Modalities of Death and the Thought of Life: The Politics of Metaphoricity in Julia Kristeva and Jacques Derrida

Published: May 1, 2008
Julia Kristeva Metaphoricity Maurice Blanchot Jacques Derrida
Maria Margaroni
This article throws into relief the difference that renders both Kristeva and Derrida's articulations of metaphor difficult. The difficulty lies in appreciating what I shall call the reversive force at work in every motion, a force suggested by the prefix dis-/dif- shared by both difference and difficulty. If misreading is the index of carelessness in the face of precisely such a reversive force, then the felicity of our conveyance through footsteps destined to remain ahead of us necessitates a commitment to a care-full reading that (following Maurice Blanchot) will take the risk of imagining the hand writing and the death (i.e. the promise, chance, fear of impossibility) that bears this hand along. Paradoxically, for Blanchot this difficult reading is marked by an ease that we associate with happiness and innocence, for it opens itself joyfully as well as trustingly to the death borne by writing and "holds [it] in its turn" though (as Blanchot emphasizes) only in order to reverse it (precisely "through its ease"). It is this happy innocence, this joyful beginning as if for the first time (without guilt or knowledge, without fear of harm, without praejudicium) that determines an understanding of politics in the second part of the essay which investigates the stakes of each theorist's pas au-delà: that is, their step beyond in the direction of a more archaic motility. 
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Author Biography
Maria Margaroni, University of Cyprus

Maria Margaroni is Associate Professor of Literary and Cultural Theory at the University of Cyprus. She is co-author with John Lechte of Julia Kristeva: Live Theory (Continuum, 2004); co-editor with Effie Yiannopoulou of Metaphoricity and the Politics of Mobility (Rodopi, 2006) and Intimate Transfers, a special issue of the European Journal of English Studies (2005). She is currently working on a monograph titled Julia Kristeva's Faith in the Political (under contract with Other Press). She is also involved in co-editing a collection of essays titled Layering: Rethinking Contact, Historicity and Critique Across the Humanities (forthcoming from Lexington Books, Rowman and Littlefield).

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