This week a lady - Miss Jefferson, who teaches French at New College, Oxford - has written in because she is bothered by Derrida. She really wants to know, she confesses, more about "Derrida's involvement with women." Apparently Derrida had "a reputation as a seducer" and as a person whose "erotic identity had emerged." Derrida wished that philosophers would talk more about their sexual lives. "What was the sexual life of Hegel or Heidegger?" he asked (all according to this Miss Jefferson). "It's something they don't talk about. I'd like to hear them discuss something they don't talk about. Why do philosophers present themselves in their work as asexual beings?" That is the sort of question that occupied Derrida according to the lady. She also tells us that he was "the sort of man who chose to live in a house in a suburb, with its own garden where he planted old Christmas trees and buried dead cats." (Sorry, but that is what she says.) The questions that drew him were "What is literature?" and "How is it that writing can disturb the very question 'what is?'"
I would think it is pretty obvious what literature is is it not? Nor does the second bit in the slightest disturb us, because it is in truth impossible even to ask a question the answer to which one does not in some sense already know.