Richard Burt

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Richar Burt1
Read After Burning, I Pray You, or la carte posthume::

Derrida Destroyed . . . Derrida Archived . . . Derrida Published . . . Derrida Perished [Ableben] . . . Derrida Died [Sterben] . . . Derrida Survived [Uberleben] . . . Derrida Posted . . . “Jacques Said . . .”

This is literature without literature.

Postcard, 197

Hence, if my letters and the like could be important at all, no collection of them should be published since such a collection only serves the curiosity and the comfort of those who want to evade the ask of thinking.

--Martin Heidegger, “On Preserving What Is Attempted”2

What would happen if the pack of the curious once throws itself at the “posthumous works”! It cannot be expected from this commotion grasp anything at all or to transform what is grasped into the futural. [G428] For the gang of the curious only longs for that which completes this gang’s own already established calculation and confirms it in each case.

--Martin Heidegger, “On Preserving What Is Attempted,” in Mindfulness (Besinnung). trans. Parvis Emad and Thomas Kalary, Continuum, 2006, 270-78, to 277.
If deep down these “posthumous works” do not possess the power of ‘letting-go-ahead’ [Vorlassen]—do not posses[sic] the power of path-opening-grasping-ahead into an entirely other and quite drawn-out questioning—these “posthumous works” would not be worth being pondered upon. The mere enlargement of what is already published is superfluous.

--Martin Heidegger, “On Preserving What Is Attempted,” in Mindfulness (Besinnung). trans. Parvis Emad and Thomas Kalary, Continuum, 2006, 270-78, to 277.

One day, please, read me no more, and forget that you have read me.

--Jacques Derrida, The Post Card1

We cannot develop this analysis here; it is to be read elsewhere.

--Jacques Derrida, Post Card2

“And moreover, says J. J., a postcard is a publication.”

James Joyce, Ulysses3

A hundred similar instances go to show that the MS. so inconsiderately published, was merely a rough note-book, meant only for the writer's own eye, but an inspection of the pamphlet will convince almost any thinking person of the truth of my suggestion. The fact is, Sir Humphrey Davy was about the last man in the world to commit himself on scientific topics. . . . I verily believe that his last moments would have been rendered wretched, could he have suspected that his wishes in regard to burning this 'Diary' (full of crude speculations) would have been unattended to; as, it seems, they were. I say 'his wishes,' for that he meant to include this note-book among the miscellaneous papers directed 'to be burnt,' I think there can be no manner of doubt. Whether it escaped the flames by good fortune or by bad, yet remains to be seen.

--Edgar Allan Poe, “Von Kempelen and His Discovery” (1850) 4

What must we do to allow a text to live?

“Living On [Survivance],” Parages5
At about the same time as Descartes, Pascal discovered the logic of the heart in contrast to the logic of calculating reason. The interior and the invisible of the heart’s space is not only more inward than the interior of calculating presentation, and therefore more invisible, but at the same time it also reaches further than the realms of objects that are merely produced. Only in the invisible innermost of the heart does man tend towards that which is to be loved: ancestors, the dead, childhood, those who are coming.

--Martin Heidegger, “Why Poets,” in Off the Beaten Track6

Those who remain will not know how to read.

--Jacques Derrida, The Post Card7

Le spasme terrible d’éffouliment subi tout a l’heure peut se reproduire au cours de la nuit et avoir raison de moi. Alors, vous ne vous étonnerez pas que je pense au monceau demi-séculaire de mes notes, lequel ne vous deviendra qu’un grand embarrass; attend que pas un Feuillet n’en peut server. Moi-même, l’unique pourrais seul en tirer ce qu’il y a. . . . je l’eusse fait si le dernières années manquant me n’avaient trahi. Brûlez, par-conséquant: il n’y a pas d’héritage littéraire, mes pauvres enfants. Ne soumettez même pas à l’appréciation de quelqu’un: ou refusez toute ingérence curieuse ou amicable. Dites qu’on n’y distingeurait rien. C’est vrai de reste , et, vous, mes pauvres prostrées, les seul êtres au monde capabale a ce point de respecter toute en vie d’artiste sincere, croyes que ce devait être tres beau.

Ainisi, je ne laisse un papier inédit excepté quelques bribes imprimées que vous trouverez puis le Coup de Dés8 et Héroiodae terminé s’il plait au sort.

