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January 29, 2018

Class of 1978 Pavilion in the Kislak Center
6th Floor of Van-Pelt Library

We will be welcoming Juliet Fleming for a talk entitled: “Of Grammatology as a Local Science.” Juliet writes:

Derrida’s work offers practical as well as theoretical justification for the position that the question of writing both precedes and overtakes book history.  ‘The question of writing could be opened only if the book was closed,’ he claimed in Writing and Difference; while as he later reminded Henri Ronse ‘in what you call my books, what is first of all put into question is the unity of the book and the unity “book” [as a concept]’.  Nevertheless, Derrida remained fascinated by the question of the book as one with which he would never be done: ‘did we not know that the closure of the book was not a simple limit among others?  And that only in the book, coming back to it unceasingly, drawing all our resources from it, could we indefinitely designate the writing beyond the book?’ (WD. 371) I will take the opportunity of this seminar to rehearse and further the argument of my recent book -- that Derrida deserves to be better known as a historian of the book.   Juliet Fleming is Professor of English at New York University.  A literary theorist and reluctant book historian, she is the author of Graffiti and the Writing Arts of Early Modern England (2001) and Cultural Graphology: Writing After Derrida (2016); and the editor with Bill Sherman and Adam Smyth of The Renaissance Collage: Towards a New History of Reading (2015).