Derrida on Sartre

Derrida: “He [Sartre] played a major role for me [in my youth]. A model that I have since judged to be nefarious and catastrophic, but that I love; no doubt as what I had to love, and I always love what I have loved; it’s very simple.”

Interviewer: “Nefarious and catastrophic! That’s a bit strong; you’ll have to explain…”

Derrida: “Do you think we should keep that or cut it? Okay. First of all, I repeat, Sartre no doubt, well, guided me, as he did so many others at the time … thanks to him but especially against him, I read Husserl, Heidegger, Blanchot, and others. … What must a society such as ours be if a man, who, in his own way, rejected or misunderstood so many theoretical and literary events of his time — let’s say, to go quickly, psychoanalysis, Marxism, structuralism, Joyce, Artaud, Bataille — who accumulated and disseminated incredible misreadings of Heidegger, sometimes of Husserl, could come to dominate the cultural scene to the point of becoming a great popular figure?”

Source: Derrida: Points…Interviews 1974-1994 p. 121-122

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