-- Stéphane Mallarmé, “A Marie et Genvieve Mallarmé [le 8 septembre, 1898]

Recommendation quant a mes Papiers

(Pour quand le liront mes chéries)” 9
Hölderlin is the forerunner of the poets in a desolate time. That is why no poet can overtake him. The forerunner, however, does not go away into a future, rather he arrives from it in such a way that in the advent [Ankunft] of his words alone the future [Zukunft] presences. The more purely the advent takes place, the more essentially, the more essenced, it remains. . . . That is why it would be erroneous to say that Hölderlin’s time would arrive come only when “everyone” understands his poetry. It will never come in such a deformed way. . . . What has merely passed away is already, in advance of its passing away, without destiny. What has been in an essential way, by contrast, is the destining. In what we suppose is eternity, something merely transitory [Vergängliches] has been concealed, but away into the void of a now without duration.”

--Martin Heidegger, “Why Poets,” in Off the Beaten Track [Holzwege] 10

What is at stake in analytic discourse is always the following—you give a different reading to the signifiers that are enunciated . . . than what they signify . . . In your analytic discourse, you assume that the subject of the unconscious knows how to read, but you assume that it can learn how to read. The only problem is that what you teach it to read has absolutely nothing to do with what you can write about it.

--Jacques Lacan, “The Function of the Written,” On Feminine Sexuality, the Limits of Love and Knowledge: The Seminar of Jacques Lacan Encore XX 1972-1973), 37 Ed. Bruce Fink, Jacques-Alain Miller.3

The strange nature of posthumous publications is to be inexhaustible.

--Maurice Blanchot, "The Last Word," in Friendship4

Courage! Courage, now! You need heart and courage to think . . . the living dead.

--Jacques Derrida, The Beast and the Sovereign Vol. 211

No dead person has ever said their last word.

--Helene Cixous, Or, les lettres de mom pere12

[. . .] J’arrive donc le dernier, une fois encore, avec ma letter, apres la fete.

--Jacques Derrida

The posthumous is becoming the very element mixes in everywhere with the air we breathe . . .

--Jacques Derrida, The Beast and the Sovereign 2, op cit, 181 (258) and 179 (256).

This is what I dream . . . Before my death I would give orders. If you aren’t there, my body is to be pulled out of the lake and burned, my ashes are to be sent to you, the urn well protected (“fragile”) but not registered, in order to tempt fate. This would be an envoi of / from me un envoi de moi which no longer would come from me (or an envoi come from me, who would have ordered it, but no longer an envoi of / from me, as you like). And then you would enjoy mixing my ashes with what you eat (morning coffee, brioche, tea at 5 o’clock, etc.). After a certain dose, you would start to go numb, to fall in love with yourself, I would watch you slowly advance toward death , you would approach me within you with a serenity that we have no idea of, absolute reconciliation. And you would give orders . . . While waiting for you I’m going to sleep, you’re always there, my sweel love.

The Postcard, 19613
Before my death I would give orders. If you aren’t there, my body is to be pulled out of the lake [lac] and burned, my ashes are to be sent to you, the urn well protected (‘fragile’) but not registered, in order to tempt fate. This would be an envois of / from me [an envoi de moi] which no longer would come from me (or an envoi sent by me, who would have ordered it, but no longer an envoi of me as you like). And then you would enjoy mixing my cinders with what you eat (morning coffee, bricohe, tea at 5 o’clock, etc.). After a certain dose you would start to go numb, to fall in love with yourself, I would watch you slowly advance towards death, you would appraoch me within you with a serenity that we have no idea of, absolute reconciliation. And you would give orders . . . While waiting for you I’m going to sleep, you’re always there, my sweel love.”

Jacques Derrida, Cinders (Derrida’s ellipsis)14

Use of ellipses in first line of Passions Post-Scriptum [ . . .] as on the back cover of Papier Machine

Tom MuellerCSI: Italian Renaissance,” Smithsonian magazine, July-August 2013,50-59 Such work is not without its critics, who brand scholars such as Fornaciari as little more than grave-robbers, rejecting their efforts as a pointless, even prurient, disturbance of the dead’s eternal rest. Yet paleo-sleuthing has demonstrated its value for the study of the past and future. As Fornaciari has solved some of history’s oldest riddles and murder mysteries, his work also holds life-and-death relevance.

