Derrida's 'The Purveyor of Truth' and constitutional reading

17 Jan 2012

In this article the author explores Jacques Derrida’s reading in ‘The Purveyor of Truth’ of Edgar Allan Poe’s ‘The Purloined Letter’. In his essay, Derrida proposes a reading which differs markedly from the interpretation proposed by Lacan in his Seminar on ‘The Purloined Letter’. To appreciate Derrida’s reading, which is not hermeneutic-semantic in nature like that of Lacan, it is necessary to look at the relation of Derrida’s essay to his other texts on psychoanalysis, more specifically insofar as the Freudian death drive is concerned. The present article explores this ‘notion’ as elaborated on by Freud in Beyond the Pleasure Principle as well as Derrida’s reading of this text. It also investigates the importance of the ‘notion’ of the death drive as well as the significance of Derrida’s reading of The Purloined Letter for constitutional interpretation.