Cryptomimesis: The Gothic and Jacques Derrida's Ghost Writing

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McGill-Queen's Press - MQUP, 2001 - Social Science - 165 pages
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In the last thirty years the living-dead, the revenant, the phantom, and the crypt have appeared with increasing frequency in Jacques Derrida's writings and, for the most part, have gone unaddressed. In Cryptomimesis Jodey Castricano examines the intersection between Derrida's writing and the Gothic to theorize what she calls Derrida's "poetics of the crypt." She develops the theory of cryptomimesis, a term devised to accommodate the convergence of philosophy, psychoanalysis, and certain "Gothic" stylistic, formal, and thematic patterns and motifs in Derrida's work that give rise to questions regarding writing, reading, and interpretation. Using Edgar Allan Poe's Madeline and Roderick Usher, Bram Stoker's Dracula, and Stephen King's Louis Creed, she illuminates Derrida's concerns with inheritance, revenance, and haunting and reflects on deconstruction as ghost writing. Castricano demonstrates that Derrida's Specters of Marx owes much to the Gothic insistence on the power of haunting and explores how deconstruction can be thought of as the ghost or deferred promise of Marxism. She traces the movement of the "phantom" throughout Derrida's other texts, arguing that such writing provides us with an uneasy model of subjectivity because it suggests that "to be" is to be haunted. Castricano claims that cryptomimesis is the model, method, and theory behind Derrida's insistence that to learn to live we must learn how to talk "with" ghosts.
 

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Contents

Cryptomimesis or the Return of the LivingDead
31
The Question of the Tomb
83
An Art of Chicanery
109
No Fixed Address
131
Bibliography
153
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About the author (2001)

Jodey Castricano is an associate professor in the Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies at the University of British Columbia (Okanagan) and has long been an advocate of animal rights. Research concerns extend to the history of ideas in the nineteenth century, particularly in the context of Darwinian theory and the development of psychoanalysis. Previous publications include "Cryptomimesis: The Gothic and Jacques Derrida's Ghost Writing" (2001). "Gothic Subjects: Literature, Film, and Psychoanalysis" is forthcoming from University of Wales Press.

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