Jacques Derrida, 1930–2004

RP 129 () / Obituary

In an interview with Le Monde published a couple of months before his death at the age of 74 from pancreatic cancer on Friday 9 October 2004, Jacques Derrida confirmed what many already knew, that he was ʻdangerously illʼ, ʻat war against myselfʼ. If questions of ʻsurvivalʼ had always ʻhauntedʼ him, this, he said, took on new meaning in the light of both his pressing health problems and peopleʼs tendency to see him as ʻthe last representative of a “generation”ʼ (Le Monde, 19 August 2004). It would not have surprised him, then, to find that it is this generational context which has, for many, served to frame his passing as more than simply another individual loss to contemporary intellectual life (however significant), but as something like the effective conclusion to a whole era of thought. In a moving piece from 1998, written on the occasion of Lyotardʼs death, Derrida remembered an earlier testimony for Deleuze: ʻI seem to recall having said that I could feel us quite alone now, Jean-François Lyotard and I, the sole survivors of what has been identified as a “generation”.ʼ