Between the She-Wolf and Little Red Riding Hood: The Figure of the Girl in Derrida's The Beast and The Sovereign

Derrida Today 4 (2):257-280 (2011)
This essay explores the important role played by the figure of the virgin girl at the centre of The Beast and The Sovereign. Derrida hints that she may offer a figure between the beast and the sovereign, between the two marionettes of Nature and Culture. Moreover, it seems that she is both what props up the fabled distinction between man and animal and at the same time that upon which man erects himself as sovereign lord and master. Taking Derrida's suggestions further, I argue that the virgin girl both does and undoes sovereign power as phallic power. She is the figure behind the erection of sovereignty. Indeed, her appearance is both necessary and threatening insofar as she both erects sovereign phallic power and threatens to reveal its impotence. In this way, the girl operates between feminine and masculine, between Nature and Culture, between the beast and the sovereign, particularly as her virginity and its deflowering are essential to the cut between the two sides of these traditional binaries. Finally, her appearance is telling in relation to the movements and rhythms of Derrida's deconstructive approach to philosophy and literature in this seminar and in his work more generally.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.3366/drt.2011.0020
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 23,674
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA
Jacques Derrida (1998). Of Grammatology. Johns Hopkins University Press.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Add more citations

Similar books and articles
Wendy Brown (2009). Sovereign Hesitations. In Pheng Cheah & Suzanne Guerlac (eds.), Derrida and the Time of the Political. Duke University Press
Don Mayer (1992). Sovereign Immunity and the Moral Community. Business Ethics Quarterly 2 (4):411-434.
Matthias Fritsch (2012). Derrida on the Death Penalty. Southern Journal of Philosophy 50 (s1):56-73.

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

15 ( #295,245 of 1,903,117 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

1 ( #446,023 of 1,903,117 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.