Abstract

The personal library of Jacques Derrida, acquired by Princeton University in 2015, includes a richly annotated copy of George Eliot’s The Lifted Veil. Derrida’s marginal markings reveal preoccupations shared between Eliot’s narrator, Latimer, and the persona of his 2001 book Veils, specifically the allure of the unknown, the city of Prague as a volatile setting, certain versions of the veil they hold in common (in particular veil as shroud), and the inclination they share toward deconstructing binary oppositions (in particular life and death). Such connections justify the continued interest in Eliot by deconstructionists in this century, as well as K. M. Newton’s description of George Eliot as “proto-Derridean.”

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