Animal

The Animal That Therefore I Am is the long-awaited translation of the complete text of Jacques Derrida’s ten-hour address to the 1997 Cérisy conference entitled “The Autobiographical Animal,” the third of four such colloquia on his work. The book was assembled posthumously on the basis of two published sections, one written and recorded session, and one informal recorded session.

The book is at once an affectionate look back over the multiple roles played by animals in Derrida’s work and a profound philosophical investigation and critique of the relegation of animal life that takes place as a result of the distinction—dating from Descartes—between man as thinking animal and every other living species. That starts with the very fact of the line of separation drawn between the human and the millions of other species that are reduced to a single “the animal.” Derrida finds that distinction, or versions of it, surfacing in thinkers as far apart as Descartes, Kant, Heidegger, Lacan, and Levinas, and he dedicates extended analyses to
the question in the work of each of them.

The book’s autobiographical theme intersects with its philosophical analysis through the figures of looking and nakedness, staged in terms of Derrida’s experience when his cat follows him into the bathroom in the morning. In a classic deconstructive reversal, Derrida asks what this animal sees and thinks when it sees this naked man. Yet the experiences of nakedness and shame also lead all the way back into the mythologies of “man’s dominion over the beasts” and trace a history of how man has systematically displaced onto the animal his own failings or bêtises.

The Animal That Therefore I Am is at times a militant plea and indictment regarding, especially, the modern industrialized treatment of animals. However, Derrida cannot subscribe to a simplistic version of animal rights that fails to follow through, in all its implications, the questions and definitions of “life” to which he returned in much of his later work.
This original, authorised version has been lovingly recreated electronically for the first time, with reproductions of Potter's unmistakeable artwork optimised for use on colour devices such as the iPad.

Poor Jemima. All she wants to do is lay her eggs in peace, and be allowed to hatch them herself. At last she flies off and finds the perfect place. Little does the silly duck realise that the charming gentleman who has lent her his woodshed is busily planning a delicious meal of . . . roast duck!

Jemima was a real duck belonging to Beatrix Potter, who lived at her farm, Hill Top. The story also features Beatrix's own sheepdog, Kep, who thankfully manages to save Jemima from a nasty fate!

The Tale of Jemima Puddle-Duck is number nine in Beatrix Potter's series of 23 little books, the titles of which are as follows:


1 The Tale of Peter Rabbit
2 The Tale of Squirrel Nutkin
3 The Tailor of Gloucester
4 The Tale of Benjamin Bunny
5 The Tale of Two Bad Mice
6 The Tale of Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle
7 The Tale of Mr. Jeremy Fisher
8 The Tale of Tom Kitten
9 The Tale of Jemima Puddle-Duck
10 The Tale of the Flopsy Bunnies
11 The Tale of Mrs. Tittlemouse
12 The Tale of Timmy Tiptoes
13 The Tale of Johnny Town-Mouse
14 The Tale of Mr. Tod
15 The Tale of Pigling Bland
16 The Tale of Samuel Whiskers
17 The Tale of The Pie and the Patty-Pan
18 The Tale of Ginger and Pickles
19 The Tale of Little Pig Robinson
20 The Story of a Fierce Bad Rabbit
21 The Story of Miss Moppet
22 Appley Dapply's Nursery Rhymes
23 Cecily Parsley's Nursery Rhymes

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