Read more:

Jane Buikstra Charlotte Roberts, The Global History of Paleopathology:

“there is never a choice between what is to be read in an open book (as visible as the nose in the middle of one’s ‘face’!) and the most hermetic script. It’s the same—insupportable support. I didn’t dare say “like a post card,” the atmosphere was too pious. On the way out, diverse presentations. “With you, one can no longer present oneself,” a young American (I think) woman says to me. She gives me to understand that she has read (before me, therefore, she was just coming from the U.S.) “Moi, la psychanalyse” in which I let play, in English the so difficult-to-translate cvocabulary of presentation, of presentations, of “introductions,” etc. [Me—Psychoanalysis, trnaslated in Psyche Invention of the Other.

The Postcard, 197

Even the dead are not safe from the enemy if he wins “Sixth Thesis on the Philosophy of History” (GS 1.2: 95/SW 4:391) (1988c, 255).
This can’t go on like this

Imperative will always be the question of principle, the question of principles, and the question of the principle—of the principial, of the sovereign prince, and of princedom. Freudian psychoanalysis—psychoanalysis as science, psychoanalysis that never abandons its aim to be a science, although a science apart from others—will have reckoned a lot with principles, as is well known.

Derrida, “Psychoanalysis Searches” Without Alibi, 257

Derrida Glas corpse Hegel mourning burial citizen

Dearrida, I miss you.

The Gelke psassae is in book two SPirt, of The henomenology of Spirit, pp. 269-778. A.V. Miller trans.

Levinas discusses the same passage in “From the Science of Logic to the Phenomenology,” in God, Death, and Time, 79-87; to 83.

Since the Gee text remains to be read, I re-form here its ellipse around two foci: (the) burial place), the liaison between brother and sister. . . . in its essentiality, singularity can only disappear, can posit itself as such only in death. If the family thus has the singularity of its own proper object, it can only busy itself around death. Death it is essential object. Its destination is the cult of the dead; the family must consecrate itself to the reorganization of the burial (place). . . (2142) The pure singularity, stripped but incapable of passing to universality, is the dead—more precisely the name of the dead—is the corpse, the impotent shadow, the negation of the living being-there inasmuch as that singularity has not yet given rise to the life of the citizen. Already dead (as empiric existence), not yet living (as ideal universality). If the family’s thing is pure singularity, one belongs to a family only in busying oneself around the dead: the toilette of the dead, institution of death, wake, monumentalization, archive, heritage, genealogy, classification of proper names, engraving on tombs, burying, shrouding, burial place, funeral song, and so on. . . . Entrusting with death, the guardian of a marrowless body, on the condition that the woman erect his burial place after shrouding the rigid corpse (unction, bandages, etc.), maintaining it thus in a living, monumental, interminable surrection. (143)

What is a corpse? What is it to make a gift of a corpse?

Pure singularity: neither the empiric individual that death destroys, decomposes, analyzes, nor the rational universality of the citizen, of the living subject. (143)

“Haven’t finished vindicating myself to those two suicides (two drownings also, you know what I’m talking about)” Post Card, 196

People Who Die


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Monsieur -le Prefet

Veuillez agréer, Monsieur le Prefet mes hommages posthume.

Monsieur Prefect

Yours faithfully, Monsieur Prefect, my posthumous respects.

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Monsieur G is the prefect, or head, of the Paris police. Edgar Allan Poe “The Purloined Letter”
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Can Derrida Die?

Is Derrida Dead?

Final Words are ot planned by Derrida by the way Édouard Levé planned the posthumus publication of Suicide trans Jan Steyn

Shoving Off

Derrida insists on the divisbility of the instant and on the divisbility of the letter.

“I didn’t know where to start reading, looking, opening.”

The Postcard, 209

8 July 1979

and even if I had wanted to, I would not yet have confided this secreet to you, it is the place of the dead being for whom I write (I say the dead being, or more htan liviving, it is not yet born despite its immerial advent. . . .”

The Postcard, 202

“insteaof reachign you, it divides you or sets you aside, occasionally overlooks you. And you love and you do not love, it makes ofyou what you wish, it takes you, it leaves you, it gives you.

Back cover of The Postcard

Try to translate “nous nous verroons mourir” (‘we will see ourselves / each othedie.”

