Read After Burning, I pray You, or la carte posthume



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Aristotle made a distinction between Chresmatics and Economics. The latter comes from oikonomia, which, in turn, comes from oikonomos, a compound word from oikos (house) and nomos (managing). If A buys a piece of land and sells it at a profit later without doing any thing to improve it, that is part of Chresmatics. If A plants new trees in the land and sells it for a profit, that is part of Economics. The financial sector, to a great extent belongs to Chresmatics. The debate on regulation will be made more meaningful if we can separate Chresmatics from Economics. Sad to say the standard text books, or even dictionaries, do not mention Chresmatics. It is time we took a critical look at the fundamentals of economics. Ethics, politics, and economics are irrevocably connected After all, Adam Smith was professor of moral philosophy when he wrote his Wealth of Nations.

http://www.ambassador-fabian.com/index.php/2009/10/04/aristotle-vs-greenspan


8 ‘I was in the act of writing to you,’ said she, ‘but now my scrawl may go in the basket;’ and she raised the sheet of gilded note paper from her desk as though to tear it.‘Indeed it shall not,’ said he, laying the embargo of half a stone weight of human flesh and blood upon the devoted paper. ‘Nothing that you write for my eyes, signora, shall be so decorated,’ and he took up the letter, put that also among the carrots and fed on it, and then proceeded to read it.

‘Gracious me! Mr. Slope,’ said she, ‘I hope you don’t mean to say that you keep all the trash I write to you. Half my time I don’t know what I write, and when I do, I know it is only fit for the back of the fire. I hope you have not that ugly trick of keeping letters.

‘At any rate, I don’t throw them into a waste-paper basket. If destruction is their doomed lot, they perish worthily and are burnt in a pyre, as Dido was of old.

Oxford World Classics, Intro and Notes, John Sutherland, 1996; Ed. Michael Sadleir and Frederick Page, 1953), Part one, chapter 27, “A Love Scene,” p. 272. Examples of posthumously burned letters in literature may be easily multiplied. The most famous is Henry James’s The Aspern Papers.




9 Derrida frequently attended (frequently enough to become recognizable as a strategy or gambit) to what he regards as “omissions.” Here is how Derrida describes it Freud’s omission of Socrates in Beyond the Pleasure Principle in the second chapter of The Post Card, “Speculations on ‘Freud’”: Freud omits the scene of the text . . . It is the great omission. . . To omit Socrates, when one writes, is not to omit just anything or anyone. . . The omission is not a murder, of course, let us not overdramatize. . . If Freud in turn erases Socrates . . 374

Two pages earlier, Derrida writes about the manner of reading for fragments:

Now, in the time of this performance, Aristophanes’ discourse represents only one episode. Freud is barely interested in this fact, and he retains only those shards of a fragment which appear pertinent to his own hypothesis, to what he says he means. One again, he sets himself to relating a piece of a piece of a narrative related in the Symposium.

Derrida carefully then excuses Freud on the grounds that everyone does it, omit, erase, that is:

This is a habitual operation. Who does not do it? And the question is no one of approving or disapproving in the name of the law. Of what law? Beyond any criteria or legitimation, we can nevertheless attempt to understand what is going on in a putting to perspective, in a reading, in a writing, in citations, liftings, omission, suspensions, etc. To do this, one must also make the relation to the object vary. Post Card, 372

the omission in Memoirs of the Blind. spirit in Heidegger in Of Spirit




10 On Derrida’s essay “The Two Deaths of Roland Barthes,” see Pysche: Invention of the Other, Vol 1. Trans Peggy Kamuf. Stanford UP, 2007. A number of essays Derrida wrote upon the deaths of friends were athered together in an English book The Work of Mourning. This thematic or generic grouping is exceeded, however, by Derrida’s differing ways in which he discussed, sometime more htna once, an author’s works after death. First and last essay of Roland Barthes strategy is used elsewhere for a living author. In the middle for Foucault is used for Freud. Maurice Blanchot is dead appears in Beast and Sovereign and second edition of Parages, a book almost entirely about Blanchot but which does not name Blanchot in the title or chapter titles. Neither translation refers ot the other. Death or deaths did not organize even if they sometimes occasioned, Derrida’s works with respect to the subject being posthumous or not. On the many paratextual oddities of The Work of Mourning, see Burt, “Putting Your Papers in order. Derida’s dedication of Artaud le moma to paul Thevelin (in memory). Dedication as epitaph.

