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Derrida in Baltimore

Michael Martone (who preceded me by several years at the Johns Hopkins creative writing program), wrote a reflective piece about Baltimore and literary history .

1966. Derrida arrives in Baltimore, twenty-nine city blocks north of where we are now, to deliver, for the first time on these shores, the obituary of the author. At the very moment the construction of authorship in America is evolving from the romantic individual genius to the romantic individual genius with tenure. Later, Derrida is taken to a crab house on Belair Road where he is instructed in the procedure for disassembling the steamed Maryland blue crab. He is a quick study. He becomes proficient at removing the carapace, the feathery lungs and mustard some consider a delicacy, adept at cracking the claws with knife and wooden mallet, extracting the lump meat from the compartments of cartilage. The flesh of the crab is like soap. The act of consuming consumes him.

Baltimore animated crab

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