New PDF release: Adieu to Emmanuel Levinas

By Jacques Derrida

This quantity includes the speech given by means of Derrida at Emmanuel Levinas's funeral on December 27, 1995, and his contribution to a colloquium geared up to mark the 1st anniversary of Levinas's dying. For either thinkers, the be aware adieu names a primary attribute of man or woman: the salutation or benediction ahead of all constative language (in yes situations, you could say adieu in the meanwhile of assembly) and that given for the time being of separation, occasionally ceaselessly, as in the mean time of loss of life, it's also the a-dieu, for God or to God earlier than and in any relation to the opposite.

In this booklet, Derrida extends his paintings on Levinas in formerly unexplored instructions through an intensive rereading of Totality and Infinity and different texts, together with the lesser-known talmudic readings. He argues that Levinas, particularly in Totality and Infinity, bequeaths to us an "immense treatise of hospitality," a meditation at the welcome provided to the opposite. The conjunction of an ethics of natural prescription with the assumption of an enormous and absolute hospitality confronts us with the main urgent political, juridical, and institutional issues of our time. What, then, is an ethics and what's a politics of hospitality? And what, if it ever is, will be a hospitality surpassing any ethics and any politics we know?

As continually, Derrida increases those questions within the such a lot specific of phrases, relocating from side to side among philosophical argument and the political dialogue of immigration legislation, peace, the nation of Israel, xenophobia—reminding us with each circulation that pondering isn't really a question of neutralizing abstraction, yet a gesture of hospitality for what occurs and nonetheless may perhaps occur.

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6 If I was tempted to underscore the word hospitality in this sentence, I must now-so as to efface it-go back on this pedagogical or rhetorical concern. For all the concepts that are opposed to "thematization" are at once synony­ mous and of equal value. None of them should be privi­ leged, and thus underscored. Before going any further in the interpretation of this proposition, we should note what silently justifies such an apposition. It seems to fol­ Iow a sort of elan, content simply to unfold, to explicate.

Although the word is neither frequently used nor emphasized within it, Totality and In­ finity bequeaths to us an immense treatise of hospitality. This is borne out less by the occurrences of the word "hospitality,-" which are, in fact, rather rare, than by the links and discursive logic that lead to this vocabulary of hospitality. In the concluding pages, for example, hospi­ tality becomes the very name of what opens itself to the face, or, more precisely, of what "welcomes" it. The face always lends itself to a welcome, and the welcome wel­ comes only a face, the face that should be our theme to­ day, but that, as we know from reading Levinas, must elude all thematization.

During the same period, in Time and the Other, 34 an analysis of sexual difference (which Levinas insistently re­ minds us is not one difference among others, one type or species of the genre "difference": neither a contradiction nor a complementarity) leads to analogous propositions. The feminine is a "mode of being that consists in slipping away from the light," a "flight before light," a "way of ex­ isting" in the "hiding" of modesty. A Word of Welcome 41 If these remarks of 1947 in effect announce Totality and Infinity (19 61), Levinas will revisit certain of these propo­ sitions many years later, in 19 8 5 .

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Adieu to Emmanuel Levinas by Jacques Derrida


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