I saw Broccoli in Derrida's Essay


"If one calls bricolage the necessity of borrowing one's concepts from the text of a heritage which is more or less cogerent or ruined, it must be said that every discourse is bricoleur (Derrida 358).

I never even heard of the word bricolage before reading this text. According to our friends at Wiki bricolage is "the construction or creation of a work from a diverse range of things which happen to be available; a work created by such a process" (Wiki).

This applies directly to what I wrote my blog entry on which was called Derrida came to the Rescue. My blog, which I recommend, describes how people focus on the old methods of the past instead of focusing on the new tools of the future or each person's personal take on a text.

As the quote states above, how can we "borrow one's concepts?" Or when people do it is it simply called bricolage.

Click here for the course web page devoted to Hamilton, Essential Literary Terms.


Derek, you probably never heard of bricolage or bricoleur before because, once again, guess what? They’re French. A lot of these literary critics/philosophers seem to be French, so they throw around a lot of French words. Bricolage in French actually means “do-it-yourself” or “patching up.” A bricoleur is a handyman (while a bricoleuse is a handywoman). Both words come from the verb “bricoler” which means to tinker. So basically when Derrida talks about literature and “the necessity of borrowing one's concepts from the text of a heritage,” he’s basically saying that what we’re doing is gathering together a bunch of different parts and then putting them together as one would attempt to gather all the necessary tools to remodel one’s bathroom or some such other DIY project. However, I don’t think that bricolage necessarily focuses on the past. After all, when we are tinkering with something, trying to fix it, we might employ previous knowledge we have, but we may also try new things. The ultimate aim is to accomplish some goal, to do it ourselves, so we will use whatever means possible to do so. We will borrow concepts from the past and create new methods.

Derek, I thought bricolage was an interesting word too. I had never heard of it before reading this essay as well so that's why I chose to define it.

Greta, thanks I think your comment here helps the definitions that both Derek and I use on our blogs. And you have helped me to understand the word even better. It's great to have someone in the class that is knowledgable of another language, especially a language that seems to get used alot in criticism.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Derek Tickle published on March 29, 2009 2:11 PM.

Derrida came to the Rescue was the previous entry in this blog.

Language Associated with Babo is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.



Powered by Movable Type 4.23-en