In the Library of Jacques Derrida: Manuscript Materiality after the Archival Turn

Based on research in the Jacques Derrida collection acquired by Princeton University in 2015, this article takes an expansive view of what is considered to be a manuscript through close readings of the material makeup of literary artifacts. In particular, Derrida’s copy of Hélène Cixous’s first book, interleaved with surprising documents, and a handful of small notes Cixous gave to Derrida, suggest that the two writers’ overlapping collections extend the scope of their friendship posthumously. These overlaps allow for the reader in the archive to contribute to the afterlives of these artifacts. The article invokes the ontological fluidity posited by new materialisms and new philologies to show how the holistic consideration of a literary artifact offers inroads into the divide between life and matter.