11 Jacques Derrida, “Envois,” Post Card, 199

12 Now here is the most ingenious finding: what remains a typographical error two out of three times in given Écrits [Derrida does not specify the editions or given the relevant page numbers] becomes [François] Roustang’s “slip,” Roustang having contented himself, somewhat quickly it is true, with reproducing the ur-typo, everyone including its author, turning all around that which must not be read.Whose name I can say because he is dead”

Du Tout,” C, 519





13 “For the Love of Lacan,” 47 and 121n3. The headnote accompanying reprinting of this essay, originally published as part of the proceedigs of the colloquium, in the book Resistances of Psychoanlysis provides, as do some of the headnotes to The Post Card, some idiosyncracies. Headnotes are often anonymous. In Resistances of Psychoanlaysis, Derrida plays with indications of who wrote them. All three headnotes are unifromly preceded with the word “NOTE” in all capitals followed, but the first person pronouns used in each vary. In the first note, someone uses the plural “Our thanks” 119, and in the second note someone similarly writes “we thank” but then Derrida identifies himself as the writer by using the singular first person pronoun “I.” This variation would ordinarily be considered unworthy of notice, even if Derrida writes a title “I writes us” in The Post Card. In Resistnaces, it becomes noticeable though not necessarily readable only because Derrida devotes nearly two pages of the republished lecture to the use of “we” after citing a sentence he might say hypothetically “You see, I think that we loved each other very much, you see.” Derrida focuses on what it means to say “’We’ when speaking all alone of the death of the other” (42): “It is always an ‘I’ who utters ‘we’ supposing thereby, in effect, the asymmetrical strucutre of the utterance, the other to be absent, dead, in any case, incompetent, or even arriving too late to object. . . . If there is some ‘we’ in being-with, it is because there is always one who speaks all alonein the name of the other, from the other; there is always one of htem who lives longe. I will not hasten to call this one the ‘subject.’ When we are with someone, we know without delay that one ofus will survive the other” (43). The asynchronic relation between these remarks about first person pronouns and death in the text and the use of “we” and then “I” in the headnote allows for, perhaps even invites a reading of the “note” that and its placement at the head of the endnotes.

14 For variations on the compound word, “auto / bio / thanato / graphy,” see The Post Card, 273, 293, 298, 302, 303, 322, 323, 328, 333, 356.

15

16 By “all writings are posthumous,” Derrida presumably means that all writing is like the signature as defined in “Signature, Event, Context.” (your signature will operates even after you are dead; to sign is to be dead). Like “I posthume I breathe.” Like the ruin in Memoirs of the Blind. Again a para-Freudian reading of blndness, mistakes, castation, and convresion that logs into Derrida’s own previous readings of Freud’s essay “The Uncanny” while never mentioning Lacan.

17 Derrida continues: “Pascal was only thirty-one years old when he wrote and put into his clothing the posthumous paper we are deciphering and he must have kept for around eight years, as he dies in 1662, at “39 years and two months,” says his [elder] sister. . . This is how she presents and quotes this “little paper”: (Quote and comment on Pascal)Thus he made it appear, that he had no attachment to those he loved, for had he been capable of having one, it would indisputably have been to my sister; since she was undeniably the person in the world he loved most. But he carried it still further, for not only he had no attachment to any body, but he was absolutely against any body’s having one to him. . . . We afterwards perceived that this principle had entered very deep into his heart, for to the end he might always have presented it to his thoughts. He had it set down in his own handwriting, on a little piece of paper by itself, where these words. . . . (210; 211)

Gilberte Pascal Périer then justifies publication in her Life of Blaise Pascal by stating that she does not wish to solicit a desire for an a reading of the words on the paper as a last word, “for I am no ultimate end of any body” (211).




18 Jacques Derrida, The Beast and Sovereign, Vol. 2, 212. By chance, a letter from Timothy Bahti Derrida quotes at the beginning of the Seventh Session also went missing: The editors say “we found this letter neither in the typescript of the session nor in the Jacques Derrida archives at IMEC. The following extract in reproduced from a copy of the letter, which is dated February 23, 2003 [and written in French], as provided by its author” (Beast and Sovereign 2, 172n1).

