\u201cMore than fifteen years ago,\u201d Jacques Derrida writes in the prologue to this remarkable and uniquely revealing book, \u201ca phrase came to me, as though in spite of me. . . . It imposed itself upon me with the authority, so discreet and simple it was, of a judgment: \u2018cinders there are\u2019 (il y a l\u00e0 cendre). . . . I had to explain myself to it, respond to it-or for it.\u201d In Cinders Derrida ranges across his work from the previous twenty years and discerns a recurrent cluster of arguments and images, all involving in one way or another ashes and cinders.
For Derrida, cinders or ashes-at once fragile and resilient-are \u201cthe better paradigm for what I call the trace-something that erases itself totally, radically, while presenting itself.\u201dIn a style that is both highly condensed and elliptical, Cinders offers probing reflections on the relation of language to truth, writing, the voice, and the complex connections between the living and the dead.
It also contains some of his most essential elaborations of his thinking on the feminine and on the legacy of the Holocaust (both a word-from the Greek h\u00f3los, \u201cwhole,\u201d and kaust\u00f3s, \u201cburnt\u201d-and a historical event that invokes ashes) in contemporary poetry and philosophy.
In turning from the texts of other philosophers to his own, Cinders enables readers to follow the trajectory from Derrida\u2019s early work on the trace, the gramma, and the voice to his later writings on life, death, time, and the spectral.
Among the most accessible of this renowned philosopher\u2019s many writings, Cinders is an evocative and haunting work of poetic self-analysis that deepens our understanding of Derrida\u2019s critical and philosophical vision.