the University of Southern California. She has written, edited, or translated many books, by Derrida and others, and is coeditor of the series of Derrida’s seminars at the University of Chicago Press. 

Pascale-Anne Brault is an associate professor of French at DePaul University.

Jacques Derrida is the director of studies at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, Paris, and professor of humanities at the University of California, Irvine. He is the author of many books including The Gift of Death and Archive Fever, both published by the University of Chicago Press. Pascale-Anne Brault is an associate professor of French at DePaul University. Michael Naas is a professor of philosophy at DePaul University. Together they have translated several works by Derrida, including Memoirs of the Blind, published by the University of Chicago Press, and Adieu.
Product Details ISBN: 9780226699516
ISBN-10: 022669951X
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
Publication Date: September 22nd, 2020
Pages: 328
Series: The Seminars of Jacques Derrida
"In these exceptionally complex, wide-ranging lectures written for a 1975–76 course, Derrida takes very seriously Nietzsche's warning to 'beware . . . saying that death is opposed to life' . . . . Essential."
— Choice

"Translated . . . with unparalleled grace and rigor.”
— Philosophy Today

"One of Derrida’s most challenging and urgently relevant seminars.”
— Style

"Daring and wide-ranging.”
— Research in Phenomenology

“Derrida’s 1975-76 seminar, Life Death, is surely one of his greatest achievements. It begins with a deconstructive reading of François Jacob’s Logic of the Living, advancing to a critique of scientific ‘models’ in general. It then takes up Nietzsche’s notions of life and the living in terms of both biography and biology. Finally, it reads Freud’s Beyond the Pleasure Principle in an exciting and challenging way. The translation by Pascale-Anne Brault and Michael Naas is reliable and eminently readable.”
— David Farrell Krell, author of The Sea: A Philosophical Encounter

“This is a splendid translation of one of Derrida’s most challenging seminars, one that relates, in unprecedented ways, the vocabulary and concepts of historical and contemporary biology and genetics with selected and relevant works of Marx, Nietzsche, Heidegger, and Freud.”
— Dawne McCance, author of The Reproduction of Life Death: Derrida's La Vie la Mort