Jacques Derrida's Ghost

A Conjuration

By David Appelbaum

Subjects: Philosophy, Comparative Literature, Literary Criticism, Continental Philosophy
Paperback : 9780791476086, 164 pages, July 2009
Hardcover : 9780791476079, 164 pages, October 2008

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Table of contents

1. With the word I
2. The book begins
3. To be read
4. With the voice
5. Reading itself
6. Words ‘I’ write
7. A ghost
8. Writing itself
9. Into the Book
Speaking with the ghost

A spirited reading of Derrida’s view of ethics as transcendental and performative.


In Jacques Derrida's Ghost, David Appelbaum explores three of Derrida's favorite themes: the other, death, and the work of mourning. He shows how Derrida's unique philosophy, mindful of ghosts, proposes a respectful attitude toward otherness—whether the "other" be corporeal or indeed phantom. Taking up Derrida's concern with performative ethics, Appelbaum examines the possibility of such an ethics of subjectivity within the context of performance.

David Appelbaum is Professor of Philosophy at the State University of New York at New Paltz. He is the author of several books, including The Delay of the Heart; Disruption; The Stop; Everyday Spirits; and Voice, all published by SUNY Press.


"This is a brilliant and striking example of the sustained poetic critique that contemporary critical theory inspires. Appelbaum admirably fulfills the literary mission that Derrida declared for philosophy." — Henry Sussman, author of Idylls of the Wanderer: Outside in Literature and Theory

"Taking on a performative mode, the author engages with a style of writing appropriate in response to Derrida as other, and which also serves as a haunting response to Derrida's death and the fraught questions of how we read him today." — Julian Wolfreys, author of Derrida: A Guide for the Perplexed