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thanatassa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Deconstruction is an important movement in the history of recent Continental literary theory. It is associated with the work of the philosopher and literary theorist Jacques Derrida in the 1960s, and became extremely fashionable mainly in English departments in the United States in the 1970s and 1980s, but has since declined in popularity. It is based on the notion that nothing exists “outside the text” or that everything is a text subject to interpretation. Because the relationship of signifier to signified is unstable, though, no interpretation is superior to any other. Because there is no centre (note that Derrida later recanted, claiming there is a centre), meaning is infinitely deferred.

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