19 The passages Derrida writes on Pascal I cited above are one of many “examples,” if one wanted to call them that and momentarily suspend the question of exemplarity, in which essays Derrida wrote under the heading of “autobiothanatographical” texts. The parchment within the parchment, the confusion of paper and parchment—which is lost and which is a copy—only one of two lost?

Resewing—is sewing a figure? Did the servant never see Pascal sewing the paper? Did he never help Pascal with the unsewing and sewing?

Drawing” the Line: The Graphic Design of Writing

In relation to publication lies another problem, and its relation to the support. The parergon has the same problem of the support as does publishing.

Cite Derrida on the material support as problem in The Post Card

Derrida and reproductions in The Post Card-which photographs are described, placement of reproductions, and so on. Eccentric as compared to The Truth in Painting or Memoirs of the Blind or “Unsensing the Subjectile” in Artaud or “Maddening the Subjectile” in “Boundaries: Writing and Drawing” YFS (1994) or Artaud le MOMA, to name a few. Derrida’s radical empiricism doesn’t get into drafts (though he does get into editions a bit, but not generally philology). Relation between reception, iteration, reproduction, and the material supports of both words and images and the boundary between them. No reproduction of the title pages of the two editions of Rouseau’s Confessions in Typewriter Ribbon, Ink 2: (within such limits). But reproduction of J.D. in signature, Event. Book on Derrida, posthumous, turning editions into images. What are the limits of reading materials for Derrida?


The boundary of writing and drawing, the parergon: it is both figurative and literal, a narrative frame, an “invisible” narrative frame, but also a frame of a painting, and related to paratext or signature or wall text. So what is excessive in relation to the line in Poe? When does the explicit become seeable? Memoirs of the Blind? When does the line becoming a drawing? What about the parergon as a facsimile, as a frontispiece, as a painting (Van Gogh) or a drawing (Adami), Restitutions and “Parergon” in The Truth of Painting. Does the parergon include the paratext?

Graphic design and drawing. Pun as sound activated by visual. Dessein and dessin

Drawing Between the Eye and the Hand: (On Rousseau) Bernard Vouilloux, Christine Cano and Peter Hallward Yale French Studies, No. 84, Boundaries: Writing & Drawing (1994), pp. 175-197.

Martine Reid and Nigel P. Turner “Editor's Preface: Legible/Visible
” Yale French Studies, No. 84, Boundaries: Writing & Drawing (1994), pp. 1-12



The Cutting Edge of Reading: Artists’ Books

by Renée Riese Hubert, Judd D. Hubert

Louis Aragon The adventures of Telemachus. Lincoln : University of translated and with an introduction by Renée Riese Hubert & Judd D. Hubert. Nebraska Press, c1988.

Renée Riese Hubert. Derrida, Dupin, Adami: "Il faut être plusieurs pour écrire" Yale French Studies, No. 84, Boundaries: Writing & Drawing (1994), pp. 242-264.

All Writing is Drawing: The Spatial Development of the Manuscript Serge Tisseron Yale French Studies, No. 84, Boundaries: Writing & Drawing (1994), pp. 29-42.

Jean-Gérard Lapacherie and Anna Lehmann Typographic Characters: Tension Between Text and Drawing Yale French Studies, No. 84, Boundaries: Writing & Drawing (1994), pp. 63-77.

Jacques Derrida and Mary Ann Caws Maddening the Subjectile
 Yale French Studies, No. 84, Boundaries: Writing & Drawing (1994), pp. 154-171.



20 For more on Derrida on the subjectile, see Paper Machine (2005)

21 SEE BRUCE FINKS’S ENDNOTE P. 767, (11, 3)

22 Poe Translations for "The Purloined Letter"This story features a lot of French and Latin. Here are some translations and explanations, listed by page number.

