A Book Review by
The Truth in Painting (1987) by Jacques Derrida is a philosphical essay on the esthetics of painting translated by Geoff Bennington and Ian McLeod, and published by The University of Chicago Press. This is a well designed book with squared printer's guides which show the evolution of book publishing from the early days of the 1970s when type was pasted onto pages for printing to the modern style of book design. This early trend of pasting blocks of type was noticeable in books from the Tel Quel collection at the Éditions du Seuil, where the circles and lines of graphic design were applied to the semiotic novels of Maurice Roche and the philosophical text of Jacques Derrida: a trend that has continued into the 21st Century with the use of graphic design programs in innovative literature. My own semiotic novel The Convergence of Two Narrative Lines Ascending uses innovative typographic design and woodcut signs to create an ultramodern symmetrical structure. The use of graphic design—graphesis—in the philosophical essay The Truth in Painting is a way of enhancing our esthetic appreciation of the text as a work of visual art. The idea of a parergon is introduced in The Truth in Painting: a supplement that is an additional text, so that a smaller work evolves from a larger work, as a chapter could expand into a small novel on its own.
The Truth in Painting by Jacques Derrida begins with the section Passe-Partout which is defined as: a key for all which is necessary to understand the significance of this essay in the context of social networking, which includes the immediate network of interconnecting cultural awareness.
The concept of The Truth in Painting is inspired by a letter from Paul Cezanne to Emile Bernard written on October 23, 1905.
Philosophy is a way of discussing the truth.
The paintings of Paul Cezanne are a good place to begin a discussion of modern esthetics, and Jacques Derrida begins his essay with a promise to tell the truth which for the reader is the beginning of a relationship with someone who is knowing: a philosopher, an art critic, a university professor is usually someone who knows the truth, and can speak with authority.
From this spontaneous beginning The Truth in Painting introduces several words which become the main themes of the esthetic meditation on painting.
The Other's Language: Jacques Derrida Interviews Ornette Coleman, 23 June 1997.