front cover of Laszlo Moholy-Nagy
Laszlo Moholy-Nagy
Biographical Writings
Louis Kaplan
Duke University Press, 1995
Marking the centenary of the birth of Laszlo Moholy-Nagy (1895–1946), this book offers a new approach to the Bauhaus artist and theorist’s multifaceted life and work—an approach that redefines the very idea of biographical writing.
In Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, Louis Kaplan applies the Derridean deconstructivist model of the "signature effect" to an intellectual biography of a Constructivist artist. Inhabiting the borderline between life and work, the book demonstrates how the signature inscribed by "Moholy" operates in a double space, interweaving signified object and signifying matter, autobiography and auto-graphy. Through interpretative readings of over twenty key artistic and photographic works, Kaplan graphically illustrates Moholy’s signature effect in action. He shows how this effect plays itself out in the complex of relations between artistic originality and plagiarism, between authorial identity and anonymity, as well as in the problematic status of the work of art in the age of technical reproduction. In this way, the book reveals how Moholy’s artistic practice anticipates many of the issues of postmodernist debate and thus has particular relevance today. Consequently, Kaplan clarifies the relationship between avant-garde Constructivism and contemporary deconstruction.
This new and innovative configuration of biography catalyzed by the life writing of Moholy-Nagy will be of critical interest to artists and writers, literary theorists, and art historians.

front cover of The Late Derrida
The Late Derrida
Edited by W. J. T. Mitchell and Arnold I. Davidson
University of Chicago Press, 2007

The rubric “The Late Derrida,” with all puns and ambiguities cheerfully intended, points to the late work of Jacques Derrida, the vast outpouring of new writing by and about him in the period roughly from 1994 to 2004. In this period Derrida published more than he had produced during his entire career up to that point. At the same time, this volume deconstructs the whole question of lateness and the usefulness of periodization. It calls into question the “fact” of his turn to politics, law, and ethics and highlights continuities throughout his oeuvre.

The scholars included here write of their understandings of Derrida’s newest work and how it impacts their earlier understandings of such classic texts as Glas and Of Grammatology. Some have been closely associated with Derrida since the beginning—both in France and in the United States—but none are Derrideans. That is, this volume is a work of critique and a deep and continued engagement with the thought of one of the most significant philosophers of our time. It represents a recognition that Derrida’s work has yet to be addressed—and perhaps can never be addressed—in its totality.


front cover of Life Death
Life Death
Jacques Derrida
University of Chicago Press, 2020
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.”

front cover of Limited Inc
Limited Inc
Jacques Derrida
Northwestern University Press, 1988
Limited Inc is a major work in the philosophy of language by the celebrated French thinker Jacques Derrida. The book's two essays, "Limited Inc" and "Signature Event Context," constitute key statements of the Derridean theory of deconstruction. They are the clearest exposition to be found of Derrida's most controversial idea, that linguistic meaning is fundamentally indeterminate because the contexts that fix meaning are never stable. Limited Inc includes an important new afterword by the author.

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