Derrida’s Breakfast (2016)

Two knifes-full of butter from a deep glass dish, a third of a slab remaining, onto dry toast, now hardened, upon which then are spread two knifes-full of creamed honey from a jar. Beside a six- or eight-cup coffee pot, two-thirds full, a cup of coffee already poured, black. All one sees, before the camera shifts away.

Breakfast, evidently. And is it lunch, in the second scene, a plate now in place before the chair, and a glass bowl just taken from the refrigerator, the top covered with plastic wrap, in which, when the wrap is removed, are revealed – after much thought, slow-motion replay and examination, it seems they cannot be much else – perhaps ten or twelve fillets of herring, presumably pickled? With a fork he takes, in two loads, one piece at first and then two with the second, and transfers them to the plate, covers the bowl again with the plastic and places it back in the refrigerator. Reaching up to a shelf above the opposite side of the table, he takes a small glass pichet of olive oil, to pour a dash over the fish. Replacing this pichet – let’s call it a jug, for reasons yet to become apparent – he now, from the same place, takes down a shaker and sprinkles salt over the meal.

Sitting down, he then, from a corner of the table off-right, lifts toward himself a box of Ceréal-brand petits pains grilles, and places it to his right, between himself and the camera. On the table are also a large bottle of orange juice, a glass which may or may not – it is difficult to tell – contain a centimetre of water, and not one but two pairs of eye-glasses. Do they both belong to the philosopher, or does one of them belong to someone else – his wife Marguerite, say, or Amy Ziering Kofman, the film’s co-director[1], or perhaps the camera operator, Kirsten Johnson?

To write of these scenes, of course, is not quite so simple as it may appear. Is it ‘knife-fulls’, which the Word program tries to tell me is a misspelling, or ‘knifes-full’, which it accepts, for I am writing about the one knife, filled – in fact it is swiped, but this seems too aggressive a term – twice. And is it ‘knifes’ or ‘knives’?  Nor do I know that it is butter – it may be margarine – or that what, in the breakfast scene, is then spread from the jar (is this a small matter?[2]) is creamed honey; simply something white, that spreads like creamed honey, from a jar that looks to be a jar of commercial creamed honey. It is all comparative experience, all deduction.

By the same token I don’t know that the slices he takes from the glass bowl in the second scene are pickled herring. They may be some other fish. They may not be fish at all. They may, for example, be slices of marinated eggplant. Perhaps assumptions – prejudices – are making me see some things rather than others. Should I say ‘small glass pitcher’ instead of ‘pichet’? Should I say ‘jug’? And is it perhaps not olive oil? May it not be pepper instead of salt? Should I or should I not point out the visual pun of glass and glasses?

Nor do I know why the directors have chosen to film these particular sequences, let alone include them in their documentary. In the moment between placing the plastic wrap back over the bowl and returning the fillets to the refrigerator – standing there with the bowl in his right hand, ten centimetres above the table-top, Derrida reaches out to turn on the small radio over to the left of his plate. ‘The military chief of the Hezbollah, the pro-Iranian movement,’ we hear (but it is in French, this is subtitle translation) as he places the bowl into the refrigerator, ‘was killed this morning in South Lebanon by an attack from an Israeli helicopter which destroyed the car of the Hezbollah chief. Israel then launched an operation targeting many positions of the Hezbollah in South Lebanon. In Rwanda the refugees are continuing their exodus. There are now 45,000 who are walking towards Tanzania.…’ – but now it is the philosopher we are hearing, in a voice-over, the news report continuing but so quietly that we cannot make out any particulars. ‘The racism that I experienced the most,’ he is telling his interviewer, and so telling us, ‘was the anti-semitism that was permanent in Algeria…’ – this last part spoken not with the backdrop of the kitchen, but ‘in person’ from a seat somewhere else, where, in a different coloured shirt, the philosopher is in conversation.

