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Derrida and Antiquity$
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Miriam Leonard

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199545544

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199545544.001.0001

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Derrida's Dying Oedipus

Derrida's Dying Oedipus

(p.187) 6 Derrida's Dying Oedipus
Derrida and Antiquity

Rachel Bowlby (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

In Of Hospitality, Derrida used Sophocles' Oedipus at Colonus to think about the suppliant exile, Oedipus, as an old man seeking to die in his own way in a foreign country. He focuses on Oedipus' placing of trust in the Athenian ruler, Theseus, and his anticipation of the impossibility of being mourned by Antigone and Ismene, the daughters to whom the secret of his deathplace, known to Theseus, is not to be divulged. Though it is otherwise the principal question of Of Hospitality, the specific issue of Oedipus' foreignness—and, in the play, his worldwide notoriety—is put to one side; so is the predicament of the sisters, despite Derrida's repeated stress elsewhere in the book on the potential difference of the woman foreigner, l'étrangère. This chapter elaborates on some of the complexities of Sophocles' planétés Oidipous—the ‘wandering’ or ‘globetrotting’ Oedipus—in relation to Derrida's own concern, in his later writings, with questions of both mourning and international influence. It also considers the place of the sisters—and daughters—whom Derrida seems to forget.

Keywords:   Derrida, Sophocles, Oedipus at Colonus, Oedipus, Antigone, hospitality, foreigner, mourning

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