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Phenomenologies of the StrangerBetween Hostility and Hospitality$
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Richard Kearney and Kascha Semonovitch

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780823234615

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823234615.001.0001

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The Time of Hospitality—Again

The Time of Hospitality—Again

(p.126) 7 The Time of Hospitality—Again
Phenomenologies of the Stranger



Fordham University Press

There seems to be some indiscernible and subtle relation between the thought of hospitality toward an absolute stranger, and the syntagm “awaiting death.” What is more, this relation seems to inform any scene of hospitality — be the other family, friend, or foreigner. In Of Hospitality, Jacques Derrida situates the question of hospitality in relation to the absolute anonymous other who washes up on the shore bereft of the cosmopolitical rights that distinguish the legitimate foreigner. This chapter retraces Derrida's thinking and interprets Of Hospitality in relation to Aporias, finding in both texts a story of the visitation by death. Absolute hospitality — awaiting and attending to the absolute Other — bears striking resemblance to the event of “awaiting death.” Such hospitality compares to a divine “visitation” wherein the guest is uninvited and uninvitable. The chapter cites stories of visitations illustrating and amplifying Derrida's account in Dante's biography, a poem by D. H. Lawrence, and the Katha Upanishad.

Keywords:   Of Hospitality, Jacques Derrida, Aporias, hospitality, death, foreigner, visitation, Other, Dante, D. H. Lawrence

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