Monday, June 15, 2015
In NDPR, N. Gabriel Martin reviews David Farrell Krell's Phantoms of the Other: Four Generations of Derrida's Geschlecht.
The ghosts that haunt David Farrell Krell's new book are never summoned. What manifests this book is a twin haunting: first, the ghost of a text never written by Derrida, which would have concerned Heidegger's discussions of the poetry of Georg Trakl (especially "Language in the Poem"); second, the phantoms of the other, which haunt Heidegger's philosophy. Krell's spectral inspiration is never allowed to take on corporeal form, in part due to his respect for Derrida's injunction not to circulate or even cite the incomplete typescript Derrida shared with him. The phantom is also glimpsed in Derrida's lecture course, "Nationalité et Nationalisme Philosophiques: le Fantôme de l'Autre", which Krell supposes "was most likely the course that Derrida had been transcribing in the typescript". This unborn text is Derrida's missing "Geschlecht" -- the missing generation (Geschlecht) of Derrida's essays on the differences denied ontological significance by Heidegger -- that haunts the interval between the second ("Heidegger's Hand"), and the "fourth" ("Heidegger's Ear: Philopolemology"]). The first is "Geschlecht: Sexual Difference, Ontological Difference". In addition to the chapters devoted to the typescript and the lecture course, the book includes: a chapter on Of Spirit; chapters on each of the three extant "Geschlecht" essays; a more wide-ranging chapter on Trakl's poetry and biography, especially his close relationship with his sister Gretl; and helpful appendices consisting of Krell's own translations of a selection of Trakl's poems.
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