Literary Theory: A Very Short Introduction Characters

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Jacques Derrida

Professor Culler relies heavily on the work of contemporary French philosopher Jacques Derrida's and his analysis of Confessions by Jean Jacques Rousseau. Rousseau is attributed with helping develop the concept of the individual self. Rousseau contends that language was intended to be spoken and that writing is only a supplement to the spoken word.

Derrida, however, proposes that perhaps the "supplement" [writing] actually completes the imperfect spoken word. Derrida concludes that the thing supplemented [speech] is indeed a supplementation itself since it has the same qualities and weaknesses found in the supplement [writing]. Derrida eventually develops this theory into a law wherein he advances the concept that there is an infinite linked series of supplements that in fact produce an improved version of that which they supplement. Derrida's analytical interpretations illustrate the theoretical make-up of literary work and offer explicit and clear arguments on writing and its...

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This section contains 682 words
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