Derrida’s Margins: Inside the personal library of Jacques Derrida

downloadDerrida’s Margins: Inside the personal library of Jacques Derrida

For Jacques Derrida (1930-2004), reading was an active process: he read texts by thinkers like Rousseau, Heidegger, Lévi-Strauss, Hegel, and Husserl with a writing utensil in hand.  As Derrida affirmed in a late interview, the books in his personal library bear the “traces of the violence of pencil strokes, exclamation points, arrows, and underlining.”

Derrida’s Margins invites scholars to investigate these markings while unpacking the library contained within each of Derrida’s published works, beginning with the landmark 1967 text De la grammatologie (Of Grammatology).  Additional Derrida works will be added as the project continues.

The website catalogues each reference (quotation, citation, footnote, etc.) in De la grammatologie and allows users to explore Derrida’s personal copies of the texts he cites. Due to copyright restrictions, only annotated pages corresponding to references in De la grammatologie are shown here; users may also view external images of each book as well as images of the numerous insertions (post-it notes, bookmarks, calendar pages, index cards, correspondence, notes, etc.) Derrida tipped in to his books.

The website includes the following sections, accessible via the links in the four corners of this page: Derrida’s Library, where users may browse or search Derrida’s copies of the books referenced in De la grammatologieReference List, where users may browse or search the nearly one thousand references to other texts found in the pages of De la grammatologie; Interventions, where users may browse or search Derrida’s annotations, marginalia, and markings that correspond to the references in De la grammatologie; and Visualization, which provides users with alternative ways of exploring the references in De la grammatologie.  Users may search a particular section or the entire site at any time by using the search field at the top of every page.  

The Library of Jacques Derrida is housed at Princeton University Library’s Rare Books and Special Collections.

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4 Responses to Derrida’s Margins: Inside the personal library of Jacques Derrida

  1. Janet Abbey says:

    Since #Baudrillard did not include indexes in his books I began to make my own. I have continued this for all the years since then. All my copies have my own index even when there is one as I want my own thinking in a particular place.

    • stuartelden says:

      That’s interesting. I think that there are all sorts of reading and note-taking strategies which are followed, and what works for one doesn’t work for others. I don’t write in my books, partly because if I return to a book later with different questions I want to read it afresh, not swayed by my previous reading.

  2. Pingback: Reblog> Derrida’s Margins: Inside the personal library of Jacques Derrida – Spatial Machinations

  3. Andrew says:

    I write indices in my books too when they don’t have them, or add terms I need to the ones with them. What is interesting about Derrida, and French scholarship more generally, is that lots of the most interesting references are implicit, and not cited. I’m not sure how the Margins project has approached this yet – I’ll have to have a look.

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