I was remarkably well prepared to encounter Derrida in the late '60s. I was just finishing graduate studies in French (at Yale), but it was my Cornell undergraduate education (Class of '62) that had trained me. I had had seminars here and wrote an honor thesis with Paul de Man, who was then Chair of Comparative Literature. I had heard lectures by M.H. Abrams and Vladimir Nabokov. I had taken philosophy classes with Norman Malcom and John Rawls. I was an editor of the Cornell Writer and a budding critic who regularly rejected the poetry of his fellow student, Thomas Pynchon.
Thanks to Rich for bringing this to my attention on Pynchon-l.