155 Nil sapientiae odiosius acumine nimio
Nothing is more odious to wisdom than guilefulness

au troisième....Germain
This is a street address

the affair of the Rue Morgue...murder of Marie Rogêt
Poe's earlier dectective stories

156 boudoir
a woman's bedroom, dressing room, or private sitting room

157 au fait
according to precedent (literally, to the fact)

158 gimlet-dust
waste wood left by a hand drill

161 Rochefoucauld, La Bougive, Machiavelli, Campanella
These are writers claiming human beings are motivated by self-interest

162 non distributio medii
The Latin name for a logical fallacy--in English, "the undistributed middle."
The error is this: All fools are poets. The Minister is a poet. Therefore, the 
Minister is a fool.

Il y à parièr...grand nombre
It appears that all popular ideas, all accepted conventions, are blunders 
because they have been shaped to suit the greatest number [of people].

ambitus...religio...homines homesti
Dupin's point is that the original Latin meanings of these words do not 
correspond with their English derivatives. Ambitus meant soliciting votes,
religio referred to fasting or connecting, and homines honesti signified
decent and respectable people.

166 facilis descensus Averni
from Virgil's Aeneid: It is easy to do down into hell [Avernus]

monstrum horrendum
a horrible monster

Un dessein si funeste...Thyeste
From Crébillon's play Atreus and Thyestes: If so lethal a plot is not worthy of
Atreus, it is worthy of Thyestes. [This refers to Greek mythology--see Course Content for a summary of the story.]

Fold 236


If there is no such thing as a total or proper meaning, it is because the blank folds-over. The fold is not an accident that happens to the blank. . . . The fold does not come upon it from outside it; it is the blank’s outside as well as its inside, the complication according to which the supplementary mark of the blank (the asemic spacing) applies itself to the set of white things (the full semantic entities) plus to itself, the fold of the veil, or text upon itself.

Dissemination, 258
I am rereading Beyond . . . with one hand (everything in it is marvelously hermetic, which is to say postal and trailing [trainant]—a subterrean railway, but also lame, trailing the leg behind: he tells us NOTHING, does not make a step that he does not take back at the next step. 140-41

Nothing works [Rien ne marche], but everything goes very fast, absolutely fast, in which this paralysis, which I know something about. 141

The post card or telethisthat, 113
And it will remain like that in a wallet 79

Run in circles, 63

When I have nothing to do in a public place, I photograph myself and with few exceptions burn myself. 37

“repetition compulsion” is understood even less, 35

“you are dead” 33

Want to write a grand history, a large encyclopedia of the post and of the cipher, but to write it ciphered still in order to dispatch it to you, taking all the precautions so that forever you are the only on to be able to decrypt it (to write, then, and to sign), to recognize your name, the unique name I have given you . . . 13


He was sure that his death would arrive in 1907. 241

Obviously when beneath my public signature they read these words they will have won out (over just what?) but . . . .238

The computers, the powers, the dupins and their bi-spoolarity (fort/da), the States, this is what I am assessing, or computing, what I am sorting out in order to defy all sorting out [tris]. 194

Teckne does not happen to language or to the poem, 192

I am losing the track, I no longer know to whom I am speaking, nor about what. The difficulty I would have about in sorting out this courier with the aim of publication is due, among other perils, to this one: you know that I do not believe in propriety, property, but above all in the form it takes according to the opposition public / private (p/p, so be it). 185

And I say ardently that I, let me, die. Or ardently, that this book is, let this book be, behind me. 198

I am rereading, sometimes sinking into tour immense memory, sometimes with the meticulous attention of he philologist. 200

I have more and more difficulty writing you. 200

The dos, 201

You were already dead ten times, 201

With Socrates, with my posthumous analyst of with you, for example, okay this is even what I say all the time. 201-02

Account of the professor and student lecture photograph, 202—we get no photo, just as didn’t get the photos of Freud and of Heidegger, each posing with his wife.

The fortune teller book reproductions are matched to account 211

Color reproduction socartes, in black and white on he cover and in the end paper, is on p. 251.

