The End of the Book and the Beginning of Writing/Of Grammatology

However the topic is considered, the problem of language has never been simply one problem among others.  But never as much as at present has it invaded, as such, the global horizon of the most diverse researches and the most heterogeneous discourses, diverse and heterogeneous in their intention, method, and ideology.  The devaluation of the word “language” itself, and how, in the very hold it has upon us, it betrays a loose vocabulary, the temptation of a cheap seduction, the passive yielding to fashion, the consciousness of the avant-garde, in other words–ignorance–are evidences of this effect.  This inflation of the sign “language” is the inflation of the sign itself, absolute inflation, inflation itself.  Yet, by one of its aspects or shadows, it is itself still a sign: this crisis is also a symptom.  It indicates, as if in spite of itself, that a historico-metaphysical epoch must finally determine as language the totality of its problematic horizon.  It must do so not only because all that desire had wished to wrest from the play of language finds itself recaptured within that play but also because, for the same reason, language itself is menaced in its very life, helpless, adrift in the threat of limitlessness, brought back to its own finitude at the very moment when its limits seem to disappear, when it ceases to be self-assured, contained, and guaranteed by the infinite signified which seemed to exceed it.

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