Archive Fever: A Freudian Impression

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In this work, Jacques Derrida guides the reader through an extended meditation on remembrance, religion, time, and technology - all occasioned by a deconstructive analysis of the notion of archiving. The archival concept has played a pivotal role in numerous critical debates - a place of origin, yet of perpetuity, a place of stasis and order, yet of discovery, the notion of archive houses a complex of diverse, and often disparate, meanings. As a depository of civic record and social history whose very name derives from the Greek word for town hall, the archive would seem to be a public entity, yet it is stocked with the personal, even intimate, artifacts of private lives. This inherent tension between public and private inaugurates, argues Derrida, an inquiry into the human impulse to preserve, through technology as well as tradition, both a historical and a psychic past.