Geoffrey Bennington

Professor of Philosophy at The European Graduate School / EGS.

Geoffrey Bennington

Geoffrey Bennington (b. 1956) is a British philosopher and literary critic. He is a professor of philosophy at The European Graduate School / EGS and the Asa G. Candler Professor of Modern French Thought at Emory University (Georgia, USA). He received his bachelor’s degree in Modern Languages (French and Spanish) in 1978 and his master’s and doctorate degree in 1984, both from the University of Oxford. Bennington was the chair of the French Department at the University of Sussex (1990–94 and 1995–97) where he was the Director of the Centre for Modern French Thought (1997–2001).

His research interests include: modern French literature and thought, the eighteenth-century novel, literary theory, and deconstruction. Bennington is widely known for his expertise in deconstruction and the work of Jacques Derrida and Jean-François Lyotard. In his works, he explores the political dimension of deconstruction and claims that deconstruction is capable of providing access to political thinking which cannot be offered anywhere else. He is also a renowned translator of Derrida’s and Lyotard’s works.

Together with Derrida, he wrote Jacques Derrida (1991), which is comprised of two texts. Bennington’s “Derridabase” appears on the upper two-thirds of the book’s pages, while Derrida’s contribution, “Circumfession,” is written on the lower third of each page. The guiding idea of this book, Bennington suggests, comes from computers. Bennington wants Derrida’s thought to be as accessible as possible, to the point of making it look like an interactive computer program. However, another aim of the book is to show the inherent impossibility of such a task. At the same time, it is also a parody of introductory books; the interaction between Bennington’s and Derrida’s texts dramatise the fact that any system of thought must always remain permanently open.

Interrupting Derrida (2000) examines the notion of “interruption” and its importance for ethics, politics, and literature. In this book, Bennington also analyses some significant and recurring themes of Derrida’s work: death, friendship, time, and endings. Not Half No End: Militantly Melancholic Essays in Memory of Jacques Derrida (2010) consists of the essays that Bennington wrote after the death of Derrida. These essays examine the nature of mourning and melancholy, and its relevance in Derrida’s work.

Bennington has written two books on the work of Jean-François Lyotard: Lyotard: Writing the Event (1988) and Late Lyotard (2005). In Lyotard: Writing the Event, he attempts to offer a general introduction to Lyotard’s work that will not be limited to the discussion of “postmodern” and the “postmodern condition,” but will also explore ethical and political aspects of Lyotard’s thought. He writes about the importance of Lyotard’s understanding of the event and links it with the analyses of desire, production, justice, and language. Bennington insists that Lyotard’s work strives to respect the heterogeneity of the event and that the entirety of his work is devoted to the experimentation with various ways of achieving that respect. LateLyotard can be considered as a sequel to Lyotard: Writing the Event. It is Bennington’s reaction to the works that Lyotard wrote after 1988 and before his death in 1998. In Late Lyotard, Bennington reconsiders his position from the previous work and attempts to bring forth nuances of Lyotard’s thought that remained unexplored in his earlier work.

In Legislations: The Politics of Deconstruction (1994), Bennington uses the theoretical apparatus of Derrida and Lyotard (especially the notion of “postmodern”) in order to question the very nature of “politics” and the “political.” According to Bennington, deconstruction is inherently political because it is an opening to an irreducible alterity, and this opening is a place where legislation happens. Presently, he is exploring the consequences of his understanding that politics is characterised by the pre-ontological and pre-ethical opening to the other, and writing a deconstructive account of political philosophy provisionally entitled Scatter (the matter with democrary).



Moments of Madness: the Politics of Politics in Foucault, Heidegger and Derrida,Bennington, Geoffrey. Moments of Madness: the Politics of Politics in Foucault, Heidegger and Derrida. Fordham University Press. Forthcoming.

Géographie et Autres Lectures, Bennington, Geoffrey. Géographie et Autres Lectures. Hermann, 2011. ISBN: 2705680209

Not Half No End: Militantly Melancholic Essays in Memory of Jacques Derrida,Bennington, Geoffrey. Not Half No End: Militantly Melancholic Essays in Memory of Jacques Derrida. Edinburgh University Press, 2010. ISBN: 0748639853

Late Lyotard, Bennington, Geoffrey. Late Lyotard. CreateSpace, 2005. ISBN: 1440431701

Deconstruction Is Not What You Think…: And Other Short Pieces And Interviews.,Bennington, Geoffrey. Deconstruction Is Not What You Think…: And Other Short Pieces And Interviews. CreateSpace, 2005. ISBN: 1440422397

