Padraig points us in the direction of some wonderful Youtube footage of/on Derrida. I especially enjoyed this clip about a visit Derrida paid to Prague, and was framed by the police on account of drug charges. He felt as if the spirit of Kafka had come back to haunt him. Padraig’s post is appropriately tagged hauntology, this moment’s buzzword. In French a ghost is called a revenant, someone who comes back.
A revenant in the Middle Ages was an animate corpse which rose from the grave to haunt the living. Many stories were documented by English historians in the Middle Ages, as examplified by William of Newburgh who wrote in the 1190s “one would not easily believe that corpses come out of their graves and wander around, animated by I don’t know what spirit, to terrorize or harm the living, unless there were many cases in our times, supported by ample testimony”. Stories of revenants were very personal, always about a specific individual who had recently died (unlike the anonymous zombie depicted in modern popular culture such as Night of the Living Dead), and had a number of common features.