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Jacques Derrida (Routledge Critical Thinkers) [Paperback]

Nicholas Royle
3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
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Book Description

13 Mar 2003 Routledge Critical Thinkers
There are few figures more important in literary and critical theory than Jacques Derrida. Whether lauded or condemned, his writing has had far-reaching ramifications, and his work on deconstruction cannot be ignored. This volume introduces students of literature and cultural studies to Derrida's enormously influential texts, covering such topics as: deconstruction, text and difference; literature and freedom; law, justice and the 'democracy to come'; drugs, secrets and gifts. Nicholas Royle's unique book, written in an innovative and original style, is an outstanding introduction to the methods and significance of Jacques Derrida.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge (13 Mar 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0415229316
  • ISBN-13: 978-0415229319
  • Product Dimensions: 19.8 x 16.1 x 1.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 181,048 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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'Royle has the admirable gift of rendering the most difficult material accessible to students ... he can make it exciting to them, inspiring them to read more.' - Critical and Cultural Theory

About the Author

Nicholas Royle is Professor of English and American Studies at the University of Sussex. He is Joint Editor of the Oxford Literary Review and author of several influential texts. His recent publications include Deconstructions: A User's Guide and The Uncanny: An Introduction.

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Customer Reviews

3.4 out of 5 stars
3.4 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars it lets you think 29 Nov 2003
By A Customer
If you want to feel what Derrida and deconstruction are like, this book is for you.
Always clear and rigorous, Royle cuts to the chase and writes with an immediate, infectious pleasure in thinking and reading. Beginners, the half-interested and long-term fans of Derrida will all find much that is new to them here: Royle is extremely well-informed about Derrida - he's read the lot, and reports accurately on areas of Derrida's work that more workaday accounts seem barely aware of. He explains specialist terms like 'supplement' and 'differance' with a sense not just of what they mean but of why they matter and where they might go.
Lastly, what's really special about this book for me is the way Royle writes. The words are ones we use and live in, but in his hands funnier, stranger, more moving, more alive than ever.
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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Constructing Derrida... 1 Feb 2004
By Kurt Messick HALL OF FAME
Nicholas Royle's text on Jacques Derrida is part of a recent series put out by the Routledge Press, designed under the general editorial direction of Robert Eaglestone (Royal Holloway, University of London), to explore the most recent and exciting ideas in intellectual development during the past century or so. To this end, figures such as Martin Heidegger, Sigmund Freud, Friedrich Nietzsche, Paul Ricoeur, and other influential thinkers in critical thought are highlighted in the series, planned to include at least 21 volumes in all.
Royle's text, following the pattern of the others, includes background information on Derrida and its significance, the key ideas and sources, and Derrida's continuing impact on other thinkers. As the series preface indicates, no critical thinker arises in a vacuum, so the context, influences and broader cultural environment are all important as a part of the study, something with which Derrida might agree.
Why is Derrida included in this series? It is hard to come up with a more wide-ranging and influential thinker in the twentieth century than Jacques Derrida. While starting out in the literary field as a primary focus, his thought and intellectual influence has extended far beyond to almost every academic field. Particularly in the areas of philosophy, politics, law, theology, sociology, psychology and science, Derrida's influence will continue to be significant for a number of reasons.
Royle's text is very interesting, as I knew it would be from the start, but one of the truly surprising aspects of this text was that it was fun to read. From the very first page, when I saw that the first comment on the text was from Derrida himself, I knew that inside there would be creativity and humour, pieces of interest and insight.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars an excellent, illuminating book 7 July 2009
This is a fantastic book for anyone keen to get under the skin of Derrida. Unlike some introductory 'guides' it does not try to simplify its subject in a way which would not be in keeping, but rather illuminates and makes accessible the work of a complex thinker. It's creatively written, engaging and passionate about its subject matter. As such, this book is an invitation to be taken along on an adventure in thought. Having read it, one has the sense of really having learned something, and is reminded of what a pleasure such learning can be.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars challenging, but not without some reward 1 April 2010
There are some things this book does excellently, I'll list these as pro's,


> The book gives thorough attention to derrida's vast catalogue of works, quoting from his short essays and major texts alike throughout to illustrate the points made.

> Royle has an excellent sense of humour (as does Derrida) which lights up a fair few pages in this book.

> The book constantly draws attention to itself, it gives no illusion of presenting a 'true' Derrida, but rather 'Royle's Derrida'. Texts are open and when we read them, we interpret them in our own style. I enjoyed its constant playfulness, where it both attempted to conform and rebel against the set structure of the 'critical thinkers' series it is a part of.

> It hasn't put me off reading Derrida, in fact its made works such as 'positions', 'spectres of marx' and 'of grammatology' seem more relevant to me and I intend to grapple those texts in the near future.

> It sets out the key ideas well, whilst challenging the very notion of 'key ideas'. Notions such as differance, the supplement and deconstruction are outlined and explored with examples, without being set in stone, fixing a singular meaning to such notions, e.g. deconstruction has a multiplicity of meanings, ranging from 'a coming to terms with literature' through to 'the experience of the impossible'. Through these notions, Royle illustrates how Derrida highlights the instablitiy, the very unfixablity of a meaning to any given term in language, and any meaning perscribed to a given text.
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