Open Book/Livre Ouvert, Bennington, Geoffrey. Open Book/Livre Ouvert. CreateSpace, 2005. ISBN: 1440424438

Other Analyses: Reading Philosophy, Bennington, Geoffrey. Other Analyses: Reading Philosophy. CreateSpace, 2005. ISBN: 1440416958

Frontiers: Kant, Hegel, Frege, Wittgenstein, Bennington, Geoffrey. Frontiers: Kant, Hegel, Frege, Wittgenstein. CreateSpace, 2003. ISBN: 1440432341

Frontières Kantiennes, Bennington, Geoffrey. Frontières Kantiennes. CreateSpace, 2000. ISBN: 2718605235

Interrupting Derrida, Bennington, Geoffrey. Interrupting Derrida. Routledge, 2000. ISBN: 0415224268

Legislations: the Politics of Deconstruction, Bennington, Geoffrey. Legislations: the Politics of Deconstruction. Verso, 1994. ISBN: 0860914143

Dudding: des Noms de Rousseau, Bennington, Geoffrey. Dudding: des Noms de Rousseau. Galilee, 1991. ISBN: 2718603895

Lyotard: Writing the Event, Bennington, Geoffrey. Lyotard: Writing the Event. Manchester University Press, 1988. ISBN: 0719022878

Sententiousness and the Novel: Laying Down the Law in Eighteenth-Century French Fiction, Bennington, Geoffrey. Sententiousness and the Novel: Laying Down the Law in Eighteenth-Century French Fiction. Cambridge University Press, 1986. ISBN: 0521302463



Bennington, Geoffrey, trans. Veils, by Jacques Derrida and Hélène Cixous. Stanford University Press. 2001. ISBN: 0804737940

Jacques Derrida

Bennington, Geoffrey, trans. Jacques Derrida, by Jacques Derrida. University of Chicago Press, 1993. ISBN: 0226042618

The Inhuman: Reflections on Time

Bennington, Geoffrey, and Rachel Bowlby, trans. The Inhuman: Reflections on Time, by Jean-François Lyotard. Stanford University Press, 1991. ISBN: 0804720088

Virginia Woolf and the Madness of Language

Bennington, Geoffrey, and Rachel Bowlby, trans. Virginia Woolf and the Madness of Language, by Daniel Ferrer. Routledge. 1990. ISBN: 041503194X

Of Spirit: Heidegger and the Question

Bennington, Geoffrey, and Rachel Bowlby, trans. Of Spirit: Heidegger and the Question, by Jacques Derrida. University of Chicago Press, 1989. ISBN: 0226143171

The Truth in Painting

Bennington, Geoffrey, and Ian McLoed, trans. The Truth in Painting, by Jacques Derrida. University of Chicago Press, 1987. ISBN: 0226143236

The Postmodern Condition

Bennington, Geoffrey, and Brian Massumi, trans. The Postmodern Condition, by Jean-François Lyotard. Manchester University Press. 1984. ISBN: 0719014549


Peut-être une politique…

Bennington, Geoffrey. “Peut-être une politique…” Les Cahiers philosophiques Vol. 117, April (2009): 46-61.

For Better and for Worse (There Again…)

Bennington, Geoffrey. “For Better and for Worse (There Again…).” Discourse Vol 30, No. 1-2 (2008): 191-207.

For Better and for Worse (There Again…)

Bennington, Geoffrey. “For Better and for Worse (There Again…).” Diacritics Vol. 38, No. 1-2 (2009): 1-12.


Bennington, Geoffrey. “Scatter.” The Oxford Literary Review Vol. 30, No. 1 (2008): 1-43.


Bennington, Geoffrey. “Handshake.” Derrida Today Vol. 1, No. 1 (2008).


Bennington, Geoffrey. “Foundations.” Textual Practice Vol. 21, No. 2 (2007): 231-49.

Derrida’s “Eighteenth Century

Bennington, Geoffrey. “Derrida’s “Eighteenth Century.” Eighteenth-Century StudiesVol. 40, No. 3 (2007): 381-93.

On Transcendental Fiction

Bennington, Geoffrey. “On Transcendental Fiction.” Discourse Vol. 29, No. 1 (2007): 169-88.

The Fall of Sovereignty

Bennington, Geoffrey. “The Fall of Sovereignty.” Epoché Vol. 10, No. 2 (2006): 395-406.


Bennington, Geoffrey. “Superanus.” Theory and Event Vol. 8, No. 1 (2005).

…de mon mieux

Bennington, Geoffrey. “…de mon mieux.” Les cahiers de l’herne (2004): 71-2.

Shelf Life

Bennington, Geoffrey. “Shelf Life.” Bucknell Review : Adrift in the Technological Matrix Vol. XLVI, No. 2 (2003): 140-57.

