The End of the BookDerrida, Jacques, and Barry Stocker. Jacques Derrida: Basic Writings. London ; New York: Routledge, This problem has to do with how we now Note: this was published in use the term too loosely. As the chapter title suggests, Derrida is looking at the end of writing in reference to the book, since the book is a finite, limited, set collection of words and pages.
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A book is a discrete physical object, with a finite set of words arranged on a finite number of pages. The experience of reading a book, however, is infinite and unique for each individual. The words in a book extend infinitely inward into the mind of the reader, and infinitely outward as the book is cited, written about, and smeared across the rest of human existence. Language and the idea of writing , unlike a book, have no boundaries. Can an infinite language, with infinite signified, do anything but devolve into meaninglessness? Does Derrida have the answer? In our world, writing is slowly overtaking speech parole —for what reason is not really important—as the nexus of meaning.
In Of Grammatology , Jacques Derrida equates the culture of The Book with logocentrism , the belief in a signifier which is both outside of structure, and hence beyond scrutiny or challenge, and at the very centre, providing it with a central point of reference that anchors meaning. God, Man, the Imagination--these are only some of the names which the west has ascribed to its need for a transcendental signified which would fix truth to some point outside of language. Logocentrism has "always assigned the origin of truth in general to the logos; history of truth, of the truth of truth, has always been [ However, for Derrida, the epoch of The Book and its logocentric suppression of the free-play of signification, that is of writing itself, "seems to be approaching what is really its own exhaustion " 8 :. These historical shifts have been concomitant with, and indeed have paved the way for, the advent of electronic hypertext. They signal not simply the demise of the bookmark industry or relief from the dangers of papercuts, but a way of thinking about the way we organize, conceive and imagine the world in which we live.
The End of the Book and the Beginning of Writing. The Program. The Signifier and Truth. The vVritten Being/The Being Written. 2. Linguistics and Grammatology.
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