Hotel October: The Deaths and Dates of Jacques Derrida and Walter Benjamin

Presented by Professor John Schad (Department of English Literature and Creative Writing, Lancaster University)

Date: 18 August, 2017
Time: 3pm-4pm
Location: Room 601, Michie Building (#9)


‘Hotel October’ explores Jacques Derrida’s fascination with dates and how that fascination reveals a secret correspondence, in every sense of the word, with Walter Benjamin – a man who has the same birth-day as Derrida.  It is, though, the date of Benjamin’s death and its infamous mise-en-scène, the cheap hotel on the Franco-Spanish border, that dominate ‘Hotel October,’ a text which takes the form of a dramatic monologue delivered by the proprietor, Juan Suñer - a man known to be both a manipulator of dates and, indeed, close to the Gestapo.  As the monologue unfolds, Suñer advances an elaborate calendrical re-reading of a host of Derrida texts which probes at the mystery not only of Benjamin’s last night but also of living with both Jewish and Christian calendars.  Finally, we see how this last of nights puts under unbearable pressure the infinite promise of both the Jewish Sabbath and the Christian Sunday.



Professor John Schad (Department of English Literature and Creative Writing, Lancaster University) has a research focus in: critical-creative writing; modernism; Victorian writing; literary theory; and the relationship between religion and literature. These interests are reflected in his major publications - seven authored books: namely, Hostage of the Word: Readings into Writings 1993-2013 (Sussex), The Late Walter Benjamin (Bloomsbury), Someone Called Derrida: An Oxford Mystery (Sussex), Arthur Hugh Clough (Northcote House), Queer Fish: Christian Unreason from Darwin to Joyce (Sussex), Victorians in Theory (Manchester UP), and The Reader in the Dickensian Mirrors (Macmillan); and my five edited books: namely, Dickens Refigured (Manchester UP); Thomas Hardy, A Laodicean (Penguin); Writing the Bodies of Christ (Ashgate); Crrritic!(Sussex); and life.after.theory (Continuum). The last book included new interviews with Jacques Derrida, Frank Kermode, Toril Moi, and Christopher Norris. Prof Schad has also been General Editor for a series of experimental monographs called critical inventions. The series includes titles by Thomas Docherty, Roger Ebbatson, J.Hillis Miller, Kevin Mills, David Punter, Michael Wood and Jean-Michel Rabaté.

Professor John Schad (Department of English Literature and Creative Writing, Lancaster University)


About Research Seminar and Workshop Series


Writing and communicating about pandemics: 2020 School of Communication and Arts Research Seminar Series

The research seminar and workshop series occur each semester, each with a different topic and guest speaker from UQ or otherwise.

Semester 1, 2020 Seminars & Workshops


Friday, 13 March

Literature as Media: Chinese Online Literature—Storytellers, platforms and transmedia literary world

(Part of the Platform Media: Algorithms, Accountability and Media Design EVENTS)

Dr Tony Xiang Ren, Western Sydney University, with A/Prof Kim Wilkins, Dr Helen Marshall & Emily Baulch

Friday, 27 March



Dr Cedric Courtois

Friday, 10 April


TBC Dr Beck Wise

Friday, 24 April



Dr Skye Doherty

Friday, 8 May


TBC Dr Andrea Bubenik

Friday, 22 May


TBC Dr Chris Hay

Friday, 5 June

Online via Zoom

Research Seminar - Imagining the End of the World: Writing the Apocalypse before Covid-19 Dr Helen Marshall

Friday, 3 July

Online via Zoom:

Research Seminar - Developing Disciplinary Literacies in Hybrid Classes

Dr Beck Wise



Level 6, Michie Building (#9)