The Double Session by Jacques Derrida


Silence, sole luxury after rhymes, an orchestra only marking with its gold, its burshes with thought and dusk, the detail of its signification on a par with a stilled ode and which it is up to the poet, roused by a dare, to translate! The silence of an afternoon of music; I find it, with contentment, also, before the ever original reappearance of Pierrot or of the poignant and elegant mime Paul Margueritte.

Such is this PIERROT MURDERER OF HIS WIFE composed and set down by himself, a mute soliloquy that the phantom, white as a yet unwritten page, holds in both face and gesture at full length to his soul. A whirlwind of naïve or new reasons emanates, which it would be pleasing to seize upon with security; the aesthetics of the genre situated closer to principles than any!(no)thing in this region of caprice foiling the direct simplifying instinct…This – ‘The scene illustrates but the idea, not any actual action, in a hymen (out of which flows Dream), tainted with vice yet sacred, between desire and fulfilment, perpetration and remembrance: here anticipating, there recalling, in the future, in the past, under the false appearance of a present. That is how the Mime operates, whose act is confined to a perpetual allusion without breaking the ice or the mirror: he thus sets up a medium, a pure medium, of fiction.’ Less than a thousand lines, the role, the one that reads, will instantly comprehend the rules as if placed before the stage-boards, their humble depository. Surprise, accompanying the artifice of a notation of sentiments by unproffered sentences – that, in the sole case, perhaps, with authenticity, between the sheets and the eye there reigns a silence still, the condition and delight of reading.

Le silence, seul luxe après les rimes, un orchestre ne faisant avec son or, ses frôlements de pensée et de soir, qu’en détailler la signification à l’égal d’une ode tue et que c’est au poète, suscité par un défi, de traduire! Le silence aux après-midi de musique; je le trouve, avec contentment, aussi, devant la réapparition toujours inédite de Pierrot on du poignant et élégant mime Paul Margueritte.

Ainsi ce PIERROT ASSASSIN DE SA FEMME composé et rédigé par lui-même, soliloque muet que, tout du long à son âme tient at du visage et des gestes le fantôme blanc comme une page pas encore écrite. Un tourbillon de raisons naïves ou neuves émane, qu’il plairait de saisir avec sûreté: l’aesthétique du genre situé plus près de principes qu’aucun! Rien en cette region du caprice ne contrariant l’instinct simplificateur direct…Voici – ‘La scène n’illustre que l’idée, pas une action effective, dans un hymen (d’où procède le Rêve), vicieux mais sacré, entre le désir et l’accomplissement, la perpétration at son souvenir: ici devançant, là remémorant, au futur, au passé, son une apparence fausse de présent. Tel opère le Mime, don’t le jeu se borne à une allusion perpétuelle sans briser la glace: il installe, ainsi, un milieu, pur, de fiction.’ Moins qu’un millier de lignes, le rôle, qui le lit, tout de suite comprend les règles comme placé devant un tréteau, leur dépositaire humble. Surprise, accompagnant l’artifice d’une notation de sentiments par phrases point proférées – que, dans le seul cas, peut-être, avec authenticité, entre les feuillets et le regard règne un silence encore, condition et délice de la lecture.

Soller’s Letter

‘the 12 (midnight)

MIMIQUE, or rather me+meek, that is, mimed self-effacement; mimicry – me, me, cry? Crime, me? My mere key? Mama’s queue? The sigh lends and dares that text in excess as that which follows – in the after – no one – the repetition of l’after in a mimed (rhymed) echo, the coming of the golden are being at first music (or-chestra), the son or us, and then, amid the roles, the soul luxury of the lying lustre, the sign node, the sign ode, the synodical stillness, the killed ode –

(synodical: the interval between two successive conjunctions of a planet or the moon with the sun) – not successive in conjunction with the son –

there are eyes between the sheets, eye-dice, I.D.’s, i-deas, ‘I’ dies, the eyes dive between the sheets (primal scene)

(throw of (d)ice)

de-tail on a par(ent)

the poignant poll, the elegant pall

the scene makes illustrious, beneath the lustre, only the well red sheets of d’s(ire) (v)ice in the tain, out of the dream flee no gift (ap)parently (present) either – the phantasm


flowing, foiling

the filament of the full

father and father in


the me(I)you of function

The high men

The I menses

The I’s or/a thou’s and

lesson a thousand lies, the one that reads

come, pretend the rules

be for the bored, their hymn bled Poe’s story

sure prize? Oh then tent city

between the she and the I, the diction and the light of reading.’