Everything would be destroyed 253

But the support itself, which I wanted to deliver naked, we will also burn. 252

I notice that in speaking of readers with you, I always call them people 253

That I burned the baby doll instead of taking it out on her. 252

Holocaust, 254

Another S.P., agreed . . . , but I would put my hand into the fire, it’s really the only one. For the rest, they will understand nothing of my clinamen, even if they are sure of everything, especially in that case, the worst one. Especially there where I speak, they will see only fire. On this subject, you know that Freud’s Sophie was cremated. 255

Each of them to the other; you were in league to have me destroyed, you conspired, you have covered al the trails, get out of it yourself. 244

Ophelia 254

Aporia 255

Proof, 255

Tomorrow I will write you again, in our foreign language. I won’t retain a word of it and n September, without my even having seen you again, you will burn

You will burn it, you, it has to be you. 256

But when the syngram has been published, he will no longer have anything to do with it, or with anyone—completely elsewhere-- the literary post will forward it by itself q.e.d. This has given me the wish, envie (that is indeed the word) to publish under my name things that are inconceivable, and above all unlivable, for me, thus abusing the “editorial” credit that I have been laboriously accumulating for years the to publish under my name things that are inconceivable with this sole aim in mind. 235



Prove it 235

Cable burial 236

Not to know how to burn 236

I read, 236

They can no longer read anything except the peforation (B A, B A, O A, OA, Ri, R I

).

Burned to a white heat, 239



When beneath my public signature they read these words 238

I now have the book on my table. I am rereading it.

So much for the fire 244

The end of the world by fire 245

After the fire 245

You’re right, I love you is not to be published. I should not shout it from the rooftops. 246

But I tell you again. Am keeping only a very brief sequence of our film, and only of the film, a copy, a copy of a copy, the thin black roll, hardly a veil. 246

But even though they cannot bear is what you know: that jogging is infinitely preferable to writing for publication: it never goes very far, it comes back in a close circuit, it plays like a child in its playpen: that jogging and writing for publication for me only a training with you in mind. 247

And knowing that I have understood nothing, that I will die without have [sic] understood anything. 247

Chemin, Weg, 247

A rebours, 247

You would not have liked it if I had collected your letters. 249

Not that I’m thinking about the fire 250

If I this, people are going to believe that I am inventing it for my compositional needs. 253

Between the preface and the three others, the phone calls will buzz like wasps in full transference. 239

If not by the end, and as they never read . . . Too bad. 240

We will no longer be able to 239 write each other, we will be too late.

As if it had an incipit, I am, then, opening this book. It was our agreement that I began it at the moment of the third ring.n1 p259

Let one refer to any of the aforementioned judgments—the impossibility of a resting point pulls the textual performance along into a singular thing.

I have abused this word, it hardly satisfies me. Drifting designates too continuous a movement, or rather too undifferentiated, too homogenous a movement that appears to travel away without saccade from a supposed origin, from a shore, a border, a coast with an invisible outlne.261

Those who remain will not know how to read, 249

Read this. It’s falling into place, 206

They cannot write to each right on the thing, right on the support, they cannot accumulate by writing to each on the subject of accumulation. 207 Derrida is speaking of stamp collectors.

The variety of the pub. In general. 233

In order to reassure themselves they say: deconstruction does not destroy

I’m not inventing anything 233

By virtue of you, I intrigue. Sending nothing to anyone, not anyone, I am fomenting a resurrection. Had you finally encountered him, Elijah? You were right nearby, you were burning. I had put you on the track and if because I love them too much I am not publishing your letter (which by all rights belongs to me). I will be accused of erasing you, or stifling you, or of keeping you silent. If I do publish them, they will accuse me of appropriating you for myself, of stealing of keeping the initiative, of exploiting the body of a woman, always the pimp, right? Ah Bettina, my love

And it


Will be even worse if I publish your letters under my name, signing in your place. Listen, Bettina, I will restore everything to you. 230-31

We were dead, 231

I no longer know what I am doing, and how I am “scratching,” if I am easing or writing and what I am “saving.” 229

Melina, K. 226

Who will prove, 234

Socrates “is taking notes for having in mind a project of publication in modern times. He is pretending to write but he has a small pocket tape recorder under his mantle. 218-19

Believe I am making it up, 217

Refound here the American student with whom we had coffee last Saturday, the one who was looking for a thesis subject (comparative literature), I suggested to her something on the telephone in literature of the 20th century (and beyond), starting with, for example, the telephone lady in Proust or the figure of the American operator, and then asking the question of the effects of the most advanced telematics on whatever would still remain of literature. I spoke to her about microprocessors and computer terminals, she seemed somewhat disgusted. She told me that she loved still literature (me too, I answered her, mais si, mais si). Curious to know what she understood by this. 204

(in the same way, the “log” that runs at the bottom of the pages of Derrida’s Parages is not, despite its position, a local note but is clearly an appendage to the text as a whole).

