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Tropics of Desire: Freud and Derrida

Tropics of Desire: Freud and Derrida 138 Tropics of Desire: Freud and Derrida CYNTHIA WILLETT The University of Kansas In an essay entitled "To Speculate-on `Freud,"' collected in The Post Card, Derrida entertains the hypothesis of a death wish as proposed by Freud in his Beyond the Pleasure Principle.' There Freud toys with the possibility of a drive towards death as fundamental to human psychology as the already estab- lished drive for pleasure. The ambiguities in Freud's text have given rise to diverse interpretations of the psychoanalytic project. Derrida's essay, however, resists the temptation of offering yet another reading of Freud and instead traces what in Freud's text is, for structural reasons, illegible. In particular, Derrida turns, not to implicit or explicit theses of Beyond the Pleasure Principle, but to what he calls the "scene" of Freud's writing. Derrida argues that this scene testifies to a force that is more originary than pleasure- seeking desire. This more originary force does not simply oppose desire as would a drive towards death. On the contrary, such a force precedes and renders possible the opposition between dismembering death and the uni- fying urges of desire. Derrida names this fundamental force 'life death'. Life death disperses desire from http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Research in Phenomenology Brill

Tropics of Desire: Freud and Derrida

Research in Phenomenology , Volume 22 (1): 138 – Jan 1, 1992

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Publisher
Brill
Copyright
© 1992 Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands
ISSN
0085-5553
eISSN
1569-1640
DOI
10.1163/156916492X00124
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

138 Tropics of Desire: Freud and Derrida CYNTHIA WILLETT The University of Kansas In an essay entitled "To Speculate-on `Freud,"' collected in The Post Card, Derrida entertains the hypothesis of a death wish as proposed by Freud in his Beyond the Pleasure Principle.' There Freud toys with the possibility of a drive towards death as fundamental to human psychology as the already estab- lished drive for pleasure. The ambiguities in Freud's text have given rise to diverse interpretations of the psychoanalytic project. Derrida's essay, however, resists the temptation of offering yet another reading of Freud and instead traces what in Freud's text is, for structural reasons, illegible. In particular, Derrida turns, not to implicit or explicit theses of Beyond the Pleasure Principle, but to what he calls the "scene" of Freud's writing. Derrida argues that this scene testifies to a force that is more originary than pleasure- seeking desire. This more originary force does not simply oppose desire as would a drive towards death. On the contrary, such a force precedes and renders possible the opposition between dismembering death and the uni- fying urges of desire. Derrida names this fundamental force 'life death'. Life death disperses desire from

Journal

Research in PhenomenologyBrill

Published: Jan 1, 1992

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