J. Hillis Miller (1928-2021) was UCI Distinguished Professor Emeritus at the University of California, Irvine. Among his many books are For Derrida and Literature as Conduct (both Fordham). Miller was a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a member of the American Philosophical Society. He received the Modern Language Association Lifetime Scholarly Achievement Award in 2005 and in 1986 was President of the MLA.
"Hillis Miller's For Derrida brilliantly explores the labyrinth of Derrida's late phase and what is widely interpreted as deconstruction's so-called 'turn' toward ethics and religion. Miller recaptures the dark dissonance of key and late terms for the reader-destinnerance, the resistance of 'community,' the auto-immunitary, performativity, absolute mourning-then mobilizes them against interpretive doxa many have fallen into after Derrida's death, as 'deconstruction' appears to have entered its own auto-immunitary phase (as Derrida anticipated). For Derrida is, among other things, a corrective or counter-strike 'for Derrida,' a gift and salut, attempting to speak as if for him against various appropriations, effacements, and recuperations. It is a volume only Miller could write, intimately fidel yet uncompromisingly alert to the 'wager' that Derrida's oeuvre staked itself on-a wager, or transformation of premises, which the evolving aporia of 21st century human life bring to heightened focus. This quietly monumental, strangely mirthful, and altogether remarkable volume will likely be an indispensible touchstone for the readers to come, through whom Derrida's 'wager' will likely be decided--beyond the current crop of recuperative claimants and legacy-chasers, philosophical exegetes and competitive mourners, that the late Derrida has left in his wake." -- -Tom Cohen University at Albany, State University of New York "Offers the reader the depth and breadth that only an eminent professor of literature and someone who has been a reader and interlocutor of Derrida for decades could offer." -- -Pleshette DeArmitt University of Memphis "A record of a forty-year friendship marked by profound hospitality on both sides, For Derrida moves, charms, instructs, distinguishes, and stakes out positions. Its discussions of the performative, religion, 'community,' and auto-immunity clarify Derrida's contributions with subtlety and an almost allegorically unassuming style." -- -Haun Saussy Yale University "Hillis Miller is one of the most important literary critics of the past fifty years. Always remarkably lucid, engaging, and accessible, his work has also proved an invaluable guide for students and scholars wishing to understand deconstruction. A classic example of 'late Miller', For Derrida effortlessly links close readings of literary with philosophical works, while also reflecting on the ways in which teletechnology and cyberspace affect and tap into the proceedings. This is a unique and brilliant book, not only for its careful and thought-provoking readings of Derrida's extraordinary oeuvre, but also as a poignant intellectual record of the long and important friendship that Derrida and Miller shared." -- -Nicholas Royle University of Sussex "A classic example of 'late Miller', For Derrida effortlessly links close readings of literary with philosophical works, while also reflecting on the ways in which teletechnology and cyberspace affect and tap into the proceedings. This is a unique and brilliant book, not only for its careful and thought-provoking readings of Derrida's extraordinary oeuvre, but also as a poignant intellectual record of the long and important friendship that Derrida and Miller shared." -- -Nicholas Royle University of Sussex "A profoundly moving achievement-J. Hillis Miller offers those of us who care to read a series of singular responses and testimonies to Jacques Derrida, and everything gathered in that name. Miller is the finest of readers, and the most responsible witness to the legacy of Derrida. In touching with such care on a number of important themes and motifs in the later works of Derrida, Miller touches us all, teaching us what it means to be touched by Derrida, and why Derrida remains-today and to come-of such singular significance." -- -Julian Wolfreys Loughborough University "Throughout this volume, Hillis Miller seeks to respond to the call of the wholly other that Derrida's writing so consistently endeavors to affirm, an other we might try to think via Derrida's several reflections on justice, profession, friendship, literature, singularity, invention, death and mourning-indeed a complexly intertwined set of motifs found at the crossroads between these two important figures. In writing 'for Derrida' (a phrase which itself carries a complex multiple charge), Miller seeks to remake the promise that friendship always is; a promise which, as Derrida himself once observed in recalling his own friendship with de Man, can never know exactly what it is promising. As both Miller and Derrida well understand, in order to remember and mourn the other in all responsibility one must respect the resistances offered by their heterogeneity and difference, and for that matter by the irresistible process of interiorization that occurs with their absolute disappearance. Wandering across the borders of the 'life' and the 'work' in a way that few are able to do, this indispensable series of essays by Miller brilliantly illuminates not only the ideas and arguments found in a vast array of texts, but the ethics of reading Derrida today. " -- -Simon Morgan Wortham Kingston University London