It was in reading Tristam Shandy that I noticed how it is primarily men who gravitate towards the game-playing self-reflexive style. There is an alienation from emotion in it, a Nervous Nelly fear of letting go and being “exposed.” As an attitude towards life, it betrays a perpetual adolescence. Those who hurled themselves after Derrida were not the most sophisticated but the most pretentious, and least creative members of my generation of academics.
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