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MLN 119.5 (2004) 1134

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In Memoriam:

Jacques Derrida

Ce livre est un livre d'adieu.
Un salut, plus d'un salut. Chaque
fois unique. . . .
JD, Chaque fois unique, la fin du

With the death of Jacques Derrida on October 8, 2004, the editors of this journal mourn the loss of a long-time contributor, former colleague, and constant friend. His ties to the Johns Hopkins reach back to the planning of the "structuralist symposium" now almost forty years ago. The mark that his work, example, and counsel have left on the lives of many whom he touched here needs no further commentary at this moment. (As he confessed on the passing of Gilles Deleuze in 1995: "Trop à dire, et le coeur me manque aujourd'hui.")

For Derrida as for Montaigne, there is no true friendship without the presence of death. These imbricated themes, and the paradoxes they generate, had become increasing concerns in Derrida's writing of the last two decades, both in the theoretical register of book-length adieux and in the specific, "each-time-unique" responses to the deaths of friends and colleagues "in the wake of passing." He reminded us of the fragility of life and of the memories that sustain it; he bore witness to the singularity of each friendship and the uniqueness of each relationship; and he cautioned us about the responsibilities of speaking of the dead: the risks of enlisting the occasion for one's own purposes, political calculations, personal vendettas, and the expiation of guilt.

In the face of all that he entrusted to us, we can begin the work of mourning with an affectionate inscription of which JD was fond; he was, of course, fully conscious of its freight of irony: en signe de fidèle amitié.



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