The End of the Book and the Beginning of Writing

October 9th, 2010

Derrida, Jacques, and Barry Stocker. Jacques Derrida: Basic Writings. London ; New York: Routledge, 2007.

In this chapter, “The End of the Book and the Beginning of Writing” from Of Grammatology, Derrida looks at what he considers to be the problem of language. This problem has to do with how we now (Note: this was published in 1967) use the term too loosely. “This crisis is also a symptom. It indicates, as if in spite of itself, that a historic-metaphysical epoch must finally determine as language the totality of its problematic horizon” (6).

As the chapter title suggests, Derrida is looking at the end of writing in reference to the book, since the book is a finite, limited, set collection of words and pages. Conversely, language has no boundaries, nor does the larger idea of writing. Writing itself can be altered, redirected, repurposed, resent, etc. To put it in context of the idea of the signified, spoken language (langue) signifies the thought and writing signifies the spoken language. Therefore, writing is the signifier of the signifier.

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