“Je pense, donc je pense l’autre”: Cervantes and Borges in the context of Derrida


  • Jelica Veljović University of Kragujevac




hospitality, otherness, Cervantes, Borges, Derrida


This contribution seeks to explore in a literary context Jacques Derrida’s hypothesis on the interrelationship of the Self and the Other expounded in his book Of Hospitality and Politics of Friendship, this work tends to investigate the features of Otherness in relation to the Selfhood in literary context. These features will be investigated through analysis the presence and emergence of the Other in Cervantes’s Don Quixote of the Mancha and in Borges’ fantastic short stories The Other and The House of Asterion and outline the modes of the deconstruction and recreation of the Self, whose identity is being interrupted and recreated by the Other. We have identified three types of the Other that in these works which appear to have a function of deconstructing and reconstructing Self. These are the Other as signal of the linguistic, ethnic and cultural diversity of Spain in the Cervantes’s Don Quixote; the Other as a reflection of the Selfhood from both the past and the future at once, with the autofictional reference in the Borges’s story The Other; the Other as a monster in Borges’s story The House of Asterion, who is converted and liberated by his own hostile guest, Theseus. The disruptions in the identity of the Self caused by the intrusion of the Other are thus revealed to be vital and constitutive, demonstrating that the Other is an inherent part of the Self. In this way, in the work of Cervantes and Borges it is possible to detect a change in the traditional conception of the Self and identity, a Derridean deconstruction of the Cartesian motto as “I think, therefore I am the Other”.


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Author Biography

Jelica Veljović, University of Kragujevac

Jelica Veljović está cursando los Estudios de doctorado en literatura, en la Facultad de Filología y Artes de la Universidad de Kragujevac, y el título de su tesis es Identidad humana y posthumana en las novelas de Juan Goytisolo. También trabaja como profesora asistente en asignaturas de Literatura y cultura hispánicas en la Cátedra de Hispanística de la misma facultad. Es secretaria de la editorial de la revista científica Nasleđe, y de la conferencia internacional Lengua serbia, literatura y artes, celebrada anualmente en la Facultad de Filología y Artes en la Universidad de Kragujevac. Está incluida como investigadora en el proyecto del Ministerio de la educación, ciencia y desarollo tecnológico de Serbia, titulado Las crisis sociales y literatura serbia contemporánea: los marcos nacional, regional, europeo y global. Se dedica al estudio de la literatura española contemporánea del siglo XX y de la literatura fantástica en Hispanoamérica, y a los estudios de posthumanismo.



How to Cite

Veljović, J. (2017). “Je pense, donc je pense l’autre”: Cervantes and Borges in the context of Derrida. Verba Hispanica, 25(1), 323–337. https://doi.org/10.4312/vh.25.1.323-337