Asphodel and the Spectral Places

Derrida Today 5 (2):146-164 (2012)
Nothing survives deconstruction unless we accept that survival in some sense attaches to the ghostly or etiolated figures (the marks and traces) of things, by which deconstruction proceeds. If the ghostly figure survives then it may be because it is undeconstructible. Yet the spectral figure would no doubt remain insignificant if it was not for the force it brings to bear on more central and familiar categories of philosophical and literary discourse. These categories, like style, friendship, justice and hospitality, tend to occupy those spectral spaces that mark the structural difference between philosophy (conceptual, abstract, universal) and literature (figurative, concrete, singular). Yet nothing defines such spaces so well as the trace and its paradoxical structure. And nothing describes the structure of the trace so well as that of the signature. This paper identifies the movement of the trace as occupying and to a great extent defining the difference between philosophy and literature. The example, in this case, is the appearance of asphodels in Homer's Odyssey, according to which the fields where ghosts live are thick with the so-called grave-flower. But the asphodel on closer examination breaks down into mere traces of itself in a series of insoluble philological problems. The larger implications have to do with death, the signature of the writer, the relation between philosophy and literature and their respective modes of survival. There is no philosophy (no truth, no good, no chance) without its attachment to the etiolated figure, the trace of itself. The paper proposes readings of Blanchot, Derrida, Hegel and Plato, in addition to a focus on the main philological problem in Homer and its implications for a tradition of literary allusion, as a way of establishing the consistency of the paradoxical structure of the signature
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.3366/drt.2012.0037
 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
Our Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 29,567
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
Writing and Difference.Jacques Derrida - 1978 - University of Chicago Press.
Points . . .: Interviews, 1974-1994.Jacques Derrida - 1995 - Stanford University Press.
Logic and Existence.Jean Hyppolite - 1997 - State University of New York Press.

View all 12 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA
The Ghost of the Unnameable.Roy Sellars - 2012 - Derrida Today 5 (2):248-263.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles
Traces of Things Past.John Heil - 1978 - Philosophy of Science 45 (March):60-72.
Historical Magic in Old Quantum Theory?Peter Vickers - 2012 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 2 (1):1-19.
On the Poetic Truth That is Higher Than History.William Franke - 2010 - International Philosophical Quarterly 50 (4):415-430.
On the Retinal Origins of the Hering Primaries.Wayne Wright - 2011 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 2 (1):1-17.
Maimonides' God and Spinoza's.Carlos Fraenkel - 2006 - Journal of the History of Philosophy 44 (2).
Added to PP index

Total downloads
4 ( #652,211 of 2,180,841 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #299,822 of 2,180,841 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Monthly downloads
My notes
Sign in to use this feature

There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.

Other forums