A new translation of Derrida’s groundbreaking juxtaposition of Hegel and Genet, forcing two incompatible discourses into dialogue with each other
Jacques Derrida’s famously challenging book Glas puts the practice of philosophy and the very acts of writing and reading to the test. Formatted with parallel texts, its left column discusses G. W. F. Hegel and its right column engages Jean Genet, with numerous notes and interpolations in the margins. The resulting work, published for the first time in French in 1974, is a collage that practices theoretical thinking as a form of grafting.
Presented here in an entirely new translation as Clang—its title resonating like the sound of an alarm or death knell—this book brilliantly juxtaposes Hegel’s totalizing, hierarchical system of thought with Genet’s autobiographical, carceral erotics. It innovatively forces two incompatible discourses into dialogue with each other: philosophical and literary, familial and perverse, logical and sensory.
In both content and structure, Clang heightens the significance of all encounters across ruptures of thought or experience and vibrates with the impact of discordant languages colliding.
This Bison Book edition carries an afterword by the translator, John P. Leavey Jr., who has also translated (with Richard Rand) Derrida's Glas and supplied a Glassary, books published by the University of Nebraska Press in 1986.
David Wills is professor of French studies at Brown University. He is author of six books and has translated six works by Jacques Derrida, including a new version of Glas, published as Clang by Minnesota in 2020.
"Geoffrey Bennington and David Wills’s new translation deserves the highest praise. They have rendered this most Joycean of Derrida’s works with an endless tact and feel for English—an immense feat. Clang renews Glas’s lease on life under this new name, where new readers can now encounter it. How fortunate they are!"—Peggy Kamuf, University of Southern California