I'm spurred to read "Spurs," but "Spurs" is not an ebook, so I'm off the hook. Still, here's some text visible in Google books. Derrida is playing with the the possible meaning(s) of "I have forgotten my umbrella," found (in quotation marks) in Nietzche's unpublished manuscripts. Excerpt:
The umbrella's symbolic figure is well-known, or supposedly so. Take, for example, the hermaphroditic spur of a phallus which is modestly enfolded in its veils, an organ which is at once aggressive and apotropaic, threatening and/or threatened. One doesn't just happen onto an unwonted object of this sort in a sewing-machine on a castration table."Unwonted" is not a typo. Unlike "unwanted," it's not commonly heard/seen. It means: "not commonly heard, seen, practised." So says the OED, which tells us that Charlotte Brontë used "unwonted" in "Jane Eyre": "Difficulties in habituating myself to new rules and unwonted tasks." Are there umbrellas in "Jane Eyre"?
I jumped up, took my muff and umbrella, and hastened into the inn-passage: a man was standing by the open door, and in the lamp-lit street I dimly saw a one-horse conveyance....The Freudian symbolism is too blatant to need pointing out. The umbrella, the man, and the horse. And the muff, the inn-passage, and the open door. That's more than dimly seen.
"Apotropaic" is also unusual. The OED says it's "Having or reputed to have the power of averting evil influence or ill luck" and gives this earliest example from the 1883 Encyclopedia Brittanica:
The sacrifice of the ‘October horse’ in the Campus Martius..had also a naturalistic and apotropaic character.Wikipedia says the "October horse was an animal sacrifice to Mars carried out on October 15, coinciding with the end of the agricultural and military campaigning season." There were chariot races and "the right-hand horse of the winning team was transfixed by a spear, then sacrificed." So did the ancient Romans have umbrellas? Yes. They were used by women and "effeminate men." Used against the sun, of course. How much Latin do you need to see the "umbra" in "umbrella" and to know we're talking about shade.
We law folk know "umbra" from the "penumbras" in "specific guarantees in the Bill of Rights [that] have penumbras, formed by emanations from those guarantees that help give them life and substance," a very glaring phrase written by Justice William O. Douglas, trying to explain how in the lamp-lit street he dimly saw the right of privacy.
But it was really Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. who got that word started in its U.S. law usage, the OED tells us: "The use of the penumbra metaphor in American jurisprudence appears to date from the late 19th cent. and is associated with Oliver Wendell Holmes (1841–1935), legal scholar and Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court."
1873 O. W. Holmes in Amer. Law. Rev. 7 654 It is better to have a line drawn somewhere in the penumbra between darkness and light, than to remain in uncertainty.I suspect no one will ever Heh-great-stuff-Althouse-Cf. me again. Here I am, writing expectantly, hoping for the circle to finally close, as it did for young Obama, crying over his father's grave, when he realized that the masculine needed to be leavened with femininity and that who he was, what he cared about, was no longer just a matter of intellect or obligation, no longer a construct of words, and then it started to rain and suddenly his brother Bernard was squatting beside him, sheltering him with a bent-up old umbrella.
"Are you ready for me to read it?" Meade asks, and I say, "It needs one more thing, and I don't know what it is."