Personal Growth

Bennington, Geoffrey (published anonymously). “Personal Growth.” The Oxford Literary Review 23 (2002): 137-52.

Le livre réel

Bennington, Geoffrey. “Le livre réel.” Revue des sciences humaines 226-7 (2002): 125-37.

Le temps de la lecture

Bennington, Geoffrey. “Le temps de la lecture.” Etudes françaises Vol 38, No. 1-2 (2002): 78-85.

Time After Time

Bennington, Geoffrey. “Time After Time.” Journal of the British Society for Phenomenology Vol. 32, No. 3 (2001): 300-311.


Bennington, Geoffrey. “Ex-communication.” Studies in Social and Political Thought 5 (2001): 50-55.

The End is Here

Bennington, Geoffrey. “The End is Here.” Tekhnema 6 (2001): 34-50.

The Same, Even, Itself…

Bennington, Geoffrey. “The Same, Even, Itself…” Parallax Vol. 6, No. 4 (2000): 88-98.

For the Sake of Argument (Up to a Point)

Bennington, Geoffrey. “For the Sake of Argument (Up to a Point).” Ratio Vol XIII, No. 4 (2000): 332-54.

Forget to remember, remember to forget: Sade avec Kant

Bennington, Geoffrey. “Forget to remember, remember to forget: Sade avec Kant.” Paragraph Vol. 23, No. 1 (2000): 75-86.

Le Secret de Kant

Bennington, Geoffrey. “Le Secret de Kant.” Le Contretemps 2 (1997): 134-9.


Bennington, Geoffrey. “Ex-Kommunikation” Translated by Peter Krapp. Foreign Body6 (1997).

Membranes: a reading of Freud’s metapsychology

Bennington, Geoffrey. “Membranes: a reading of Freud’s metapsychology.” Journal of the Institute of Romance Studies 3 (1994-5): 369-82.


Bennington, Geoffrey. “Frontier.” Paragraph Vol. 17, No. 3 (1995): 224-6.

Plus que parfait

Bennington, Geoffrey. “Plus que parfait.” Le Contretemps 1 (1995): 91-5.

Frontiers: two seminar sessions

Bennington, Geoffrey. “Frontiers: two seminar sessions.” The Oxford Literary Review14 (1992): 197-227.

After the Event

Bennington, Geoffrey. “After the Event.” Columbia Documents of Architecture and Theory 1 (1992): 147-59.

The Rationality of Postmodern Relativity

Bennington, Geoffrey. “The Rationality of Postmodern Relativity.” Journal of Philosophy and the Visual Arts (1990): 23-31.

Deconstruction is not what you think

Bennington, Geoffrey. “Deconstruction is not what you think.” Art and Design Vol. 4, No. 3-4 (1988): 6-7.

Complexity Without Contradiction in Architecture

Bennington, Geoffrey. “Complexity Without Contradiction in Architecture.” AAFiles15 (1987): 15-18.

Lyotard: From Discourse and Figure to Experimentation and Event

Bennington, Geoffrey. “Lyotard: From Discourse and Figure to Experimentation and Event.” Paragraph 6 (1985): 19-27.

Sade: Laying Down the Law

Bennington, Geoffrey. “Sade: Laying Down the Law.” The Oxford Literary Review Vol. 6, No. 1 (1984): 38-56.

Theory: They or We

Bennington, Geoffrey. “Theory: They or We.” Paragraph 1 (1983).

Les Machines de l’Opéra: le jeu du signe dans le Spectateur français de Marivaux

Bennington, Geoffrey. “Les Machines de l’Opéra: le jeu du signe dans le Spectateur français de Marivaux.” French Studies Vol. 36, No. 2 (1982): 154-70.


Bennington, Geoffrey. “Réappropriations.” Poétique 48 (1981): 495-512.

From Narrative to Text: Love and Writing in Crébillon fils, Duclos, Barthes

Bennington, Geoffrey. “From Narrative to Text: Love and Writing in Crébillon fils, Duclos, Barthes.” The Oxford Literary Review Vol. 4, No. 1 (1979): 62-81.

Double Tounging: Derrida’s Monolingualism

Bennington, Geoffrey. “Double Tounging: Derrida’s Monolingualism.” University of South Carolina. No Date.



Bennington, Geoffrey and Seulemonde. “Interview.” Seulemonde Online Journal. No Date.


Geoffrey Bennington

Heidegger and Google

Geoffrey Bennington


Geoffrey Bennington

Kant, Derrida, and the Death Penalty

Geoffrey Bennington

Political Animals