What Gives (Donner le change)


At a conference on the ethics of the gift in 1990, Jacques Derrida gave a lecture that would become Donner le temps 1. La fausse monnaie (Given Time I: Counterfeit Money [1991]). It was another text entitled Donner la mort, however, that would appear in its place in the conference proceedings. In the author’s note to Donner la mort, published in turn as a stand-alone volume some years later,  Derrida offered this caveat: “In spite of appearances, in spite of the sign of the gift, in spite of an expected passage between time and death, in spite of the appearance, albeit furtive, of the narrator of Baudelaire’s La fausse monnaie, Donner la mort is not yet the announced sequel to Donner le temps 1.”  In his translator’s preface to The Gift of Death, David Wills would confirm in turn that Donner la mort was neither the text of the conference nor the second volume of Donner le temps, but rather “a different reflection within a series on the question of the gift.”

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