One must go before the other. This inevitability bestows upon the mourner a further inevitability - to say something and to participate in the codes and rites of mourning. The distinguished French philosopher Jacques Derrida has been forced to wrestle with the complexities of mourning, as colleagues and friends passed away before him. This volume gathers together letters of condolence, memorial essays, eulogies and funeral orations, written after the deaths of figures well kwn in France and the US: Roland Barthes, Paul de man, Louis Marin, Emmanuel Levinas, Joseph Riddel and Michel Serviere to name but a few. Many essays are available in English for the first time. Each chapter has an introduction and a biographical sketch of its subject. Derrida bears witness to the singularity of friendship and to the uniqueness of each relationship. He is aware of the questions of tact, taste and ethical responsibility involved in speaking of the dead, and the risk of using the occasion of death for one's own reason. This collection of memorial addresses captures Derrida's relation to prominent French thinkers and his thoughts on some important themes - mourning, the gift of death , time, memory and friendship.
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.