Lettre de Sollers

‘Le 12 (minuit).

MIMIQUE, ou plutôt  mi+mi+que, c’est-à-dire deux fois les moitiés plus l’indication ou l’intimation subjonctive de la subordination mimée; mi-mais? Mais-qui? Mimi à que(ue)? Queue de mémé?

Le si lance et défie le texte en excès comme ce qui succède – dans l’après mi-dit – à la répétition du rire en écho mimé (rimé) l’arrivée d’or étant tout d’abord musique (or-chestre) et cela fait (si + or) = soir au milieu des rôles et du lustre que meut – silence meurtrier, silence tué –

(synodique: temps qui s’ecoule entre deux nouvelles lunes consécutives) – pas tant qu’il ne soient freinés – LIT/DES (il y en a des qui son dans le lit) (scène primitive) (coup de dés) – queue déliant l’idée –

La scène ne rend pas près des cieux que le rêve, sacré – ça crée en cédant au rêve – en s’aidant au rêve – pas de cadeau non plus (présent) apparent – le fantasme blanc – procédant, pro-créant –

plissement du con, pétration du père

(ô père)


foutre futur passé glacé opéra –

mimière –

L’I mène –

LE MIME (neutre) est un demi-moi opéré, infini borné dans son unique stalle pur de toute

fiction, un demi-lieu et un demi-dieu –

retour des règles –

mime/milieu = moins/millier

(qu’y le lit/qui le l’y)(lie)

très tôt-en dépot: s’y taire

lignes: phrases-points, que/con, sur-prise liée –

au temps cité, luxe du silence ferré: un si lance en qu’or –

condiction d’hélice au regard; feuilleté: des lisses -‘

The fact that the French word for bed, lit, can also mean reads is pirotal to this analysis, in which what Mallarmé calls the ‘desperate practice’ of reading is so deeply embedded. ‘Reading’ indeed, is the last word of Mimique.

breaching; french: frayage

don’t speak of my spinal column, since it’s a sword.

I thought that as I had failed in the contemplation of true existence (ta onta), I ought to be careful that I did not lose the eye of my soul; as people may injure their bodily eye by observing and gazing on the sun during an eclipse, unless they take the precaution of only looking at the image (eikona) reflected in the water, or in some analogous medium. So in my own case, I was afraid that my soul might be blinded altogether if I looked at things with my eyes or tries to apprehend them with the help of the senses. And I thought that I had better have recourse to the world of idea (en logois) and seek there the truth of things…So, basing myself in each case on the idea (logon) that I judged to be the strongest…

letting itself get stoned [médusée] by its own signs, its own guardians, by the types committed to the keeping and surveillance of knowledge, it will sink down into Lethe, overcome by non-knowledge and forgetfulness. Memory and truth cannot be separated. The movement of aletheia (truth; the state of not being hidden; the state of being evident) is a deployment of mneme through and through. (Mneme: 1. Psychology the retentive basis or basic principle in a mind or organism accounting for memory, persisting effect of memory of past events. A unit of memory and taken from the Greek mimneskesthai, to remember (and ultimately from Mnemosyne, the Greek goddess of memory.) 2. (capitalised) Class. Myth. the Muse of memory, one of the original three Muses. Cf.”Aoede, Melete.”) A deployment of living meory, of memory as psychic life in its self-presentation to itself. The powers of Lethe simultaneously increase the domains of death , of nontruth, of nonknowledge. This is why writing, at least insofar as it sows ‘forgetfulness in the soul’, turns us toward the inanimate and toward nonknowledge. But it cannot be said that its essence simply and presently confounds it with death or nontruth. For writing has no essence or value of its own, whether positive or negative. It plays within the simulacrum. It is in its type the mime of memory, of knowledge, of truth, etc.