The meal, with this overlay, takes on even more of an aura of ritual. So simple, the fish, the oil, the salt, the breads. One thinks of the Seder plate. A tension, here, between religion and something else – between rite and thought, perhaps, rite and ethics.

I am so interested in the philosopher’s breakfast, his lunch/dinner – the what he eats – because I have recently been reading, closely, a book by this philosopher (The Animal That Therefore I Am[3]), in which he claims quite openly to be leading philosophy in a new direction, forcing it to make ‘the animal-turn’.[4]

The book was published in France in 2006 and in English translation in 2008, though these dates are deceptive. It is in fact a transcription, and then a translation, of notes from some long lectures he gave ten years before to a conference on his work in Cerisy-la-Salle. The conference was entitled ‘The Autobiographical Animal’ (l’Animal Autobiographique). The philosopher – it is of course Jacques Derrida – died in 2004. The documentary in question – it is titled, very simply, Derrida – was released in 2002. From several references in that documentary to a recent ‘autobiography conference’ it is reasonable to assume that filming might have begun as early as 1997.

The passage in the documentary immediately following the breakfast scene is significant. In a way it’s a disjunction, a disavowal of the importance of things like breakfast. ‘At the biography conference’ – the words from the interviewer come immediately after the second swipe of honey, but by now they are in a different place, far from the breakfast-room  –

You quoted Heidegger as saying you could sum up the life of Aristotle as ‘Aristotle was born, he thought, and he died’, and then, when I asked you about your life with Marguerite, you said ‘I can give you the facts, the dates, and that’s it.’ Can you offer some commentary on that?

– to which Derrida responds:

Even though I’m not in agreement with Heidegger when he says the life of a philosopher can be summed up as his birth, death, and thought […] nevertheless I feel close to him and I understand what he says, and in a certain manner I subscribe to his belief as well. […] If the story of one’s life, the details, the anecdotes, the daily events, can only be inadequately told, then what remains essential for both me and Heidegger to know is what a person thinks and writes philosophically.

Later, in a scene immediately after that of the fish and the oil, he returns to this issue to make a further point. ‘Sometimes,’ he says, ‘one who reads a text by a philosopher, for instance a tiny paragraph, and interprets it in a rigorous, inventive and powerfully deciphering fashion is more of a real biographer than the one who knows the whole story’.

There are many things inherent within this last statement, and simply to say that I am in sympathy is perhaps not to say much at all. I should perhaps specify that I am in sympathy with that part of the statement that it seems to share with Pascal’s maxim le style c’est l’homme même (‘the style is the man’, from Pensées), and its sense (which I cannot be sure that Pascal ever intended) that one’s ethics permeate one’s actions, and that everything one does is in some way a moral gesture. I am interested, that is to say, in its connection with the daily life, not in its separation from it. Given the quotes I have presented from earlier in the documentary, this sense would seem to be in some contradiction to Derrida’s own.

In an interview with Jean-Luc Nancy of at least ten years before (published in French in 1989, and in English translation in 1991[5]), Derrida speaks very directly about eating, and in a rather off-hand and perhaps disparaging manner about vegetarianism. ‘The Heideggerian discourse on the animal’, he says at one point, ‘is violent and awkward, at times contradictory’:

[C]an the call heard by Dasein come originally to or from the animal? Is there an advent of the animal? Can the voice of the friend be that of an animal? Is friendship possible for the animal or between animals? Like Aristotle, Heidegger would say: no. Do we not have a responsibility toward the living in general? The answer is still ‘no,’ and this may be because the question is formed, asked in such a way that the answer must necessarily be ‘no’ according to the whole canonized or hegemonic discourse of Western metaphysics or religions [112]

‘I am not recalling this’, he continues, ‘in order to start a support group for vegetarianism, ecologism, or for the societies for the protection of animals – which is something I might also want to do, and something which would lead us to the center of the subject’:

