I suspect that one reason Derrida enjoyed travelling the world so much was because it allowed him some respite from the bitchy, sectarian, backstabbing, backscratching climate of Parisian intellectual life, which this superb biography faithfully records. What the book fails to underline quite as heavily is how waspish the maitre himself could be. Two dramatic moments stand out in Derrida’s subsequent career. Traveling to communist Prague in 1981 to address a secretly organised philosophy seminar, he was arrested and charged with drug smuggling. It seems the authorities saw the dismantling of binary oppositions as a threat to the state. The police officer who had planted the drugs in Derrida’s suitcase was himself later arrested for drug trafficking.
more from Terry Eagleton at The Guardian here.