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Farewell Derrida

When the envy and hostility ebbs, he will be remembered as a great artist-philosopher

By Jonathan Rée   November 2004

At the age of 12, Jacques Derrida had a brutal introduction to the adult world. He had been born into a prosperous Jewish family in a village near Algiers in 1930, and enjoyed a sunny childhood. But then the war came, and Pétainism gripped Algeria. Derrida was thrown out of his lycée and told: “French culture was not made for little Jew-boys.” After a year he got back on to the educational ladder, but by now he was surly and disaffected. He spent his time playing football, and failed his baccalauréat in 1947. After that, however, he realised that he…

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