The Art of Everyday Haunting

Derrida Today 5 (2):199-213 (2012)
Abstract
The question of where ghosts live can hardly be addressed without speaking of a haunted house. This essay reads Don DeLillo's novel The Body Artist, in which there is a ghost called Mr. Tuttle who haunts the house of Lauren Hartke, the body artist, as a text grafted onto Jacques Derrida's Dissemination. The essay takes as its starting point the first words spoken in DeLillo's text, ‘I want to say something but what’, a quasi-question directed to Lauren by her husband Rey, in order to ask if it can ever be said what lies on the other side of ‘what’, or if it remains forever unknowable, or unheard, at an ‘infinite remove’, even if it is one's self. It is Rey's suicide, and Lauren's subsequent work of mourning, which locates DeLillo's phrase within the context of Derrida's efforts, again and again, to give words to those whose voices are absent: the lost friend, the other self, the dead. To Lauren's question, ‘What am I supposed to say?’ Derrida replies, ‘Speaking is impossible, but so too would be silence or absence’. Through the ghostly form of Mr. Tuttle, DeLillo's work tells of the various mimetisms by which the silent speaker is heard and remembered
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