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Title: Sign und Zeit : deconstruction and the medieval text
Author: Pai, Ashlynn Kouchiyama
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 1996
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Sign and Zeit: Deconstruction and the Medieval Text creates a dialogue between deconstruction and medieval literature, which have traditionally been polarised as opposite modes of thought. In this thesis, I deconstruct the conservative viewpoint which regards medieval thought as a prime representative of logocentrism, and which conceives of medieval thought and deconstruction as binary opposites existing in a relation which is similar to other oppositions: old /new, outdated /fashionable, reactionary /radical, theocentric /objective, etc. This thesis challenges the fundamental opposition between deconstruction and medieval thought, which is constructed on oppositions which are themselves grounded in logocentrism. It begins with the assumption that the sphere of Western culture demarcated by Derrida may possess temporal as well as geographical boundaries. Chapter One lays the foundation for later discussions of the ontological theory of signs, while introducing the question whch is central to this thesis, the opposition of speech and writing. Through a reading of Aristotle's De Anima, I argue that the opposition of speech and writing in Of Grammatology actually masks a more fundamental opposition between Being and Becoming. Chapter Two returns again to the question of speech and writing, using Augustine's Confessions as the central text. Chapter Three contains a discussion of a radically different expression of medieval Christian thought, the negative theology of Pseudo -Dionysius. This chapter focuses on the act of speaking, on the effort to speak what is fundamentally inexpressible, and on Derrida's question of how to avoid speaking in order to say nothing, or in the case of negative theologians, how not to speak so that everything can be expressed. Chapter Four moves to a later theory of representation developed by Bonaventure. In this chapter, I interrogate the images of the book, the mirror, and the trace. Chapter Five explores the concepts of allegorical representation and the death of he author in Dante's works. Chapter Six investigates the relation between time and space, using Dante's Paradiso as the focal point in this discussion of the circularity of time. Chapter Seven attempts to bring together the fundamental concepts addressed throughout this thesis and to interpret them, based not on a work from the Middle Ages, but on Derrida's autobiography. In this chapter, my process of deconstruction and my reduction of the opposition between speech and writing becomes complete, ending in a circular model of time in which reading the past allows us to more wisely write the future.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available