I feel compelled to underscore the sacrificial structure of the discourses to which I am referring. I don’t know if ‘sacrificial structure’ is the most accurate expression. In any case, it is a matter of discerning a place left open, in the very structure of these discourses (which are also ‘cultures’) for a noncriminal putting to death. Such are the executions of ingestion, incorporation, or introjection of the corpse. An operation as real as it is symbolic when the corpse is ‘animal’ (and who can be made to believe that our cultures are carnivorous because animal proteins are irreplaceable?), a symbolic operation when the corpse is ‘human.’ [112]

‘[I]t suffices to take seriously’, he says a little later in the same interview, again ambivalent – arguably rather careless[6] – toward the vegetarian:

the idealizing interiorization of the phallus and the necessity of its passage through the mouth, whether it’s a matter of words or of things, of sentences, of daily bread or wine, of the tongue, the lips, or the breast of the other. You will possibly want to object: there are ethical, juridical, and political subjects (recognized only quite recently, as you well know), full (or almost full) citizens who are also women and/or vegetarians! But this has been admitted in principle, and in rights, only recently and precisely at the moment when the concept of subject is submitted to deconstruction. [113]

‘The virile strength of the adult male,’ he elaborates, rehashing an ancient saw (one might say sore):

belongs to the schema that dominates the concept of subject. The subject does not want just to master and possess nature actively. In our cultures, he accepts sacrifice and eats flesh. Since we haven’t much time or space here, and at the risk of provoking some screaming (we pretty much know from which quarter), I would ask you: in our countries, who would stand any chance of becoming a chef d’État […] and of thereby acceding ‘to the head,’ by publicly, and therefore exemplarily, declaring him- or herself to be a vegetarian? The chief must be an eater of flesh (with a view, moreover, to being ‘symbolically’ eaten himself […]). To say nothing of the celibate, of homosexuality, and even of femininity (which for the moment, and so rarely, is only admitted to the head of whatever it might be, especially the State, if it lets itself be translated into a virile and heroic schema.) [114]

It would be a mistake to see these statements as, or as containing, attacks on vegetarianism per se. What is more important to notice is the manner in which Derrida sees the consumption of flesh, actual or symbolic, as central to the logos itself (elsewhere in the interview he speaks of carno-phallogocentrism [113]), and even the abstaining from such consumption – as is vegetarianism – as a necessary and in-forming abjection, in effect a form of rather than an abstention from that logos. The subject is formed by the logos and, as it happens, it is the subject, or rather the deconstructed subject – a critique of the notion of the integrated subject – that is the principal focus of this interview (and that can be seen – for example in the critique of presence – as one of the principal foci of Derrida’s work more generally).

Jessica Carey identifies Derrida’s principal objection to vegetarianism – please note that we have not even begun to speak of veganism – as lying in its apparent rigidity, its seeming ethical certainty, since it is just such orders of fixedness that brace the integrated subject. ‘Derrida’s most fervent objection to vegetarianism’, she writes,

is that he sees the vegetarian decision as having renounced the hard work of aporetic tension. He argues that ‘casting doubt on responsibility, on decision, on one’s own being-ethical, seems to me to be – and is perhaps what should forever remain – the unrescindable essence of ethics: decision and responsibility’ (‘And Say’ 128).  Consequently, because of the seeming ethical certainty of vegetarians, he cannot ‘believe in absolute “vegetarianism,” nor in the ethical purity of its intentions’ (‘Violence’ 67). As Wood argues, ‘Derrida’s ambivalence toward vegetarianism seems to rest on the restricted, cautious assessment of its significance; one which would allow vegetarians to buy good conscience on the cheap’ (‘Comment’ 32).[7]

A number of things might be said about this. Perhaps the most pertinent is that the idea/dream of the dis- or un- or de-integrated subject upon which it is arguably based contains and depends upon a troubling power-relation. On the one hand, only a subject confident in its own integration can posit a disintegration of the subject. On the other, a theory of the disintegrated subject, ‘purely philosophical’ as it might appear to be, further represses and disempowers subjectivities not recognised by the prevailing discourse (such as those of animals, for example).