The Pharmakos: Writing must thus return to being what it should never have ceased to be: an accessory, an accident, an excess.

Bewitchment: French: l’envoûtement

the colour of a woman’s stockings is not necessarily in the likeness of her eyes, which led a philosopher who it is pointless to mention, to say: ‘Cephalopods have more reasons to hate progress than do quadrupeds.’ Max Morise

Ganser Syndrome, or beside-the-point replies. E.g. what is your name? Forty-five houses

The place of interest, then, this corner between literature and truth, will form a certain angle. It will be a figure of holding back, of the angle ensured by a fold.

– In this dialogue that has run out of voice, the need for the book or for writing in the soul is only felt through lack of the presence of the other, through lack of any employment of the voice: the object is to reconstitute the presence of the other by substitution, and by the same token to repair the vocal apparatus.

– The hymen enters into the antre. Entre can just as easily be written with an ‘a’. Indeed, are these two (e) (a)ntres not really the same? Littre: ANTRE. sm. 1. Cave, natural grotto, deep, dark cavern. ‘These antres, these braziers that offer us oracles’, Voltaire, Oedipe II, 5. 2. Fig. The antres of the police, of the Inquisition. 3. Anatomy: name given to certain bone cavities. -Syn: Antre, cave, grotto. Cave, an empty, hollow, concave space in the form of a vault, is the generic term; antre is a deep, dark, black cave; grotto is a picturesque cave created by nature or by man. Etym. Antrum; sanscrit, ntara, cleft, cave. Antara properly signifies ‘internal’ and thus is related to the Latin preposition inter (see entre). Provenc. antre; Spanish and Italian antro. And the entry for ENTRER (to enter) ends with the same etymological reference.

The internal of the entre, the in-between of the hymen one might be tempted to visualise these as the hollow or bed of a valley (vallis) without which there would be no mountains, like the sacred vale between the two flanks of the Parnassus, the dwelling place of the Muses and the site of Poetry, but intevallum is composed of inner (between) and vallus (pole), which gives us not the pole in between, but the space between two palisades. According to Littre.

– With the undecidability of its meaning, the hymen only takes place when it doesn’t take place, when nothing really happens, when there is an all-consuming consummation without violence, or a violence without blows, or a blow without marks, a mark without a mark (a margin), etc., when the veil is, without being, torn, for example when one is made to die or come laughing.

– The hymen is a sort of textile. Its threads should be interwoven with all the veils, gauzes, canvasses, fabrics, moires, wings, feathers, all the curtains and fans that hold within their folds all – almost – of the Mallarmean corpus.

– […] but also because no violence has been exerted (someone has been made to die of laughter, and then the ‘criminal’ – bursting with hilarity – is absolved by his own death), and because this crime is its opposite: an act of love, which itself has not taken place. To perpetrate, as its calculated consonance with ‘penetrate’ suggest, is to pierce, but fictively, the hymen, the threshold never crossed. Even when he takes that step, Pierrot remains, before the doors, the ‘solitary captive of the threshold’ (pour votre chere morte, for your dear departed).

– Surprise, accompanying the artifice of a notation of sentiments by unproffered sentences – that, in the sole case, perhaps, with authenticity, between the sheets and the eye there reigns a silence, still, the condition and delight of reading. Supplement, principle, and bounty. The baffling economy of seduction. enter…between…a silence.

‘Each session or play being a game, a fragmentary show, but sufficient at that unto itself…’

– Like Mimique, the double session has no middle. It is divided into two halves only through the fiction of a crease.

