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Introduction. Deleuze’s Scholasticism

1. Slavoj Žižek, Organs without Bodies: On Deleuze and Consequences (New York: Routledge, 2004). Gilles Deleuze, The Logic of Sense, trans. Mark Lester with Charles Stivale (New York: Columbia University Press, 1990); and Deleuze, Difference and Repetition, trans. Paul Patton (New York: Columbia University Press, 1994). While my readings privilege The Logic of Sense in certain respects, I adhere to the model of time outlined in Difference and Repetition beyond and in some sense against that presented in The Logic of Sense. This is detailed at the end of this introduction and in chapter 7.

2. I wish to thank Alan Schrift for sharing with me the program for the agrégation in philosophy during the years (1944–48) Deleuze studied at the Sorbonne, as well as the Sorbonne faculty record for the years 1945 to 1948 (it being unclear whether courses were offered there during the 1944–45 school year). Deleuze would have had the opportunity of studying with teachers such as Émile Bréhier (whom he cites positively in The Logic of Sense, and whose work on the incorporeal is taken up in what follows), Jean Laporte, Henri Gouhier, Maurice de Gandillac, and Martial Guéroult. Alan D. Schrift’s consultation and his entries on Bréhier, Ferdinand Alquié, Étienne Gilson, and Jean Hyppolite in Twentieth-Century French Philosophy: Key Themes and Thinkers (Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2006) have been of particular help in tracking down Deleuze’s potential exposure to ancient and Medieval thought during his period of university study. It is not clear whether Deleuze had sustained exposure to Medieval thought and, above all, to Medieval logic, though his first Spinoza book demonstrates that he certainly had more exposure than most of his immediate contemporaries, perhaps with the exception of thinkers such as Klossowski and Bataille. It is also possible that Alquié’s Le désir d’éternité (Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 1943) and its discussion of the “affective refusal of time” had some influence on Deleuze’s formulation of the third synthesis of time. Giuseppe Bianco’s entry on Alquié and Jean Hyppolite in Aux sources de la pensée de Gilles Deleuze 1, ed. Stéfan Leclercq (Mons, Belgium: Éditions Sils Maria, 2005), discusses Alquié’s “dualism and separation between temporality and eternity” (94), an idea that is discussed at the end of this introduction. It is also entirely possible that Deleuze could have attended Gilson’s lectures at the Collège de France during his time at the Sorbonne. These connections merit further exploration; nevertheless what follows is not in any exacting sense an influence argument but more nearly a juxtaposition that aims to be useful in arguing for Deleuze’s affinities with certain strains of thought he generally disassociates himself from (such as his teachers Alquié and to a certain extent Hyppolite). For more on Deleuze’s formation, see François Dosse, Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari: Intersecting Lives, trans. Deborah Glassman (New York: Columbia University Press, 2010).

3. Deleuze evokes the problematic of divine names in Expressionism in Philosophy: Spinoza, trans. Martin Joughin (New York: Zone Books, 1992), esp. 44–67.

4. See especially Richard Cross, Duns Scotus on God (Aldershot, UK: Ashgate, 2005); Cross, Physics of Duns Scotus: The Scientific Context of a Theological Vision (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998); Giorgio Pini, Categories and Logic in Duns Scotus: An Interpretation of Aristotle’s Categories in the Late Thirteenth Century (Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill, 2002); and Pini, “Univocity in Scotus’s Quaestiones super Metaphysicam: The Solution to a Riddle,” Medioevo 30 (2005), 69–110. A larger question I hope someday to pursue is the relative influence of Gilson’s work on Deleuze and other thinkers of Deleuze’s generation. In this context, see Gilson’s important Jean Duns Scot: Introduction à ses positions fondamentales (Paris: Vrin, 1952). A helpful English excerpt from Gilson’s work on Scotus can be found in A Gilson Reader, ed. Anton C. Pegis (Garden City, NY: Hanover House, 1957). For an excellent treatment of Deleuze and his relation to Scotus, see Nathan Widder, “John Duns Scotus,” in Deleuze’s Philosophical Lineage, ed. Graham Jones and Jon Roffe (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2009). See also Daniel W. Smith, “The Doctrine of Univocity: Deleuze’s Ontology of Immanence,” in Deleuze and Religion, ed. Mary Bryden (London: Routledge, 2001); and Stéfan Leclercq, “Jean Duns Scot,” in Aux sources de la pensée de Gilles Deleuze 1, ed. Stéfan Leclercq (Mons, Belgium: Éditions Sils Maria, 2005).