A second and just as significant argument is more straightforward. That Derrida’s assertion that vegetarianism avoids or abandons the tension – and responsibility – of continual ethical interrogation and doubt for a program which in essence allows it, in Wood’s words, to ‘buy good conscience on the cheap’, is in fact, in this instance, something akin to doubting for doubt’s sake; or, rather, and more seriously, a doubting-for-doubt’s-sake which not only masks a simple and troublesome refusal to take a step which so much else in what I have quoted from him so far seems to indicate Derrida realises is a step that should be taken, but seems willingly, almost belligerently – lodged, we might say, in its own ‘seeming ethical certainty’ – to turn its back upon some very obvious, strong and insistent questions: i.e. in doubting the decision not to eat meat, is Derrida seriously suggesting that this decision should not be a permanent one, and that circumstances may come about in which it is ethically correct to eat meat? And in insisting that the decision not to eat meat should be under constant scrutiny, is he seriously suggesting that the would-be vegetarian should ask and decide upon this question at every meal?

But these arguments, significant as they may have been within this context, pale somewhat in the face of a further. Derrida’s assertion that the decision to become a vegetarian – still we are saying nothing of veganism, which (strangely) does not seem to have been in his thinking at this time – is an end to ethical problematics, an avoidance of ethical tension, is quite simply, and I will be bold enough to say this, naïve, a failure to think, in this great thinker, that can only come from his aforementioned – indeed rather laboriously discussed – separation of philosophy from actual, i.e. non-textual, non-vicarious, un-sponsored-by-previous-philosophy, experience. The experience, let us say, of living with animals (ah, but he would say he lives with his cat!) with concerted attention to those animals and to the problematics, the ethics, of one’s interaction with them (to say nothing of one’s interactions for them), an ‘ethics’ which, over and again (in the experience of this subject, at least) serves only to expose the limits, the inadequacy and insufficiency, of what we have traditionally called – and Derrida still seems to call – ethics.

‘Eating Well’ is a comparatively early piece. The Cerisy-la-Salle conference is almost a decade later. And early in that conference Derrida makes some very strong statements concerning the animal – notwithstanding what he speaks of as the ‘intellectual violence’ of that blanket term itself. ‘Everyone knows’ he writes at the ‘turn’ of the first lecture:

what terrifying and intolerable pictures a realist painting could give to the industrial, mechanical, chemical, hormonal, and genetic violence to which man has been submitting animal life for the past two centuries. [26][8]

‘No one can deny seriously,’ he has already stated:

or for very long, that men do all they can in order to dissimulate this cruelty or to hide it from themselves; in order to organize on a global scale the forgetting or misunderstanding of this violence, which some would compare to the worst cases of genocide [26]

The question for philosophy, he concludes, will now no longer be to know

whether they can speak or reason thanks to that capacity or that attribute of the logos…(…the thesis… maintained from Aristotle to Heidegger, from Descartes to Kant, Levinas and Lacan). The first and decisive question will rather be to know whether animals can suffer.

‘Can they suffer?’ asks Bentham, simply yet so profoundly.

Once its protocol is established, the form of this question changes everything. [27]

I will not say that such comments are cutting-edge or ahead of their time – certainly they are not – but they are (for example) made five years before Charles Patterson’s Eternal Treblinka,[9] and from a philosopher of such stature as Derrida’s they are striking and might even inspire some hope that things might be beginning to shift in what we might call the Privy Chamber of the Western mind. And were it not for the footage I have been discussing we would almost certainly have held out hope, based on such passages, that Derrida’s attitude toward vegetarianism has changed. And yet, of course, the scenes from the documentary were filmed after these comments were made.  Clearly, acknowledgement of the immense suffering imposed upon animals by human appetite has not crossed the border to Derrida’s own breakfast. Instead, and to the dismay of those whose hopes he might have just raised, he exhibits the deep doubling that seems both endemic and epidemic when it comes to thinking the animal.

