The aim of this paper is to describe the role of the différance in some of Derrida’s most important texts, starting with the conference of 1968, La différance, where Derrida explains how to interpret the letter “a” that twists the differences in the différance. The inquiry asks whether it is possible to open a discussion on life in general by beginning to speak of a letter of the alphabet: can a silent non-observance of spelling reveal some general structures of a philosophical system’s strategy and economy, and also some particular features of subjectivity? Thanks especially to the comparison with some of Freud’s texts, Derrida tries to point out the bonds among death’s compulsion, life’s drive, archiving and the logic of repetition. The terms he employs, in fact, constitute, for Derrida, a single structure, uniform within itself, under the sign of the différance: namely, la-vie-la-mort. In this sense, the différance opens the boundaries that divide the subject within himself, putting him in a particular relationship with otherness. That is the way to think about subjectivity under the law of the Unheimlichkeit, which shares strangeness and proximity not only in a literal sense. This meeting in the distances that is existence also speaks to us about the matter of hospitality: perhaps the foreigner doesn’t come only from “outside”.

Keywords: Différence; Text; Archive; La-vie-la-mort; Hospitality; Unheimlichkeit.