5. Primarily in Expressionism in Philosophy: Spinoza, trans. Martin Joughin (New York: Zone Books, 1992) and Difference and Repetition.

6. See Deleuze, “Seminar on Scholasticism and Spinoza,” 14 January 1974,; and Difference and Repetition, 302–4.

7. See Adrian Johnston, Žižek’s Ontology: A Transcendental Materialist Theory of Subjectivity (Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press, 2008).

8. Notably many specialists on the Medieval material point out the proximity of Scotus and his predecessor Aquinas on some of the ontological issues according to which Deleuze would separate them, although these scholars then formulate other strong distinctions. See, for example, the works cited in n. 4 above and, especially relevant for what follows, Rudi te Velde, “Metaphysics and the Question of Creation: Thomas Aquinas, Duns Scotus and Us,” in Belief and Metaphysics, ed. Conor Cunningham and Peter M. Candler (London: SCM Press, 2007); and Giorgio Pini, “Scotus on Assertion and the Copula: A Comparison with Aquinas,” in Medieval Theories of Assertive and Non-Assertive Language, ed. A. Maierù and L. Valente (Florence: Olschki, 2004). The former argues for Aquinas’s ontology as ultimately superior to and more properly ontological than Scotus’s.

9. Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, Anti-Oedipus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia, trans. Mark Seem, Robert Hurley, and Helen R. Lane (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1983); Deleuze and Guattari, A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia, trans. Brian Massumi (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1987); Deleuze and Guattari, Kafka: Toward a Minor Literature, trans. Dana Polan (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1986); and Deleuze and Guattari, What Is Philosophy? trans. Hugh Tomlinson and Graham Burchell (New York: Columbia University Press, 1994).

10. Žižek, Organs without Bodies.

11. See Joe Hughes, Deleuze and the Genesis of Representation (London: Continuum, 2008); and A. Kiarina Kordela, “Dialectics and Structuralism as Valences,” unpublished essay.

12. Such minor states are nonetheless quite distinct from the domain of “affect studies” and its concerns with negative emotions. At issue are states of being quite indifferent to the human, as opposed to human emotions. Questions of constructedness and agency are almost entirely beside the point.

13. Alain Badiou, Deleuze: The Clamor of Being, trans. Louise Burchill (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2000), 46.

14. See Joshua Delpech-Ramey and Paul A. Harris, eds. “Spiritual Politics after Deleuze,” special issue, SubStance 39:1 (2010); and selections from Collapse: Philosophical Research and Development 3 (2007), especially Robin Mackay’s helpful “Editorial Introduction” (17–30), which gives a detailed overview and background framing of Deleuze’s early essay (from 1946) “Mathesis, Science, and Philosophy,” also included in the same volume (140–55). See also Joshua Delpech-Ramey, The Hermetic Deleuze: Philosophy and Spiritual Ordeal (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, forthcoming); and especially Christian Kerslake’s Deleuze and the Unconscious (London: Continuum, 2007) and its compelling argument that Deleuze’s model of the unconscious has more in common with the Jungian unconscious and with Bergson’s concept of memory, as opposed to duration, than it does with Freud. This notion of a pure memory outside the parameters of duration is entirely in keeping with the discussion of eternity and the third synthesis of time in what follows.

