- Deleuze’s Way: Essays in Transverse Ethics and Aesthetics
Each of the ten essays in Ronald Bogue’s latest exploration of Gilles Deleuze’s philosophy creatively charts ways in which connections might be discovered between seemingly incommunicable regions of art and life. The collection is valuable as much as an example of Deleuze’s method as it is as an exploration of his thought: each essay can stand alone, but the reader will find in their inter-relationships a practical unfolding of the very system of Deleuzian “ways” that are traced in each. Bogue examines the transverse as the means whereby communication is made possible, in multiple ways, between disparate areas of life and thought which initially appear to be closed in upon themselves. This way of considering the world is thus not only creative but also has social and political implications: it connects the realms of the aesthetic and the ethical and suggests new modes of perceiving what is possible in life.
Each essay is, then, both an example and exploration of the manner in which the transverse way unfolds new, beneficial pathways of communication between seemingly unconnected domains. Since a discrete ethical system was never formally developed by Deleuze in his philosophy, the essays in this collection are particularly valuable in examining the ways in which ethics permeates his philosophical thought. Moving from the opening essay’s presentation of the immanent nature of the ethical, Bogue explores how the “territories” of the “minor” in literature and music afford possibilities for developing a new collectivity—what Deleuze and his colleague Félix Guattari had called the “people to come.” In the following chapter, several forms of heavy metal music are examined as examples of the relationship between violence and art in contemporary popular culture, wonderfully delineating the Deleuzian way one might be capable of “thinking otherwise.”
In the following two essays, Bogue examines a “pedagogy of images” where learning to “think otherwise” is equated with learning to perceive, and thus conceive of, existence in new ways. An education in reading the semiotics of life is explored in relationship to Deleuze’s study of Proust’s textuality, and the visual and aural relationships within Jean-Luc Godard’s cinematic aesthetic are presented as a pedagogical primer for viewing and hearing beyond the banally habitual in life. The type of “people to come” that such a pedagogy of signs might realize is developed by examining the Deleuzian reconception of Henri Bergson’s idea of “fabulation” in the following two chapters. The first considers “myth-making” as the ethical capacity [End Page 219] to create new truths and to falsify accepted realities; the second develops Deleuze’s idea of “fabulation” in his study of Sacher-Mascoch. Each examines the primacy given in Deleuze’s philosophy to the visual over narrative and suggests various ways in which new futures might be made possible in an “untimely” fashion.
The final three essays explore the Deleuzian concept of “nomadism” considered as an example of transverse ways between and within different cultural spheres. If the preceding essays in the collection are of value to the comparatist in suggesting a methodological approach, these three essays actively engage with possible renovations within the comparatist field. In the first, the role of gypsy music in popular culture and European modernism is presented as evidence of nomadic practice connecting different cultural elements and regions. With the second essay Bogue offers suggestions for a “transcultural poetics,” a cultural studies program deploying a model of “nomadic globalism” as distinct from the practices of western-dominated globalization. In the concluding chapter Bogue reviews an analysis by Christopher L. Miller critical of Deleuzian “nomadology” and underlines the commitment of the transverse to ethical responsibility and to the value inherent in formulating new perspectives upon life. In each individual chapter in this collection, Bogue has readily demonstrated such a commitment, both in terms of his always-insightful commentary on Deleuze’s transverse method and also through his artful demonstrations of that selfsame method in action.