No abstract is available for this content at the moment. But in the French philosopher Jacques Derrida reminded us that the spectre of Marx would not dissipate so easily. It turns out he was right. Jacques Derrida Specters of Marx The State of the Debt, the Work of .. of the first act: “Ein Gespenst geht urn in Europa-das Gespenst des Kommunismus.

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Thus, it is assigned by who what came before him. But how to distinguish between the analysis that gespwnster magic and the counter-magic that it still risks being? And what if this double register condensed its enigma, precisely gezpenster, and potentialized its superpower in that which gives its unheard-of force to Hamlet’s words: Even if these languages seem to converge toward the same end, they could not be retranslated into each other, and their heterogeneity, the divergence or gap, the distance that decenters them, ren- ders them non-contemporaneous.

I A magisterial locution, all the same–or for that very reason.

Editions of Specters of Marx by Jacques Derrida

I am speaking of a troubling effect of “deja vu, and even of a certain “toujours deja vu. The specter was there but what is the being-there of a specter? When the State emits paper money at a fixed rate, its intervention is compared to “magic” Magie that transmutes paper into gold. The ghostly would displace itself like the movement of this history Haunting would mark the very existence of Europe.

Let us consider first of all, the radical and necessary heterogeneity of an inheritance, the difference without opposition that has to mark it, a “disparate” and a quasi-juxtaposition without dialectic the very plural of what we will later call Marx’s spirits.

HAU Hebbel am Ufer

But since this sums up perhaps the strange subject of this lecture devoted to the specters of Marx, as well as the avowed distortion of its axiom, permit me then to turn the objection around. How has the crisis in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union affected the way intellectuals, scholars, and government officials in those countries and around the world reconceive their intellectual and political projects?


And yet, keeping this in mind and having recourse to a common noun, I recall that it is a communist as such, a communist as communist, whom a Polish emigrant and his accomplices, all the assassins of Chris Hani, put to death a few days ago, April 10th. It is a matter, then, but as always, of a novel form of war. It becomes, rather, some “thing” that remains difficult to name: It can never be always present, it can be, only.

Just how far can its idiom be translated moreover? I knew very well there was a ghost waiting there, and from the opening, from the raising of the curtain. Marx loves the words of this imprecation. The communist voice is always at once tacit and violent, political and scholarly, direct, indirect, total and fragmentary, lengthy and almost instantaneous.

But what is work? Can the extremity of the extreme ever he comprehended? But the here-now does not fold back into immediacy, or into the reappropriable identity of the present, even less that of self- presence.

On the contrary, heterogeneity opens things up, it lets itself be opened up by the very effraction of that which unfurls, comes, and remains to come-singularly from the other.

This dimension of performative interpretation, that is, of an interpretation that transforms the very thing it interprets, will play an indispensable role in what I would like to say this even- ing.

But maintaining now [maintenant] without conjuncture. More than ever, for the future-to-come can announce itself as such and in its purity only on the basis of a past end: I would like to learn to live finally. For it is flesh and phenomenality that give to the spirit its spectral apparition, but which disappear right away in the apparition, in the very coming of the revenant or the return of the specter.


It is only a specter, seemed to say these allies of old Europe so as to reassure themselves; let’s hope that in the future it does not become an actual, effectively present, manifest, non-secret reality.

Reading Condillac Glas Spurs: Inventions of the Other Vol. By charging or conjuring him to speak, Horatio wants to inspect, stabilize, arrest the specter in its speech: There is then some spirit. We will call this the visor effect: The passage of this time of the present comes from the future to go toward the past, toward the going of the gone [l’en aue] Das Weilen ist der Ubergang aus KunEt zu Derriva.

I2 This is a rather risky translation: It was dreaded as communism to come. We do not know whether it is or is not part of the spectral apparition.

Cover of the first edition. It wants to be and it must be in effect. We ought to try to understand together, to adjoin. More precisely by the waiting for this apparition. The “Marxist” who will engender what for a long time is going to prevail under the name of “Marxism. In Octoberin an environment charged by such ques- tions, several of us began a conversation at the University of California, at Riverside’s Center for Ideas and SOCiety, about what it might be like to have a conference which would not consist of yet another autopsy administered mostly by Anglo- phone economists and policy analysts who typically were and are very far from the sites of struggle and transformation.

Here again what seems to be out front, the future, comes back in advance: