Review: Glas-Piece: A Compte Rendu

Spivak, Gayatri C.

I can read Glas as an ancestral rite.
More than half of the Hegel column discusses Hegel's work on the
family, even in such early works as The Spirit of Christianity, where he
suggests that the true pleroma of love and the family became possible
with Christianity, the revealed religion of a Holy Family. He records
Pompey's surprise that the crypt in the Jewish tabernacle was empty, that
there was nothing behind the veil. Derrida has often dwelt on the power
of the veil as an image in terms of truth as aletheia or unveiling, a notion
sustained from Plato through Hegel and Heidegger. In Glas that image
of Truth is associated with the Father. The words derriere les rideaux
(behind the curtain or veil) remind Derrida of the name of his own father,
recently deceased at the time of writing [80b]. Hegel is himself a sort of
father in this text: "To work in the name of Hegel, [... ] I have chosen to
draw on [ ... ] the law of the family" [10a]. And, in the passage from Glas
quoted below, Derrida might be instructing the Christian father who
wrote in The Spirit of Christianity that filial love does indeed inform the
crypt derriere les rideaux (in the name of the Jewish father and behind the
veil) in the tabernacle; he describes the whole undertaking of Glas in
terms of that love: "In Algeria, in the middle of a mosque that the colonists had changed
into a synagogue, the Torah, once out from derriere les rideaux, is carried
about in the arms of a man or a child [ ... ]. Children who have watched the
pomp of this celebration, especially those who were able to give a hand,
perhaps dream of it long after, of arranging there all the bits of their life.
What am I doing here? Let us say that I work at the origin of literature by
miming it. Between the two" [268b-269b].


Also Published In


More About This Work

Academic Units
English and Comparative Literature
Johns Hopkins University Press
Published Here
March 13, 2015