Undecidability and Reversibility (I)

Ng, Julia. 2018. 'Undecidability and Reversibility (I)'. In: Twilight Zones: Undecidabilities in Literature and Literary Theory, Arts and Humanities Research Institute. King's College London, United Kingdom 14 September 2018. [Conference or Workshop Item]

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Abstract or Description

At the opening of “The Double Session,” while reflecting on the “decapitation” with which the opening of a session devoted to the practice of reading necessarily begins, Derrida writes of “the ‘semantic reversal’ for which [he] will determine the law of indecision.” Such reversal refers to the complicity of discourse and inscription that Mallarmé’s mime, in mimicking nothing, marks in the condition of possibility of the text – lifting “the decidable exteriority of differing terms” and permitting difference to inscribe itself “without any independent, irreversible terms.” Elsewhere, in Of Grammatology, reversibility is itself modelled after a degree zero of writing, imagined, following Pound’s and Fenollosa’s account of the so-called Chinese ideogram, as a non-phonetic “graphic poetics” capable of de-centering the transcendental authority of epistemé. What sort of textual space, reading, or indeed “acting,” emerges from conceiving of the act that “aims at no form of verisimilitude” as a reversible function? To arrive at an answer, this paper tracks several instances of the co-implication of the two terms, undecidability and reversibility, as they range across discussions of form, de-authorization and the ends of language, with and beyond Derrida and his interlocutors.

Item Type:

Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)

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Departments, Centres and Research Units:

English and Comparative Literature > Centre for Philosophy and Critical Thought


14 September 2018Published

Event Location:

King's College London, United Kingdom

Date range:

14 September 2018

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Date Deposited:

12 Nov 2019 09:27

Last Modified:

12 Nov 2019 09:27



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