Wordplay in Shakespeare's Hamlet and the Accusation of Derrida's “Logical Phallusies”

Johann Gregory

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1 Citation (Scopus)


That “Derrida's writing borders on being unreadable” has been maintained by several academics, journalists and students. This essay considers this reaction to Jacques Derrida's writing in relation to a broader history of wordplay and puns. Using Shakespeare's Hamlet as a starting point followed by the infamous letter to The Times that accused Derrida of “logical phallusies”, it argues that if Derrida's writing does border on being unreadable, then, this is the condition of all writing. The essay suggests that rather than suppressing the spectres of Derrida in Shakespeare studies, we should welcome back the aspects of his work that help us to “read and write in the space or heritage of Shakespeare”.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)313-330
Number of pages18
JournalEnglish Studies
Issue number3
Early online date15 May 2013
Publication statusPublished - 2013

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