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Symposium

Volume 18, Issue 2, Fall 2014

Australasian Continental Philosophy

Max Deutscher
Pages 98-124

“Il n’y a pas de hors-texte”—Once More

Spivak translates Derrida’s “il n’y a pas de hors-texte” as “there is nothing outside the text.” By considering how the aphorism works within his study of Rousseau on sexual and textual supplements, and by reviewing related expressions in French, a mistranslation is revealed. This is not a simple error, however. The distortion is generated by Derrida’s own broader context. We must not only distinguish signification from reference but also place the aphorism within Derrida's allusion, in the first part of Of Grammatology, to an all-embracing arche-writing. The paper ends in thus opening out the discussion of a textual “inside” or “outside.”