Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

First Advisor

Davis Wills


This dissertation examines the way in which Roland Barthes and Jacques Derrida rework the psychoanalytical constructions of desire through what can be referred to, short of a better word, as play or gaming. Play takes many forms in these two texts; etymological play and structural play are two of the more prominent manifestations of this gaming. In an effort to analyze and at the same time emulate this play and its use by these two authors, I introduce the idea of the dreidel which functions as a device which objectifies the discourse of desire. It also serves as a physical example of the phrase "tourner autour," one of the main notions presented in La Carte postale and more recently Derrida's "autobiography" Jacques Derrida, coauthored with Geoffrey Bennington. Along with the idea of turning is the figure of intersection. Using this textual device of chiasmus, I am working at the intersection of literature, philosophy, psychoanalysis and feminist studies in order to analyze the deconstructions of desire in these two texts.