Genette, Paratexts, 336


Structure itself, the formal structure yields itself to reading, Post Card, 321

Dupes (duplicates, dummies)

Reengage materiality and so called book history in relation to the support, formal materiality, figures.

By the aid of a most powerful microscope. Had there been any traces of recent disturbance we should not have failed to detect it instantly.

Is the facsimile one kind of duplicate among others? Is it an exact copy of the inexact copy Dpupin discovers D—has hidden? Or its fold up? Unfolded—unlike Pascal, whose text is deleiver, but equallyunredable.

"No sooner had I glanced at this letter, than I concluded it to be that of which I was in search. To be sure, it was, to all appearance, radically different from the one of which the Prefect had read us so minute a description. Here the seal was large and black, with the D-- cipher; there it was small and red, with the ducal arms of the S-- family. Here, the address, to the Minister, was diminutive and feminine; there the superscription, to a certain royal personage, was markedly bold and decided; the size alone formed a point of correspondence. But, then, the radicalness of these differences, which was excessive; the dirt; the soiled and torn condition of the paper, so inconsistent with the true methodical habits of D--, and so suggestive of a design to delude the beholder into an idea of the worthlessness of the document; these things, together with the hyperobtrusive situation of this document, full in the view of every visitor, and thus exactly in accordance with the conclusions to which I had previously arrived; these things, I say, were strongly corroborative of suspicion, in one who came with the intention to suspect.


"I protracted my visit as long as possible, and, while I maintained a most animated discussion with the Minister, on a topic which I knew well had never failed to interest and excite him, I kept my attention really riveted upon the letter. In this examination, I committed to memory its external appearance and arrangement in the rack; and also fell, at length, upon a discovery which set at rest whatever trivial doubt I might have entertained. In scrutinizing the edges of the paper, I observed them to be more chafed than seemed necessary. They presented the broken appearance which is manifested when a stiff paper, having been once folded and pressed with a folder, is refolded in a reversed direction, in the same creases or edges which had formed the original fold. This discovery was sufficient. It was clear to me that the letter had been turned, as a glove, inside out, re-directed, and re-sealed. I bade the Minister good morning, and took my departure at once, leaving a gold snuff-box upon the table.

"The next morning I called for the snuff-box, when we resumed, quite eagerly, the conversation of the preceding day. While thus engaged, however, a loud report, as if of a pistol, was heard immediately beneath the windows of the hotel, and was succeeded by a series of fearful screams, and the shoutings of a mob. D-- rushed to a casement, threw it open, and looked out. In the meantime, I stepped to the card-rack, took the letter, put it in my pocket, and replaced it by a fac-simile, (so far as regards externals,) which I had carefully prepared at my lodgings; imitating the D-- cipher, very readily, by means of a seal formed of bread.

"But what purpose had you," I asked, in replacing the letter by a fac-simile? Would it not have been better, at the first visit, to have seized it openly, and departed?"

Edgar Allen Poe, “The Purloined Letter” (1845). In Edgar Allen Poe: Poetry and Tales. Ed. Patrick F. Quinn, Library of America, 1984, 696-97.

Everything I have to say about The Post Card—and beyond--will necessarily be either prolegomonal or paralipomenal--dupe

I have cited it elsewhere, but once more I reread the declaration of avoidance which performs the inevitable, 263

Footnote 268

Detour 269

Small footnote in the Letter to d’Alembert invokes the devil “in person, so to speak, and his apparition under the guise of the phantom of his double . . . 270

Here is the footnote I take as the exergue to my discourse 270

Then we must begin, at least, by pointing out in the hastily named “internal” reading the places that are

Here I break off these preliminary remarks 272 (started on p.259)

open to intersecting with other networks 273

Here, it seems to me, we must pay the greatest attention to Freud’s rhetoric. 279

