ABSTRACT

Jacques Derrida's Glas seems to defy the familiar categories of genre. Each page is divided into two columns: on the left, a meticulous discussion of Hegel's philosophical works, from his early writings to the Phenomenology of Spirit and the Aesthetics; on the right, a fragmented, lyrical celebration of Jean Genet's literary writings. Straddling the distance between philosophy and literature, Glas combines widely diverse writing styles, modes, levels of discourse and even type-faces. Each of the two columns splits again to allow for marginalia, supplementary comments, lengthy quotations, and dictionary definitions. Paragraphs break off in mid-sentence to make way for undigested material, excerpts from Hegel's correspondence or translations of Poe's poetry, only to resume several pages later. Despite or because of its ‘defiance’ of categorization, this curious and challenging text offers a direct contribution to literary theory: in both form and subject matter, it details a new way of viewing genre definitions.