Phantoms of the Other

Four Generations of Derrida's Geschlecht

By David Farrell Krell

Subjects: Continental Philosophy, Heidegger, Phenomenology, Philosophy
Series: SUNY series in Contemporary Continental Philosophy
Paperback : 9781438454504, 378 pages, July 2015
Hardcover : 9781438454498, 378 pages, March 2015

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Table of contents

Abbreviations of Works Cited
1. Geschlecht I: Sexual Difference, Ontological Difference
2. Geschlecht II: Heidegger’s Singular Hand
3. Of Spirit
4. Geschlecht IV: Heidegger’s Philopolemological Ear
5. Geschlecht III: A Truncated Typescript
6. Geschlecht III: The Phantom of the Other
7. The Magnetism of Georg and Gretl Trakl
Appendix A: Poems Discussed in the Present Volume
Appendix B: Poems Undiscussed

Features a reconstruction of an unfinished text by Jacques Derrida from his most penetrating series of readings of Heidegger’s philosophy.


During the 1980s Jacques Derrida wrote and published three incisive essays under the title Geschlecht, a German word for "generation" and "sexuality. " These essays focused on the philosophy of Martin Heidegger, taking up the rarely discussed issue of sexual difference in Heidegger's thought. A fourth essay—actually the third in the series—was never completed and never published. In Phantoms of the Other, David Farrell Krell reconstructs this third Geschlecht on the basis of archival materials and puts it in the context of the entire series. Touching on the themes of sexual difference, poetics, politics, and criticism as practiced by Heidegger, Derrida's unfinished third essay offers a penetrating critical analysis of Heidegger's views on sexuality and Heidegger's reading of the love poems of Georg Trakl, one of the greatest Expressionist poets of the German language, who died during the opening days of the First World War.


"Krell has written a magnificent book: at times it is a true adventure in thinking. " — Phenomenological Reviews

"…[a] rigorous and unprecedented contribution to the study of Heidegger and Derrida … [a] remarkable book … Highly recommended. " — CHOICE

"A major contribution to Derrida studies, to Heidegger studies, and to philosophy. " — Walter Brogan

"This study of Derrida's several engagements with Heidegger under the title of Geschlecht shows Krell's remarkable scholarship, linguistic ability, philosophical insight, and subtlety at their very best. " — Charles E. Scott