Derrida on Television



Among so many other things, Jacques Derrida has taught us to look at titles and to consider their frequently strange topology. This attention is particularly rewarded when the title in question entitles a work of fiction, as Derrida has shown with Kafka’s Vor dem Gesetz, Poe’s The Purloined Letter, Baudelaire’s ‘La fausse monnaie’, and of course Blanchot’s La folie du jour, to name only a few examples. I mention this now because, about to speak as part of the programme of this conference titled ‘Applied Derrida’, I sense something like an obligation to address myself first of all to this title (and I would be very surprised if I were the only one here who had felt this obligation). At first approach, the analysis of such a title appears unlikely to uncover topological or referential undecidability of the sort that the title ‘Counterfeit Money’ produces across any possible reading of Baudelaire’s tale or, to take a different but similar example, of the sort the title of Melville’s The Confidence-Man deploys from one end to another of that work: I mean the structural impossibility of deciding whether the title, which gives the fiction its name and a name that already designates a kind of fiction — the counterfeit coin or the confidence-game — whether this title refers to some textual content — theme or story — or to the text itself in which that theme or story unfolds.


Authoritarian Government International Service Paradise Lost Vision Intermediary Confidence Game 
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© Peggy Kamuf 1996

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