– Mallarme: ‘Midnights thrown off with indifference by a man standing next to himself at his own wake; time becomes null, those nights.’

– To write the word insertion – a word that here operates with all its energy according to all its possibilities (‘To place within. To insert a graft just under the bark…By extension, to introduce into a text or register.’ Littre) – so as to mark the breaking through of theatre into the book, of spacing into interiority, while a certain mimic inscribes a graft in one corner, holding the antre open, ‘at the cleft’, in the intimate recesses of a volume coiled around itself and henceforth disemboweled by ‘the introduction of a weapon or paper-cutter’ just as it is parted from itself; to write the word insertion is, literally, to quote: ‘Another, the art of Mr. Maeterlinck who also inserted theatre into the book!’

-The Mallarmean figure of the fold, for example, enables us to join the erotic to the sensible, then to the reflective, to the metaphysical, and then the literary: the fold is at once sex, foilage, mirror, book, and tomb – all are realities it gathers up into a certain very special dream of intimacy.

– The blank is folded, is (marked by) a fold.

– The ‘effect’ in the Mallarmean sense of the word: ‘to point not the thing by the effect it produces.’

– which no longer keeps the cryptic folds of dreams…

– White on white. The blank is coloured by a supplementary white, an extra blank that becomes, as in Numbers a blank open on all four sides, or blank open on all four sides, a blank that is written, blackens itself of its own accord, a false true blank sense [sens blanc], without a blank [sans blanc], no longer countable or totalisable, counting on and discounting itself at once, a blank that indefinitely displaces the margin and undoes what Richard calls ‘the unitary aspiration of meaning’ or the ‘sure revelation of meaning’.

– There is a susceptibility rationally proportional to the fact that each cry possesses an echo […]

– Bachelard’s definition of a textual graft: (l’Eau et les Reves) ‘What we love above all in man is what can be written about him. Does what can’t be written deserve to be lived? We have thus been obliged to content ourselves with the grafted material imagination, and we have almost always confined ourselves to the study of different branches of the materialising imagination found above the graft whenever any culture has put its mark on any nature.

Moreover, this is not, for us, a simple metaphor. On the contrary, the graft appears to us to be a concept essential to the understanding of human psychology. It is, in our view, the human sign as such, the necessary sign for specifying human imagination. For us, humanity imagining is something that lies beyond nature naturing. It is the graft that can really give the material imagination the exuberance of forms. It is the graft that can transmit the variety and density to the formal imagination. It forces the seedling to flower and gives matter to the flower. In a completely nonmetaphorical sense, the production of a poetic work requires that there be a union between a dreaming activity and an ideating activity Art is grafted nature.

– Hymen: – of a quasi tearing, a dehiscence. DEHISCENCE: s.f. Botanical term. The action through which the distinct parts of a closed organ open up, without tearing, along a seam. A regular predetermined splitting that, at a certain moment in the cycle, is undergone  by the closed organs so that what they contain can come out…E.Lat. Dehiscere, to open slightly, from de and hiscere, the frequentative of hiare (see hiatus).

– Again, a certain obliteration marks the bed and the page, sleeping and reading, copulation and interpretation.

– Castration is that nonsecret of seminal division that breaks into substitution.

– Les Fenetres; ‘Black, with a pale bleeding wing, deplumed,/ Through the glass burnt with incense and gold,/ Through the icy panes, alas! mournful still// The dawn threw itself on the angelic lamp. /Palms!…

– […] the Vase which, always clownish, exquisite, sonorous, splits into a moon from ear to ear or withdraws back into a rosebud, what with each suite or laugh contained in its syllables alone, moves the months of Mimes delighted to speak; and to speak with rhythm.

– The expression en abyme, popularised by Gide, was originally used in heraldry to designate the status of the figure of a small shield used to decorate a shield. Now used whenever some part of a whole can be seen as a representation of that whole, often ad infinitum, as in the Quaker Oats box which a man holds up a Quaker Oats box which on it a man holds up a Quaker Oats box….etc.


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