Freud specifies between dashes 29

See elsewhere
I believe that it is better to erase all the pictures, all the other cards, the photos, the initials, the drawings, etc. The Oxford card is sufficient for everything. It has the iconographic power that one can expect in order to read or to have read the whole history, between us, the punctuated sequence of two years, from Oxford to Oxford, via two centuries or two millennia . . . 204

It’s a photograph by Erich Salomon. 205

Soetimes I wish that everything remain illegible for them—and also for you. To become absolutely unknowable for them. 205

Read this. It’s falling into place 206

Those that remain will not know how to read, they will go crazy. 249

When someone gives the order to fire, and to give the order is already to fire, everyone goes to it. 248

More or less, 248

I have just received the slide in color. 250

I remember only the celluloid baby doll that was aflame in two seconds 253

Nor it’s the project of “partial publication” that has become insupportable for me, not so much because of the publication—they will only be blinded by it--, as because the minute cross-section to which all of this should, for my part, give rise. I see him as a perverse copyist, seated for days in front of a correspondence, two years of voluble correspondence, busy transcribing a given passage, scratching out a given other one in order to prepare it for the fire, and he spends hours of knowledgeable philology sorting out what derives fro this or that, in order to deliver nothing to publicity, absolute nothing that might be proper (private, secret) in order to profane nothing, if that is possible. 182

Anything everything 183

Foreign language 183

I am reading the check that he is in the course of signing. 178

Of turning the back of the post card, 178


First faux metapassage:

The rest, if there is any that remains, is us, is for us, who do not belong to the card. We are the post card, if you will, and as such, accountable, but they will seek in vain, they will never find us in it. In several places, I will leave all kinds of references, names of persons and places, authentifiable dates, identifiable events, they will rush in with eyes closed, finally believing to be there and find us there when by means of a switch point I will send them elsewhere if we are there, with a stroke of the pen or the grattoir. I will make everything derail, not at every instant, that would be too convenient, but occasionally and according to a rule that I will not ever give, even were I to know it one day. I would not work too hard on composing the thing, it is a scrap copy of scrapped paths that I leave in their hands. Certain people will take it into their mouths, in order tor recognize the taste, occasionally in order to reject it immediately with a grimace, or in order to bite, or to swallow, in in order to conceive, even, I mean a child 177

This is literature without literature. 197

Of love letters. The ones I have reread running in the street and I scream with pain like a madman, they are the most beautiful that I have ever read, the first have ever been written but also, I must tell you, the last. You were not only predestined for me, you were predestined to write the last love letters. Afterward, they no longer will be able to, nor will I, and this conceive a bit of pain for you. Not only because your love takes on a somewhat eschatological and twilight tinge from this, but because, no longer knowing how to write “love-letters,” they will never read you. 197-98

The old man who remains the last to read himself. 199

I can’t go on. I’m going to run. Spent hours rereading. I’m trying to sort [trier], it’s impossible. I can’t even reread any more. 199

I also thought that upon reading this sorted mail [courier trie] they could think that I alone am sending these letters to myself: as soon as they are sent off they get to me 199

Second faux metapassage:

Derrida says in Resistance of Psychoanalysis that the word “oblique” chose him

Postal principle. 176, 191

Iconography 172

Too obvious 172

Strange that this is happening to me at the same time as the glasses—the problem with close reading has accelerated suddenly. 170

Sublime nothingness, you know it preserves everything. The “correspondence” will be destroyed better if we pretend to have several laughable fragments of it, several snapshots good enough to put into everyone’s hands. 171

Car crash 171

Whether it is a question of readers, which I do not like 168

One more citation for you, and I’ll stop reading, 166

Of us there will never be a narrative. 167

Double signature, 18

What I read in my date book for the next two days, I invent nothing 167

He decheminates them 165

I know that

We would have closed all the borders on our secret. 186

I am going to die soon 164

Perhaps even to find and read, 181

I adore her, but like the others she thinks she knows what the post, in the usual, literal or strict sense, “means”; she is sure that the exchange around the purloined letter does not concern the “efficiency of the postal service.” Mais si, mais si—it is not sure that the sense of the p.s. (postal service) is itself assured of arriving at its destination, nor is the word to post (poster). Are you sure, my love, of really understanding what this poster means? It doubles, passes all the time 162

