Trembling between two types of Readers

"This may be an adequate description of what I try to do, namely: to construct texts in such a way that by dint of their neutralized communication, theses, and stabilities or contents, and by dint of the neutralization also of their microstructure of meaning, the reader and finally oneself is in the grips of a certain trembling, a new bodily oscillation, so that in the end a new realm of experience is prised open. And this is why some readers react to my text in words such as these: 'In the end, we understand nothing, we can draw no conclusions from what you say.' And many confess: 'Oh, we don't understand this, it's too complex, and one cannot understand it, finally we still don't know whether you agree with Nietzsche in the question of woman or not. We don't get what's behind the text, what its results or its general conclusions are. This is too brutal and destructive, and we have no way of knowing what kind of person you are and where you want to lead us.' At the same time, other readers, people who are perhaps not as prepared for this reading, at least no readers of Husserl or Nietzsche, who therefore read my texts barbarically, naively, as it were, are much more receptive to the trembling of the text, the text-effect that in the end has to do with the body, the readers' body or even my body. From this sense-less text or this microstructure of meaning, they draw an experience which I consider valuable. They are much more open for what I do, more accessible than by comparison those cultivated and hypercultivated people - often we meet both reactions. So readers should be either hyperdifferentiated or not learned at all, and this has to do with their experience of the other, and it has to do with how the other is construed [...]"

Jacques Derrida, "Philosophie und Literatur", Orte des Denkens, eds. Ackermann, Raiser, Uffelmann, Vienna 1995, p. 173-200, tr. into English from the German version (tr. into German by Dirk Uffelmann from the Russian notes of the interlocutors and the English tape recorded in February 1990); see also Derrida v Moskve, Moscow 1992. French version of this conversation in Moscou aller-retour (Ed. de l'Aube, Saint-Etienne), published May 1995. This "Entretien avec JD" is the appendix entitled "Philosophie et Litterature" (some 50 pages). The main part of the French book is the French version of "Back from Moscow, in the USSR", a 100 pages long essay by Derrida written for UC Irvine just after his return from Moscow; German version in Postmoderne und Politik, ed. Jutta Georg-Lauer. Tübingen 1992, p. 9-55.

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