Come explore the Personal Library of Jacques Derrida!

Derrida's Margins

The Center for Digital Humanities at Princeton is delighted to announce the launch of

Derrida’s Margins: Inside the Personal Library of Jacques Derrida.

The Derrida’s Margins project allows users to peer over the shoulder of influential philosopher Jacques Derrida (1930-2004) as he read the books in his library. For Derrida, reading was an active process: as he read texts by thinkers like Rousseau, Heidegger, Lévi-Strauss, Hegel, and Husserl, he recorded his thoughts in the margins. In Derrida’s in own words, the books in his personal library bear the “traces of the violence of [his] pencil strokes, exclamation points, arrows, and underlining.”

The project website features a deconstructed design that destabilizes standard web navigation by using links in the corners (or margins) of the text. Banner images draw on montage photos of the marginalia, while site icons reproduce Derrida’s squiggles and arrows. Underneath the playfulness, the project is founded on a custom-built database that models Derrida’s groundbreaking theory of deconstruction in his formal writing and private scribbling.

“Absolutely worth your time tracing the connections between Derrida’s De la grammatologie and his personal library as revealed in CDH’s Derrida’s Margins.”

—Matthew Symonds, Centre for Editing Lives and Letters, University College London.

Derrida’s Margins is designed and built by the Center for Digital Humanities at Princeton, in partnership with Katie Chenoweth (Assistant Professor, French and Italian) and Princeton University Library’s Rare Books and Special Collections, which houses the Library of Jacques Derrida.

Find Derrida’s Margins online at

Derrida's Margins

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