The Secret, the Sovereign, and the Lie: Reading Derridaâ€™s Last Seminar
This paper takes up the question of secrecy and sovereignty in Derridaâ€™s final seminar on The Beast and the Sovereign . Focusing primarily on Derridaâ€™s readings of Lacan and Celan in Volume I , it argues that, for Derrida, we should distinguish between the lie (or what Lacan calls â€˜trickeryâ€™ or â€˜feigning feintâ€™), and the secret (or what Celan calls â€˜the secret of an encounterâ€™), and understand the sense in which the former implies an intentional and sovereign human subject, while the latter represents a limit to such a thing, and, arguably, to the concept of sovereignty as such. This explains, or helps explain, why, in his discussions of sovereignty, Derrida spends so much time examining the animal, on the one hand, and poetry, on the other. For, on his account, these both configure secrecy, and specifically what I refer to as the absolute secret.
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