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The Deleuze Dictionary. Edited by Adrian Parr. Edinburgh, Edinburgh University Press, 2005. vi + 318 pp. Hb £60.00. Pb £18.99.

Eschewing the role of mere scene-setter, Claire Colebrook begins her Introduction to this volume with a gauntlet-throwing 'Why a Deleuze dictionary?' There are, she points out, compelling arguments against such an enterprise. Insofar as Deleuze's thought endeavours to armour itself against system and synthesis, it is an unpromising arena for taxonomical marshalling. Moreover, is becoming Deleuzian merely a matter of talking the talk, pinning the vocabulary? Rather, Colebrook concludes, if a dictionary is also to walk the Deleuzian walk, it must provide a variety of signposts. It must offer some interpretative tools, but those tools must provide for diverse productions of meaning and relation. This process is aided by the international line-up of twenty-nine contributors, covering over 150 entries, running from 'Active/Reactive' to the wholly appropriate culminatory entry, 'Writing'. Some of these focus on individuals impacting upon the Deleuzian oeuvre and justifiably attracting discrete mentions (Spinoza, Nietzsche, Kafka, Hume, Leibniz, Bergson, etc.). Others deemed to be more peripheral receive headings followed by cross-references. These include Plato, Sartre, Freud, Merleau-Ponty and Simondon. It could be argued that Sacher-Masoch is as deserving of inclusion as Lacan, who does receive his own section. Marx, on the other hand, who is taken into account, rather than explicitly foregrounded, by Deleuze-Guattari, features twice, once alone and again in association with Antonio Negri. The majority of entries refer, though, to concepts and working practices, many of them oscillating between the poles which Deleuze's work tends to posit: molar and molecular; exteriority/interiority; differentiation/differenciation; deterritorialisation/reterritorialisation. Although this desideratum may seem strange in a work which is itself already alphabetical, I would have welcomed an index for quick reference – as [End Page 503] provided, for example, in the comparable Le Vocabulaire de Gilles Deleuze, edited by Sasso and Villani in 2003 – since not all concepts are necessarily ranged in the most obvious place. Empiricism, for example, is to be found not under E but under 'Transcendental Empiricism', while Husserl is to be found under 'Phenomenology + Husserl'. Similarly, my search for 'Music' initially seemed fruitless, until I found 'Becoming and Music' (where Messiaen is also to be found), and 'Minoritarian + Music'. Given the large number of contributors, it is perhaps inevitable that some entries should be more accessible than others. Alison Ross's entry on Kant, for example, is a model of lucidity, whereas other entries make much harder demands on the reader. As an additional navigational aid, most entries bear a short list of 'connectives', suggesting bridges towards other sections. Sometimes the bridge is for one-way traffic – Claire Colebrook rightly supplies the connective 'Virtual/Virtuality' for her 'Actuality' section, even though the latter does not return the favour. Bruce Baugh's 'Transcendental Empiricism + Politics' contains no connectives, though rich networks might be established (not least with John Marks' accomplished section on 'Control Society'). The connectives are, nevertheless, serviceable. The reader initially uses them as trampolines into intersecting areas of Deleuze's thought, but then begins to invent his/her own bouncing-off points. The ability to prompt such creativity is one of the many merits of this book.

Mary Bryden
University of Reading
...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1468-2931
Print ISSN
0016-1128
Pages
pp. 503-504
Launched on MUSE
2008-11-09
Open Access
No
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