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When he died in 2004, Jacques Derrida left behind a vast legacy of unpublished material, much of it in the form of written lectures.
With "The Beast and the Sovereign, Volume I", the University of Chicago Press inaugurated an ambitious series, edited by Geoffrey Bennington and Peggy Kamuf, translating these important works into English.
This volume, now in paperback, launched the series with Derrida's exploration of the persistent association of animality with sovereignty. "The Beast and The Sovereign" are connected, he contends, because neither animals nor kings are subject to the law - the sovereign stands above it, while the beast falls outside the law from below.
An astonishing array of texts - from La Fontaine's fable "The Wolf and the Lamb" to Machiavelli's "Prince" - come into critical play as Derrida focuses in on questions of force, right, justice, and philosophical interpretations of the limits between man and animal.
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