Jacques Derrida


A long time professor of philosophy at the Ecole Normale Supériecure in Paris, Derrida's work influenced post-structural literary criticism, and his ideas were instrumental in the formulation of a new school of criticism: "deconstruction." His work is based on the idea that there is no secure ground or center, that there is no transcendental signified.

Derrida embraces "a world of signs without fault, without truth and without origin, which is offered to our active intepretation." Because "language bears wthin itself the necessity of its own critique," all text undermines any claim of determined meaning. The reader produces meaning through semantic "freeplay."

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