Derrida's 'Writing and Difference' - Summary and Key Ideas

This book is an explanation of a collection of selected essays of the philosopher Jaques Derrida. It dives into the philosophical term 'différance', an idea originated by Derrida, exploring its implications and applications in various contexts.

The book is targeted towards philosophy enthusiasts, philosophers, and students. It assumes some background knowledge in philosophy and is thus suitable for advanced readers or academia.

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Derrida's 'Writing and Difference'

Key ideas


Derrida's Writing and Difference challenges structuralism, blurring form-content boundaries.


Derrida's experiences in colonial Algeria shaped his critical philosophical approach and theory of deconstruction.

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Derrida's work disrupts philosophical norms through intricate explorations of language, difference, and politics.

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Derrida's work reshapes philosophy, proposing multidimensional writing and redefined historical understandings.

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Derrida's philosophy challenges traditional metaphysics, viewing existence as limitless and dynamic.

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Derrida explores philosophical aspects of economy, signs, light, and nothingness, challenging traditional perceptions of language and meaning.

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"FORCE AND SIGNIFICATION": Derrida believes writing's uncontainable force disrupts structure, embodying difference and history.

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"EDMOND JABÈS AND THE QUESTION OF THE BOOK": Edmond Jabès's poetic work underscores profounder understanding of meaning, tradition, and illegibility.

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"GENESIS AND STRUCTURE” AND PHENOMENOLOGY": Husserl's phenomenology reveals an ongoing tension between genesis and structure.

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"LA PAROLE SOUFFLÉE":Artaud's writing reflects a universal sense of dispossession and stolen speech.

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"FREUD AND THE SCENE OF WRITING": Freud's exploration of the unconscious revolutionized perceptions of human psychology.

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"THE THEATRE OF CRUELTY AND THE CLOSURE OF REPRESENTATION": Artaud's "Theatre of Cruelty" challenges Western theatre's dependence on narrative and representation.

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Summary & Review

Final Summary: "Writing and Difference" by Jacques Derrida advances the idea of a book not being confined but an entity existing beyond just its cover or themes. Derrida argues for the understanding of the writing as a unique, unbound process that challenges the standardized perception of literature and books. Derrida emphasized flexibility, fluidity, and the agitated multiplicity of writing. His lucid introspection into the depths of literature, human psyche, and sociocultural paradigms transcends the conventionalized systemic understandings and buds fresh perspectives.

Sarah Wood

Sarah Wood is a Lecturer in the School of English, University of Kent, UK.

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