A sure sign of a compelling biography is when you throw the book down in disbelief: ‘So you mean she was having an affair with him?!’ (I actually blurted this out, to the consternation of fellow train passengers.) I happened to know both of them. She was a German specialist who liked to have conversations about Kafka and Nietzsche. I used to play football with him. You’d think one of them might have mentioned it.
Jacques Derrida, of course, knew all about it. Maybe I should just have asked him. But I doubt I would have got a straight answer. Derrida, the great philosopher of deconstruction, was brilliant at teasing out the evasions and mystifications and buried conflicts of our discourse, and even better at