under erasure

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

Perhaps a calque of French sous rature

Adverb[edit]

under erasure

  1. (idiomatic) Of a bit of text, written and strickenthrough; hence, figuratively in some sense both present and absent.
    • 1904, W. O. E. Oesterley, "The Old Latin Texts of the Minor Prophets", in The Journal of Theological Studies, Clarendon Press, page 94,
      fol. 66 b l. 13 the letters under erasure were something like cacis.
    • 1963, in Journal of the History of Philosophy, University of California Press, page 192,
      It is not unlike Derrida’s device of writing under erasure in which a term of metaphysics is used at the same time that it is cancelled out.
    • 1987, Marjorie B. Garber, Shakespeare's Ghost Writers: Literature As Uncanny Causality, Routledge, ISBN 041591869, page 179,
      A concept is said to be “under erasure” when it is put in question or under critique. This signifying practice, employed by Martin Heidegger and, after him, by Jacques Derrida and other deconstructive critics, is described by Gayatri Spivak as “to write a word, cross it out, and then print both word and deletion. (Since the word is inaccurate, it is crossed out. Since it is necessary, it remains legible.)”
    • 1997, Shannon Bell, "On ne peut voir l’image [The image cannot be seen]", in Brenda Cossman, Bad Attitude/s on Trial: pornography, feminism, and the Butler decision, University of Toronto Press, ISBN 0802076432, page 216,
      What is under erasure in the discussion of justice in the original position is all knowledge of the features that distinguish one person from another.
    • 2006, Gordon Teskey, Delirious Milton: The Fate of the Poet in Modernity, Harvard University Press, ISBN 0-674-01069-8, page 59,
      It was to acknowledge this difficulty that Heidegger proposed in Zur Seinsfrage (1955) to write “Being” under erasure, so that the visible crossing-out of the word would display its negation as an act taking place within time.

For more examples of usage of this term, see the citations page.

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