Of Grammatology

Of Grammatology

De la grammatologie is a book by French philosopher Jacques Derrida, first published in 1967 by Les Éditions de Minuit. Of Grammatology, the English translation by Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, was first published in 1976 by Johns Hopkins University Press. A corrected edition of the translation was published in 1998.



Of Grammatology is probably Derrida's most important work, and served to introduce his thought to a wide audience[citation needed]. It includes extensive discussion of the writings of Claude Lévi-Strauss, Ferdinand de Saussure, and Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Derrida also discusses the work of Étienne Condillac, Louis Hjelmslev, Edmund Husserl, Roman Jakobson, Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, André Leroi-Gourhan, and William Warburton. Of Grammatology introduced many of the concepts which Derrida would employ in later work, especially in relation to linguistics and writing.

It has been called a foundational text for deconstructive criticism.[1]

Of Grammatology is one of three books which Derrida published in 1967, and which served to establish his reputation. The other two were La voix et le phénomène (Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 1967), translated as Speech and Phenomena (Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 1973, trans. David B. Allison), and L'écriture et la différence (Paris: Seuil, 1967), translated as Writing and Difference (London & New York: Routledge, 1978, trans. Alan Bass).


Derrida argues that throughout the Western philosophical tradition, writing has been considered as merely a derivative form of speech, and thus as a "fall" from the "full presence" of speech. In the course of the work he deconstructs this position as it appears in the work of several writers, showing the myriad aporias and ellipses to which this leads them. Derrida does not claim to be giving a critique of the work of these thinkers, because he does not believe it possible to escape from operating with such oppositions. Nevertheless, he calls for a new science of "grammatology" that would relate to such questions in a new way.

See also


  • De la grammatologie (Paris: Les Éditions de Minuit, 1967).
  • Of Grammatology (Baltimore & London: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1976, trans. Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak).
  • Of Grammatology (Baltimore & London: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1998, corrected edition, trans. Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak).

Further reading

  • Bradley, Arthur. Derrida's Of Grammatology (Edinburgh: University of Edinburgh Press, 2008).
  • Culler, Jonathan. On Deconstruction (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1982).
  • de Man, Paul. "The Rhetoric of Blindness: Jacques Derrida's Reading of Rousseau," in Blindness and Insight: Essays in the Rhetoric of Contemporary Criticism (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1983, second edition) 102-41.
  • Harris, Roy. Interpreters of Saussure (Edinburgh: University of Edinburgh Press, 2001) 171-188.


  1. ^ Rabinowitz, Nancy Sorkin (2008). Greek Tragedy. Malden, MA: Blackwell Pub. ISBN 9781405121606.  Cf. p.5: "Jacques Derrida's Of Grammatology, a foundational text for deconstructive criticism, works closely with Plato".

External links

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