In January 2001 I received a letter from Jacques Derrida. The letter was a response to an article I had written about the concept of disinterest. What I did not know at the time was that he was in the midst of his seminar on the death penalty, which includes his most sustained interrogation of disinterest and interest. This essay examines the history of disinterest as a death penalty. Derrida challenges the possibility of such a history, arguing both for the madness of disinterest and the tenacity of another kind of interest. The essay also addresses Derrida’s letter and the problem of taking an interest in the interests of the other, of the right to interest, not least in Derrida’s own interests.