Summer Interlude – Missing Dahlia – Iris and Derrida

The shrine of Francois Dorleac as prologue.

Dorleac and Deneuve
Iris Negative
Digital image Jul. 16 2005

Derrida and Iris Murdoch share a birthday,* they were both born on July 15.
The film “Iris” was unfortunate for Iris Murdoch’s legacy. Now she seems stuck with disabilty of the old – the Alzheimer disease.
On the other hand “Derrida” helped soften Derrida’s image. He seemed like a quiet thoughtful fellow. He was dressing up eggplant with Extra Virgin Oil with great skill and attention. Or listening to his surprise response that he was most curious about philosophers’ sex lives.

I knew superficially of Raymond Queneau pre-Iris-days from Louis Malle’s film Zazie dans le metro. Raymond Q was important to Iris. So was Elias Canneti. I read his autobiography and I found him to be full of himself. He appeared as a character in three of Iris’ novels beginning with “The Flight of Enchanter” and ending with “The Sea, The Sea”. Wittgenstein appeared in “Under the Net” but I did not know about him back then. (Under the Net was my first book I read and it was Iris’ first as well, captivating page turner very different from all of her later novels.)

Missing Dahlia
Iris and Derrida
Digital image Jul. 14, 2005

Once she surprised me with a theme of incest (The Time of the Angels)- this was very rare in the old days.
I tend to see Iris as wise, deep and odd, as opposed to someone like Susan Sontag who was great as an activist, authoritative, glamourous and commanding. Friends of Iris described Iris as an ego less person.

Fun Iris Murdoch – Fragments of Recognition site from Texas.

“Until the escape into art, then nature,
the stories are dark, dark, dark.
Parsifal with no Grail.
Isolde with no Death.
Papageno with no flute.”

“Murdoch’s implicit philosophical position is austere, classical, rigorous: unromantic, and pessimistic. Not that pessimism precludes comedy: on the contrary, it is probably the basis of the comic spirit.
Life after all is comic, not tragic, in Murdoch’s cosmology. It is comic because it is not tragic—merely terrible” (from Joyce Carol Oates – the Sacred and Profane Iris Murdoch).

Go(o)d in Iris Murdoch, by Alan Jacobs.

Location, Location Zazie Said
Iris Murdoch
Digital image Jul. 15 2005

Today, Iris Murdoch does not evoke a passionate response like Derrida does. I think the reason is that Derrida has had a greater influence in the world of academia and intellectuals and he has been the focus of extreme hate or devotion.

Read Judith Butler on Derrida, here.

Derrida’s Elswhere, the film I did not see.

Find Derrida “On Death Penalty” and other great interviews and links from here.

Matt at Pas-audela has many intriguing writings on Derrida. (Try June 05 archive).

Summer Interlude
Murdoch and Derrida
Digital image Jul. 14 2005

*The NYtimes honored Iris M. with a big photo On this day birthday page but failed to do the same for Derrida. This year on July 6, they (NYtimes) forgot to mention the Dalai Lama (an exiled leader) who shared a birthday with George W. (pretender)