Argues that deconstruction is not a critical methodology or theory but that which makes any act of good reading possible.
In Occasional Deconstructions, Julian Wolfreys challenges the notion that deconstruction is a critical methodology, offering instead a number of reintroductions or reorientations to the texts of Jacques Derrida and the idea or possibility of deconstructions. Proceeding from specific readings of various texts (both film and literary), as well as mobilizing a number of issues from Derrida's recent work surrounding questions of ethics, politics, and identity, Wolfreys considers the role of deconstruction in broader academic and institutional contexts, and questions whether, in fact, deconstruction can be called upon to function as theory at all.
In this book, Wolfreys suggests that the patient, necessary work of reading, in which response and responsibility to the other has a chance to manifest itself, is necessary to the always political and ethical tracing of the material and the historical. He also contends that reading should be an encounter that gives place to an acknowledgment of the other, and that this singular act by which one is introduced to the other can never be programmed.
Julian Wolfreys is Professor of Victorian Studies at the University of Florida. He is the author of many books, including Being English: Narratives, Idioms, and Performances of National Identity from Coleridge to Trollope, and is the coeditor (with John Brannigan and Ruth Robbins) of The French Connections of Jacques Derrida, both also published by SUNY Press.