The Postcard, 202


Vismann, Cornelia. “The Love of Ruins”

Perspectives on Science, Volume 9, Number 2, Summer 2001,

pp. 196-209.

Cornelia Vismann, Files: Law and Media Technology, trans Geoffrey Winthrop-Young (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2008)
Cornelia Vismann, “The Archive and the Beginning of Law” in Derrida and Legal Philosophy Ed. Peter Goodrich. (Palgrave Macmillan, November 2008), 41-54.

Yesterday, during the symposium, a Candadian friend tells me that in montreal, during a very well atteded lecture, Serge Doubrovksy had wanted to get a certain effect from some news he beleieved he could bring to the knowledge of his audience: I was supposed to be in analysis! . . . This friend whom I have no reason to doubt, tells me in tthat context was more or less the following: do you know that J.D. is in analysis as I myself (S.D.) have been, this is whay I have written what I have written, let’s see what is going to happen with him!! I tell you. The big deal here, what truly fascinates me in this story is not the stupefying assurance with which they invent and drag out the sham, it’s above all that they do not resist the desire to gain an advantageeous effect from it (revelation, denunciation, triumph, enclosing, I don’t know, in any event something that suddenly gets bigger from the fact that the other is “inanalysis”: what is true in any event is that this would really please S.D.). Remark, I’m not so surprised. Once that upon the appearance of the Verbier and of Fors Lacan let himself go at it right in his seminar (while running the risk of then retracting the faux-pas under ellipsis in Ornicar—I’d really like to know what made him feel contstrained to do so, but I have several hypotheses), the rumor in a way became legitimate. Why does one wish to say that someone be inanalysis? Of whom does one say iin this case: if it’s not true it it has to be invented? And by the same token it becomes “true”: true that for Lacan and Doubrovsky, for example, it is necessary that I be inanalysis. . . .To be continued, in any event, I’m sure that it won’t remain there.

The Postcard, 8 July 1979, 202-03

I believe in effect htat it is better to erase all the pictures all the other cards, the photos, the initials, the drawings, etc. The Oxford card is sufficient for everything. It has the iconographic power that one can expect in order to read or to have read the whole history, between us, this punctuated sequence of two years, from Oxford to Oxford, via two centuries or two millenia . . .

The Postcard, 204

Sometimes I wish that everything remain illegible for them—and also for you. To become absolutely unowable for them.

The Postcard, 205
The Postcard, or with readers that I come ot privielge transferntially, with Socrates, my posthumous analyst 203

Like the “envois,” are what remains of a dated series of supposedly private texts that are nowpublic—like a published coresopondence, or a series of intercepted post cards. Alan Bass, “Translator’s Introduction: L before K,” The Postcard, xi

“K should come after L. Why? Why not L before K?

Alan Bass, “Translator’s Introduction: L before K,” The Postcard, xi

I remember only the celluloid baby doll that was aflame in two seconds . . . That I burned the baby doll instead of taking it out on her—if I publish this people are going to believe that I am nventing to suit my compositional needs. The Postcard, 253

Leaving Words

From Freud to Heidegger and Beyond . . . the Grave

Did=fferent prier d’inserer’s and publicationntoes inFnrech not cotorlled by Derrida, necessarily, even though the same press published all htree books.

Jacques Derrida and Catherine Malabou, Counterpath, Trans. David Wills (,Stanford University Press, 2004) Chapter 16 “Correspondences” with subtitles for “Telegram”; “Stamp”; “Postcard”; “Telephone”; Fax”; and “Telepathy.” Chapter 12: The Postal Principle.” Subtitles “In the Beginning Was the Post” and “Epochs of the Postal”

Photo of Bodleian with a citation from the Postcard serving as the caption on p. 187 n chapter 17 “The Oxford Scene” and the page facing the table of contents has a grey box under the with the word “CORRPESONDENCE “ all in capital letters, then this stennce, without a period, aligned as follows:

Letters and Postcards (Extracts)

Jacques Derrida writes to Catherine Malabou

during his travels from May 1997 to May 1998,

as he waits for, then reads her essay

“The Parting of Ways”


There is a note to the reader following stating that the chapters have been placed in random order and a reference to an appendix with a table of contents contiang a “logical” order. “Note too the reader “xviii
Can one read The POSt Card without reading the pessay on Tepeahty” as a missing chapter?

