Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy

Volume 14, Issue 1, Fall 2009

Alejandro A. Vallega
Pages 143-166

Thought’s Obsessive Vigilance
At the Limit of Derrida’s Reading of Antonin Arnaud

Although not often recognized as a major concern in his fecund writings, as Derrida himself indicates, Antonin Artaud accompanies his thought throughout his career. This essay explores that relationship by marking the various places where it appears, and by focusing on Derrida’s early discussions of Artaud. In them, Derrida traces the obsessive character of metaphysics as figured by Artaud’s word, a word that occurs as a speaking-writing-drawing. While Derrida’s discussions expose us to the physicality of Artaud’s word and with them to a saying exterior to the metaphysical tradition. Derrida’s own obsession with the transcendental voice keeps him at a distance from engaging in the physicality and play of language one finds in Artaud’s words.