Hopes were momentarily raised again when I read, in For What Tomorrow…, a collection of interviews with the psychoanalyst and historian Elisabeth Roudinesco published in the year of Derrida’s death, his question/statement to her that:

I believe that the spectacle man creates for himself in his treatment of animals will become intolerable. […] If you were actually placed every day before the spectacle of this industrial slaughter, what would you do?[10] [71]

To which Roudinesco replies, disturbingly (some would say extraordinarily), but also usefully for anyone exploring the doubling I have just mentioned:

I wouldn’t eat meat anymore, or I would live somewhere else. But I prefer not to see it, even though I know that this intolerable thing exists. I don’t think that the visibility of a situation allows one to know it better. Knowing is not the same as looking. [71]

‘But if, every day,’ Derrida responds, seemingly reluctant to let her get away with this,

there passed before your eyes, slowly, without giving you time to be distracted, a truck filled with calves leaving the stable on its way to the slaughterhouse, would you be unable to eat meat for a long time? [71]

But it is a glimpse only, as if the clouds have parted for a few seconds to reveal the moon. The clouds very swiftly drift over again; the moon becomes less apparent with each subsequent sentence. ‘I would move away’, replies Roudinesco:

But really, sometimes I believe that, in order to understand a situation better […] it is best not to be an eyewitness to it. And then, let’s not forget that gastronomy is an integral part of culture! Could the French culinary tradition do without meat?

J.D.: There are other resources available for our gastronomic refinement. Industrial meat is not the last word in gastronomy. Besides, more and more […] people prefer beasts raised in certain conditions said to be more ‘natural’ […]. Therefore, it will indeed be necessary, in the name of the very gastronomy you’re speaking of, to transform practices and ‘mentalities.’ [72]

Already we can see that the skies have closed. ‘José Bové’s struggle against “bad American food,”’ Roudinesco continues, ‘and against McDonalds in particular, is perhaps a first sign of this change. Likewise the problem of “mad cow disease”’, and then, to close off this increasingly embarrassing discussion: ‘To return to the question of animality, I remain attached to the idea of a certain division between the animal and the human’.

Rather than forcing her to stick to the point of his earlier questions, Derrida now follows her without protest. Indeed – closer to the heart of the matter – he makes no real point of his own. When I found, at last, in Benoît Peeters’ Derrida: A Biography, a clearer indication of Derrida’s diet – Avital Ronell’s recollection that

with me and in front of me, he said he was a vegetarian. But one day, someone told me he had eaten a steak tartare, as carnivorous a kind of food as you can get. For me, it was as if he had betrayed me. When I spoke to him about it, he initially said that I was behaving like a cop. Then he said, neatly: ‘I’m a vegetarian who sometimes eats meat.’[11]

– I cannot say that I was surprised.

Before we can move toward any kind of conclusion, however, there remains the major stumbling-block of The Beast & the Sovereign, two substantial volumes of Derrida’s presentations to his final seminar series, at the École des hautes études en sciences sociales, in 2001-2002, on the subject of the deep and intricate interrelation of animality and sovereignty.[12] Given his numerous prior expressions of his intention to address directly and intensively ‘the question of the animal’, and of how he holds this question to be at the heart of Western philosophy, one could be forgiven for thinking that, at last, in these seminars, that address has come, and perhaps even for maintaining a hope of some major advance therein in the turn toward the animal.

What we get is a little different. An immense reprise of Western philosophy – or, at least, of Derrida’s accustomed route through it – from this perspective, yes, but also a labyrinthine presentation in kind of the problem impeding any such turn.