A Tale of Two Jacques

InteStates of Exeption

In the horror film After.Life (dir. Agnieszka Wójtowicz-Vosloo, 2009), Anna Taylor (Christina Ricci) wakes up on an autoposy--just after we saw her apparently die in a car accident after walking out on her fiancee of a restruant--on the table of a mortician who doubles as a spiritual medium named Eliot Deacon (Liam Neeson) who can talk to the dead. Unable to move any part her body below her neck, she defiantly exclaims “I’m not dead.” 15 But Deacon says otherwise. He knows she’s dead and he’s got her death certificate to prove it. She was D.OA. In horror movies, it would appear, corpses always arrive at their destination whether they know it or not, sometimes even ahead of schedule.16

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Death, as Derrida knew, is always a matter of paperwork, the death certificate, a paper that does not necessarily reassure. 17 In the rest of the film, she discovers she is buried, then survives in the mortuary, and hten is was actually alive all along, but then is buried alive, and hten seemingly found alive by her fiancee but it turns out he too diedinacar accident and wakes up in the morgue with Eliot telling him he is relaly dead.. (The movie continues, she is buried, but “survives” in the morgue and is eventually discovered alive by her boyfriend.18

Thre is sno signature on the certificate, nor is there a name of the dead. It is “there”to be read, presuambly readable by her. All that matters to us and ot her is the time and date of death.

While is not worth a Derridean reading, I begin with it because it provides an orientation to The Post Card through the lens of the posthumous, re-routing the carte postal through what I call the carte posthume a reading that involves Derrida’s returns to The Post Card after Lacan was dead in resistnaces of Pychoanlaysis and his turn, for the first time, to prayer and corse disposal (Derrida doesn’t investiage lws protecting corpses). the post card in relation to the prayer and to posthumous publication, not only because of its with its repeition compulsion, fetishism—alive or dead played out in a horror suspense—am I am not? Is she or not? But because it relates

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“Life without life” or survivance Instant of My Death and Demeure

Not taking Beast and Sovereign as Derrida’s last will and testament. It’s the way the posthumous poses a limit or does not that is at stake in a way of organizing Derrida to be read than it is in a sending that precedes all reshelvings. A priori. Definition of a letter, dead letter, of a post card versus a letter (but not a visiting card in purloined letter? Is there a diffference between the letter and the card? A love letter. Learning by heart.

Jacques Derrida, « Le survivant, le sursis, le sursaut », dans La quinzaine littéraire, n° 882, 11-31 août 2004, pp. 15-16.

“For renvoi signifies putting off to later the repreive [sursis] that remits or defers [sursoit] democracy until the next resurgence [sursault] or until the next turn around . . . .” Jacques Derrida, Rogues: Two Essays on Reason

In both senses of différance, then, democracy is differential; it is différance, renvoi, and spacing. That is why, let me repeat, the theme of spacing, the theme of the interval or the gap of the trace as gap [écart], of the becoming-space of time or the becoming-time of space, plays such an important role as early as Of Gramatology and “Différance.” Jacques Derrida, Rogues: Two Essays on Reason

Jacques Derrida, “Différance” Trans Alan Bass, Margins of Philosophy (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1982), pp 3-27.

Derrida in “Fichus” (in Paper Machine in English) on the letter WB wrote about his dream while in a concentration camp.

Letters reproduced as works of art, effectively, in Simon Hantai, Jacques Derrida, and Jean-Luc Nancy, La correspondence des textes: Lecture d’un manuscript illisble (Correspondances) Letter by Hegel in The Age of Hegel; letter in Demeure

Derrida on his nightmare about having to defend Bush and Saddam Hussein in Beast and Sov 2,tenth session, pp. 260-61 when Derrida had the flu then the nightmare becoming a dream, p. 273, then the dream of Kant becoming nightmare (274) in “Conjectures on the Beginnings” about Noah’s Ark (Noah was 600 years old) and Kant on people living to be 800.

“As always, I invite you to reread all of it, well beyond the passage that, for lack of time, I must extract.” Beast and Sov 2 283
“the one being the archival transcription of an academic speech, a doctrinal teaching of a philosophical or metaphysical type, the other a so-called fictional and literary piece of writing, etc” (262)
“a sovereignty of the last instance” Beast and Sov 2, 278

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