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Geschlecht III

Sex, Race, Nation, Humanity

A significant event in Derrida scholarship, this book marks the first publication of his long-lost philosophical text known only as “Geschlecht III.” The third, and arguably the most significant, piece in his four-part Geschlecht series, it fills a gap that has perplexed Derrida scholars. The series centers on Martin Heidegger and the enigmatic German word Geschlecht, which has several meanings pointing to race, sex, and lineage. Throughout the series, Derrida engages with Heidegger’s controversial oeuvre to tease out topics of sexual difference, nationalism, race, and humanity. In Geschlecht III, he calls attention to Heidegger’s problematic nationalism, his work’s political and sexual themes, and his promise of salvation through the coming of the “One Geschlecht,” a sentiment that Derrida found concerningly close to the racial ideology of the Nazi party.

Amid new revelations about Heidegger’s anti-Semitism and the contemporary context of nationalist resurgence, this third piece of the Geschlecht series is timelier and more necessary than ever. Meticulously edited and expertly translated, this volume brings Derrida’s mysterious and much awaited text to light.

168 pages | 5-1/2 x 8-1/2 | © 2020

Philosophy: General Philosophy, History and Classic Works


“The publication of Derrida’s third essay on the theme of Geschlecht—sex, generation, race, genus, gender—is a long-awaited event. Geschlecht III is in fact the keystone to all four essays under this rubric. Here, in a seminar from 1984-85, Derrida confronts Heidegger’s uncanny interpretation of Georg Trakl’s poetry, where figures of the brother, the sister, and lovers loom large. The volume, impeccably edited and translated, is crucial for questions of sex and gender, but also for discussions of philosophy and literature generally.”

David Farrell Krell, Emeritus, DePaul University

"This is a well-conceived reconstruction of the hitherto missing central piece of Derrida’s Geschlecht series. Geschlecht III testifies again to the subtlety and insightfulness of Derrida’s reading of Heidegger. It is a provocative reading that exposes the tendency toward gathering and unity in Heidegger’s thought as it explores anew questions such as a non-dual sexuality, the foreign and the homeland, history and nationalism."

Daniela Vallega-Neu, University of Oregon

Geschlecht III explores in greater depth than we have ever seen before the linguistic and conceptual strategies of Heidegger’s text, in the course of an account of Heidegger’s reading of Georg Trakl. The book comprises perhaps the closest reading of a single Heideggerian text that we have, and demonstrates both an extraordinary patience on Derrida’s part and the tenacity of his engagement with Heidegger, which are even more extreme than we might already have suspected.”

Michael Lewis, author of The Beautiful Animal: Sincerity, Charm, and the Fossilised Dialectic

“In this strange, searching text, painstakingly reassembled and masterfully presented by the editors, it is as though all of Derrida’s thought passes through the needle’s eye of the German word (or markGeschlecht. Derrida’s brilliant and persuasive critique of Heidegger’s "philosophical nationalism" also reveals itself to be a subtle interrogation of some of deconstruction’s most cherished thematics: care for the idiom and the untranslatable, the opening of philosophy to literature, the différance of the proper. Geschlecht III is a crucial document for understanding Derrida’s own trajectory and his ever-evolving relation to Heidegger, and it is also a wide-ranging meditation on the modern triangulation of literature, philosophy, and politics.”

Daniel Hoffman-Schwartz, editor of Handsomely Done: Aesthetics, Politics, and Media after Melville

Geschlecht III opens a new chapter in the relation between Derrida and Heidegger, constituting an essential piece not only of Derrida’s Geschlecht series, but of his engagement with Heidegger’s work as a whole. With meticulous care, Derrida interrogates Heidegger’s thinking on questions of language, nationalism, the homeland and the foreign, and sexual difference, all the while sensitive to the particularities of Heidegger’s German, and the challenges of rendering it into a French philosophical idiom. Geschlecht III is a masterclass in reading, in translating, and in reading and translating as a practice of philosophical thinking.”

Samir Haddad, author of Derrida and the Inheritance of Democracy

Table of Contents

Preface by Rodrigo Therezo
Editors’ Note
Geschlecht III

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