New Book: Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari: Intersecting Lives


This looks interesting: I love biographies in general, and these two seem like characters one would actually enjoy reading about. Scott McLemee has a review of this book already here (you might have to register to read the whole thing, but it’s free):

The crazy-salad system building of Anti-Oedipus was intoxicating, as was that of its sequel, A Thousand Plateaus (1980), but the implications proved ambiguous and not a little troubling. Reich, at least, believed in the fusion of Marx and Freud as a step forward in the struggle for both collective and individual happiness. Even when he went mad, he saw himself as defending mankind from pollution by atomic bombs and sinister UFO technology. It seemed as if Deleuze and Guattari were picking up where he had left off, in prose that was playfully delirious, where Reich’s later ranting had been in terrible earnest. But it was hard to tell how their vision of human emancipation could be distinguished from a celebration of profound abjection.

In expressing these concerns, I date myself, no doubt. By the early 1990s, something changed in the context of Deleuze’s reception, at least in the United States. Until then, he had been known mostly by way of Foucault’s epochal logrolling (“perhaps one day, this century will be known as Deleuzean”). But by the time of Deleuze’s death in 1995, the increasing pace of translation and interpretation had created its own well-regulated and institutionally disciplined plateau of meaning. Nobody would ever think to plug Anti-Oedipus into a “reading machine” cobbled together from leftover bits of New Left ideology. It had become a text inspiring patient exegesis, not worry.

I’m looking forward to reading this, once I do, I might post some thoughts, but if you have already read it and want to share your observations, feel free to do so (privately or publicly). I’ve read Dosse’s History of Structuralism  and I remember that for a two-volume work it was extremely fast-paced and very readable.

One thought on “New Book: Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari: Intersecting Lives

  1. Just got this one in the mail – man, it’s a heavy tome! I half-expected it to be a slim paperback, but it’s gigantic (which I would have known if I paid attention to the blurb about the book). Looks as solid as Dosse’s volumes on structuralism. I’m looking forward to reading it soon, I like me some biographies…

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