Animals, that is to say, are rarely glimpsed in this monumental work. At least, not the living, suffering animals to whom Derrida nods so warmly, sympathetically and briefly in a few pages of The Animal That Therefore I Am, and a few sentences of For What Tomorrow…. The metaphorical animal, the allegorical animal, the animal of fable and philosophy, yes, and sometimes, through the writing of another, as through Derrida’s curious reading of D.H. Lawrence’s ‘Snake’ (see ‘Meeting Place’ below), something of a closer encounter, but mostly, when they are in the vicinity at all, it is to leave one with a sense of someone writing about them remotely and conceptually, with his back to them.

That, and an impression I have had so often before, of Derrida and many others, that one can be so swamped by one’s own erudition – but it’s more than that: it is the Oedipal, the respect for tradition, the anxiety to prove oneself before it – that one can never move it, or one’s thought and position very far from it, out of the feeling that every such movement, every potential departure, must address that tradition, must move it with one. It is as if, when he sees something to be done, although he sees something to be done, as he clearly does in the face of animal suffering, Derrida feels he must move the entire deconstructed edifice with him, addressing it, shifting it, piece by piece, so that although there can be moments of clear and even radical perception and statement, there is, always and almost immediately, this turning back to the task of shifting bricks. It is, perhaps, that feature of philosophy which Heidegger so proudly described as its forever going around in circles. And perhaps more.

Vegetarianism may be only a case in point, but in terms of the animal it is a pivotal one. And he will do it – make the vegetarian change – Derrida seems to imply, if he can argue himself to that point, make of it a philosophical inevitability. But that that will happen is most unlikely. The philosophical method in which he is enmired – amidst all his proclamations otherwise – is a continuous loop. Or perhaps, from an animal perspective, a conveyor-belt. Any actual animal straying into its vicinity is likely to be caught up and in effect dismembered, removed from itself, in philosophy’s processes of metaphorisation and anthropogenic, conceptual instrumentalisation.

Outrageous, naïve, crude and simplistic as it might seem to say so – a bêtise, as Derrida might call it, but we must get used to seeing ourselves estranged in this way – something more than mind is needed to make the leap that animals demand of us. Although the philosophical turn, if and when it is at last made, may be of profound, perhaps of almost immeasurable aid, and as millions of intellectually convinced would-be vegetarians have found as they have slipped almost inevitably back into a carnist default, the mind alone, Western and otherwise, is for the moment so enmeshed in defences of its own monstrosity (‘carno-phallologocentricity’) that, try as it might, no such leap, as leap, is possible to it. Something more is needed. A leap of compassion, let’s say, a leap of the heart, and something – people have called it a peeling of the eye – that is harder and less common still, perhaps almost like revelation.

[1]     Derrida (Zeitgeist Films, 2002), dir. Kirby Dick, Amy Ziering Kofman.

[2]     ‘But bees!?’ I imagine being asked – as a vegan it’s a question one faces often – ‘why a proscription against honey, why bees?’ Because honey for humans is not what the bees intended. The honey that we eat was in fact made and stored for the combined purpose of feeding the bees during the winter months when sources of pollen are low, and for raising the next generation. While bees may not be unaccommodated in the hives that a beekeeper provides, a hand reaches in, after so many weeks of labour, and takes away all that they have done, all they have stored, so that they have to begin again. To produce a single jar of honey, it is widely claimed (e.g. Wikipedia), bees have to travel the equivalent of fifty-five thousand miles, or nearly three times around the world. A worker honey bee will not make much more than a twelfth of a teaspoon of honey in her lifetime. Humans, over thousands of years, have ‘semi-domesticated’ the honey bee, and – for I am now considering the other hand – it is taken as a truism that honey bees make more honey than they need for the abovementioned purposes. Slaves, we might consider, are partly characterised, if not defined as such, by being made to work more than, in a non-enslaving society, they would be required to work in order to meet their needs. ‘Domesticated’ bees may produce more honey than they need, but they do so because honey is taken away and they must work more to meet those needs. This extra labour is their enslavement. Humans, it is widely believed, do not have the right to enslave one another, but it is also widely believed that they have the right to enslave other creatures. Whether or not any of this should affect our consumption of honey is a matter of ethics in one of the more radical senses of the word: has to do, that is to say, with our negotiation of the space between our understanding of human behaviour (human ethology) and bee behaviour (apian ethology). In spreading honey on our toast we have either not thought about the issue at all, or decided that it is our right to enslave bees, that we do not care whether or not it is our right to enslave bees, or that such use of bees is not enslavement. Whichever choice we make, even if we are not aware of making any choice at all, reflects an ethical position, albeit one we might never have thought to consider as such.

