Cultural GraphologyWriting After Derrida

Cultural GraphologyWriting After Derrida

Juliet Fleming

Print publication date: 2017

ISBN: 9780226390420

Publisher: University of Chicago Press

Abstract

In the late 1960s Derrida speculated that “Cultural Graphology” could be the name of a new human science, a discipline combining psychoanalysis, deconstruction, and a commitment to the topic of writing. He never undertook the project himself, but he did leave two brief sketches of how he thought cultural graphology might proceed. This book picks up where Derrida left off. Using his early thought and the psychoanalytic texts to which it is addressed to examine printed books in early modern England, it argues that the single most important lesson to survive from Derrida’s early work is that we do not know what writing is. It demonstrates the consequence of this thought for a new history of the book and a new theory of literature. Taking the topic of writing in the four areas that Derrida suggested might be the founding locales of cultural graphology, and putting these into conversation with early modern texts, it proposes radical deformations to the meanings of fundamental and apparently simple terms such as “error,” “letter,” “surface,” and “cut”.