You know every well I refuse myself nothing-through all the chicaneries I authorize myself everything. I send myself everything—on the condition that you let me do it 163

Chemin, 179

As if they knew about it for having read it. 197



Nothing is burned in The Post Card, yet is everything published? Decipherable and indecipherable, open and concealed.Is it naïve to ask “What is The Post Card about?” The back cover of the English translation strongly implies that it is about post cards. This is what paratexts do: they give you basic information that orients your reading, helps you decide whether or not you want to read. Why would anyone bother to ask what The Post Card is about, then? Isn’t the answer implied by the title? Isn’t the answer self-evident? Doesn’t Derrida refer in the book to the “ontology of the post card,” a “postal structure,” a “postal principle”? Before we consider that Derrida also asks and does not answer or get an answer to questions he poses about the difference between a letter and a post card, a dead letter and a dead parcel? let us pause for a moment and “read” the back cover, on which we are invited to turn to “the other side of the card” and “look.” Before the copywriter, who turns out to be Derrida, equates the post card and the book--“the thick support of the card, a book heavy and light”—, he asks, in Heideggerian fashion: “What does a postcard want to say to you? On what conditions is it possible?” On the back cover, the book’s title has already been cited and not cited, incorporated as words into a question presumably raised “in” the book. How far should our “reading” of the back cover go? Does it matter that the initially anonymous back cover description is “signed” J.D. at the bottom right, the same initials he signs in “Signature, event, Context.” Let us continue to read the back cover, read it as a text that may be skipped over, one of many paratexts such as the copyright page all readers tend to skip over. Before we fold the title of The Post Card into a thematic reading of the book, before we can say what the book is “really” about, perhaps something than the post card but just as homogenous, before we can say or what we, or “you” as the reader is addressed, “were reading” (first words of the back cover, [Derrida often comments on reading the back of the post card]), before we read “the book,” before we, again, “you,” “situate the subject of the book,” we may ask a more fundamental and perhaps seemingly even more bizarre question, an ontological question, namely, “what is The Post Card? Before any we offer any thematic or allegorical reading of The Post Card, then, Conditions of publication. Burn everything / publish everything. This means not only reading everything, including the paratext, but to ask when variations in edtions become part of the paratexutal apparatus, when book covers, footnotes, glossaries, table of contents, the organization of chapters, some previously published or perhaps delivered as lectures, and editions and translations become notable, as it were, or what I call “anecnotable.” It is to get at the conditions of reading, unreading, and non-reading. The heterogeneity of the corpus is also at issue, even within the original language, translations aside.

I offer a number of new questions, then, in the hope that they are what Heidegger would call the “right questions.” When is a letter not a dead letter? My questions arise from close formal attention to The post Card but also call into question the limits of what Derrida often calls an “internal reading” of a text.

Conditions of publication engage repetition and reproduction, the latter in its “iconomy,” the different economy a facsimile has from description. Republication of Lacan, note by Derrida. Note by Bass. Re-publication of part of The Post Card. Recursive ordering of the text through the envois, itself precursive-works cited later after first mentioned; and you are reading something written before and after the rest of the book was written. It never becomes the preface to legs.

Confessional metapassages—that give the reader no Archidemean interpretive leverage but do seem accurately descriptive.

“aims of publication”

In a posthumous fragment by our friends (one must also speak of Nietzsche’s chance), after insisted on the Socratic origins of the novel, he “turns himself back” again toward Socrates . . . “ 161



Before getting to the point of reading any given Fortune-telling book of the 13th century, the bearer of S and p, never forget that there is something tor recount, to discern, something to tell, to be told, on the “fortune” of the book, of the chances it was able to get to us intact, for example to fall into my hands one day in 1977, the remainder remaining to follow . . .
It is always a question of setting (something) on its way / voice [voix], and alley oop, by pressing on a well-placed lever, to compel unplugging, derailing, hanging up, playing with the switch points and sending off elsewhere, setting it off route (go to see elsewhere, if I am there: and someone is always found there, to carry on, to take the thread of the story (you follow).
Reading Burns Repetition, Reproduction,

Do You Read Me?



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