[3]     Lectures originally presented at a conference (L’Animal autobiographique) in Cerisy-la-Salle in 1997, first published as L’animal que donc je suis (Paris: Galilée, 2006), trans. David Wills as The Animal That Therefore I Am (Fordham University Press, 2008).

[4]     I should state at the outset that the use of the word ‘animal’, as an umbrella term, is always problematic, for reasons that Derrida himself has eloquently pointed out, and that in these essays is it used, accordingly, under erasure. See notes 18 and 32 below.

[5]     ‘“Eating Well” or the Calculation of the Subject: an Interview with Jacques Derrida’, in Who Comes After the Subject?, eds Eduardo Cadava, Peter Connor, Jean-Luc Nancy (New York and London: Routledge, 1991), 96-119, originally Après le sujet qui vient (Paris: Cahiers Confrontations 20, 1989). Matthew Calarco discusses this interview and Derrida’s position re vegetarianism in his Zoographies: the Question of the Animal from Heidegger to Derrida (New York: Columbia University Press, 2008), 132-36.

[6]     Is he really claiming that there were, ‘only quite recently’, countries where vegetarianism disqualified one from full citizenship? Such regimes may have prevailed somewhere at some time, but I cannot find reference to them. It is a pity he doesn’t elaborate. And, from the next paragraph quoted (and not to re-open the old sore of the vegetarian as totalitarian, violent megalomaniac, etc.) he seems strangely unaware, in his claim that no vegetarian could become a head of state, that Hitler was a vegetarian (or rather, like Derrida himself, ‘a vegetarian who sometimes [ate] meat’), that Ghandi was a vegetarian, that Morarji Desai was a vegetarian, etc. But no doubt exceptions prove the rule. (Alfred Deakin, second Prime Minister of Australia, was also a vegetarian.)

[7]     Jessica Carey, ‘The Politics of Friends: Animals and Deconstructive Opportunity’, McMaster University, Canada, 2005: <[1].Derrida.Paper.doc>. Works cited in this passage: ‘And Say’ refers to ‘And Say the Animal Responded?’ (Derrida), trans. Cary Wolfe and David Wills, Zoontologies: The Question of the Animal (Minnesota: University of Minnesota Press, 2003), 121-146; ‘Violence’ refers to ‘Violence Against Animals’, in For What Tomorrow…: a dialogue (Derrida/Roudinesco: see note 10 below); ‘Comment’ refers to David Wood, ‘Comment ne pas manger – Deconstruction and Humanism’, Animal Others: On Ethics, Ontology, and Animal Life, ed. H. Peter Steeves (Albany: SUNY Press, 1999), 15-36.

[8]     Page numbers are to the Fordham University Press edition.

[9]     Charles Patterson, Eternal Treblinka: Our Treatment of Animals and the Holocaust (New York: Lantern Books, 2002).

[10]    Jacques Derrida and Elisabeth Roudinesco, ‘Violence Against Animals’, in For What Tomorrow…: a dialogue, trans. Jeff Fort (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2004), 62-76 (71/2).

[11]    Benoît Peeters, Derrida: A Biography (Cambridge: Polity Press, 2012).

[12]   Edited by Michel Lisse, Marie-Louise Mallet and Ginette Michaud. First published as Séminaire: La bête et le souverain by Éditions Galilée in 2008 and 2010. English translation by Geoffrey Bennington (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2009 [vol. I] and 2011 [vol. II]).