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Cultural Graphology

Writing after Derrida

Juliet Fleming

Cultural Graphology

Juliet Fleming

176 pages | 12 halftones | 5 1/2 x 8 1/2 | © 2016
Cloth $30.00 ISBN: 9780226390420 Published September 2016
E-book $30.00 About E-books ISBN: 9780226390567 Published September 2016
“Cultural Graphology” could be the name of a new human science: this was Derrida’s speculation when, in the late 1960s, he imagined a discipline that combined psychoanalysis, deconstruction, and a commitment to the topic of writing. He never undertook the project himself but did leave two brief sketches of how he thought cultural graphology might proceed. In this book, Juliet Fleming picks up where Derrida left off. Using both his early and later thought, and the psychoanalytic texts to which it is addressed, to examine the print culture of early modern England, she drastically unsettles some key assumptions of book history.

Fleming shows that the single most important lesson to survive from Derrida’s early work is that we do not know what writing is. Channeling Derrida’s thought into places it has not been seen before, she examines printed errors, spaces, and ornaments (topics that have hitherto been marginal to our accounts of print culture) and excavates the long-forgotten reading practice of cutting printed books. Proposing radical deformations to the meanings of fundamental and apparently simple terms such as “error,” “letter,” “surface,” and “cut,” Fleming opens up exciting new pathways into our understanding of writing all told.
 
Contents
Acknowledgements
Abbreviations
Introduction: From Grammatology to Cultural Graphology
1 The Psychopathology of Writing
2 Type Ornament
3 Sign Tailoring
4 Psychoanalytic Graphology
Notes
Index
Review Quotes
Gill Partington | Times Literary Supplement
“In putting Derrida together with book history, Fleming presents us with new versions of both… Cultural Graphology is a slim volume, but the horizons it opens up are dizzying. It not only retools the history of the book, but also reinvents it as an inquiry into something remarkable and urgent, which we have not yet understood.”
Tom Conley, Harvard University
“Fleming extends and fulfills Derrida’s vision of a quasi-totalizing science of writing.  Moving from grammatology to graphology, she shows how trace, mark, supplement, signature, and other terms figure in an open-ended project embracing poetry, cultural theory, book design, psychoanalysis, and media studies. On every page Cultural Graphology brings forward the ferocious wit and brilliance of Derrida’s ways of thinking through writing.”
Derek Attridge, University of York
“An impressively original and absorbing study. Fleming has a very good understanding of the way Derrida engages with issues such as writing, the trace, the mark, and the surface, and is never intimidated by his more extravagant gestures. Drawing on her deep knowledge of early modern materials, she brings into the realm of Derrida’s thinking a fresh set of examples, written with elegance and flair in a prose that moves with ease and skill among different kinds of discourse and between the abstract and concrete.”
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