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And the Meaning Is . . .

August 09, 1987

I'm an amateur here, but I've been trying to figure out what's so special about deconstruction. Sara Melzer's article on Jacques Derrida (The Book Review, July 12) has helped me see why this has been so much work. Apparently deconstruction, insofar as it is comprehensible, is so unilluminating as to be trivially true.

Melzer writes: ". . . (T)he words in a given system may appear to correspond to an essential and universal meaning outside the system. . . . But in fact, on (Derrida's) view, no meaning exists outside the system."

Personally, I can't imagine otherwise. You can always back up another step and put somebody's meta-system in your system. Whoops! See, I just did it. (Whoops! I did it again. . . .)

JOSEPH F. KELLEHER

San Diego

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