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Giórgos Véltsos. Inventio, 1991
Collection Description & Creator Information
The Library of Jacques Derrida comprises the library of the Derrida household, including Jacques Derrida's working library as well as books belonging, jointly or separately, to Jacques and Marguerite Derrida and, to some degree, their two sons, Jean and Pierre. It consists of volumes, serial issues, offprints, clippings, and papers accumulated in the course of Jacques and Marguerite's professional activities as well as books representing the family's far-reaching interests and leisure reading.
The thematic scope of the collection is expansive and polyglot, spanning some twenty languages and topics ranging, among many others, from capital punishment to photography, comparative law to James Joyce, the history of Algeria to animal rights, psychoanalysis to Iceland, mourning to Jewelry factories in Russia, Bushisms, and Asterix.
Jacques Derrida's working library is the result of decades of acquisitions of a scholar who preferred to work from home. Shelfmarks from an inventory conducted in 2011, with the workspace largely untouched in the seven intervening years since Derrida's passing, allow the virtual reconstruction of the contextual placement of works on his Studio shelves. Multiple copies of works, some with different sets of annotations, bear witness to a practice of re-reading as well as obtaining additional copies when those already owned were unavailable. A run of books received as gifts, several thousand items strong and including a number of volumes with uncut pages or still in their original shrinkwrap, offers evidence of Derrida's famous refusal to discard any books. Insertions related by subject offer a fascinating glimpse of an alternate use of the Library as an ad-hoc topical filing system.
The Library includes items added by Marguerite Derrida after Jacques Derrida's death. Also included are individual items bearing owner's marks of or inscriptions to Marguerite Derrida and Marguerite and Jacques Derrida's sons, Pierre and Jean.
Dealer notes regarding annotations employ a numeric scale from 0-3, with "0" denoting the absence of annotations, "1" the presence of some markings (typically underlines or vertical lines marking a phrase), "2" the presence of more substantive markings, and "3" heavy markings and marginalia.
Access & Use
- Access Restrictions:
Collection is open for research.
- Conditions for Reproduction and Use:
Photocopies may be made for research purposes. Researchers are responsible for determining any copyright questions.
- Credit this material:
Giórgos Véltsos. Inventio; The Library of Jacques Derrida, House Series, RBD1-1, Rare Book Division, Department of Special Collections, Princeton University Library
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