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"Being Derrida"
Date of Review: 
Josh Cohen
The Times Literary Supplement

From The Times Literary Supplement
December 24, 2004
Being Derrida
Josh Cohen
PORTRAIT OF JACQUES DERRIDA AS A YOUNG JEWISH SAINT. Helene Cixous. Translated from the French by Beverley Bie Brahic. 138pp. New York: Columbia University Press. $27.50; distributed in the UK by Wiley. Pounds 19. - 0 231 12824 X.

Beverley Bie Brahic's translation is scrupulously attentive to this untranslatable dimension of the original, pointing the reader discreetly in the footnotes to its most intractable instances. Nor should we think of Derrida's French, Cixous is at pains to emphasize, as the authoritative "original" betrayed by translation. On the contrary, it is his lack of cultural and conceptual authority over the language, his dispossessed relationship to it - in short, the "Jewishness" of his French -that renders it untranslatable.