15. Deleuze, Difference and Repetition, 115.

16. In this regard, I would concur with Tim Clark’s insightful discussion of how “the inobservability of structure” is an “insistent problem” for Deleuze. See Clark, “Deleuze and Structuralism: Towards a Geometry of Sufficient Reason,” in Deleuze and Philosophy: The Difference Engineer, ed. Keith Ansell Pearson (London: Routledge, 1997). Clark writes that “what is interesting about Deleuze’s un-grounding of the structuralist model is that he does not immediately move to a dynamical systems model, nor does he simply reintroduce the ontological time of the turbulent flux. Rather, the model is overturned through the discovery of a logical time immanent in the space of the structure, in that coherent logical space in which structuralism grounds itself” (69, my emphasis).

17. See Deleuze, “Mathesis, Science, and Philosophy,” where he writes: “Everyday life traces its path within the objectivity of the sensible; objects are outside of us, they owe us nothing, they are their own signification,” (148).

18. See Mackay, “Editorial Introduction,” 25.

19. For an extraordinary contemporary exploration of what constitutes this thingness of objects, see Jane Bennett, Vibrant Matter: A Political Ecology of Things (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2010). I would argue that the phenomenological tradition also takes up this question quite probingly, and sometimes in spite of its more overt human perceptive orientation. Sartre is discussed in what follows, but another good example is the discussion of rock-being in Martin Heidegger, The Fundamental Concepts of Metaphysics: World, Finitude, Solitude, trans. William McNeill and Nicholas Walker (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1995).

20. Quentin Meillassoux, After Finitude: An Essay on the Necessity of Contingency, trans. Ray Brassier (London: Continuum, 2008); Ray Brassier, Nihil Unbound: Enlightenment and Extinction (Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007).

21. See blogs such as Speculative Heresy (http:/, Larval Subjects (http:/, Object-Oriented Philosophy (http:/, Networkologies (http:/net, Speculations (http:/, Another Heidegger Blog (http:/, Naught Thought (http:/, and Philosophy in a Time of Error (http:/ These blogs do not all engage equally with OOO, and some favor other “branches” of speculative realist thought. For straight OOO, see the blogs of its primary four practitioners.

22. Deleuze, “Mathesis, Science, and Philosophy,” 146.

23. Ibid., 153.

24. Deleuze, The Logic of Sense, “Twenty-second Series—Porcelain and Volcano,” 154–61, and appendix 5, “Zola and the Crack-Up,” 321–33.

25. Giorgio Agamben, Homo Sacer: Sovereign Power and Bare Life, trans. Daniel Heller-Roazen (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1998). For a detailed consideration of Agamben’s work on life in conjunction with Aristotelian thought and also Marx and contemporary biology, see the work of Melinda Cooper, especially “The Living and the Dead: Variations on De Anima,” Angelaki 7:3 (2002), 81–104. Agamben himself considers Deleuze’s “vitalism” alongside Aristotle and Foucault in “Absolute Immanence,” in Potentialities, trans. Daniel Heller-Roazen (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1999) but gives too much exclusive emphasis, in my opinion, to Deleuze’s final essay, “Immanence: A Life,” in Pure Immanence: Essays on a Life, trans. Anne Boyman (New York: Zone Books, 2001).

26. Indeed, insofar as Foucault’s The Order of Things might be seen as a polemic against an easy humanist vision of life and much more about systems of classification, so too Deleuze’s work from this period falls under the same banner. See Michel Foucault, The Order of Things: An Archaeology of the Human Sciences (New York: Vintage Books, 1994).

27. Keith Ansell Pearson, Germinal Life: The Difference and Repetition of Deleuze (London: Routledge, 1999), 84.

28. See Eugene Thacker, After Life (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2010). The title of this introduction, “Deleuze’s Scholasticism,” is in fact a subtitle in Thacker’s exceptional analysis of Deleuze and Medieval thought in After Life, and although I did not adopt it consciously from Thacker, I am sure it was in no small way due to the influence of Thacker’s much more detailed study of the conjunction between Deleuze’s work and medieval philosophy. I am also influenced by the model of Erin Felicia Labbie’s Lacan’s Medievalism (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2006).

29. See the discussion in chapter 3 of Deleuze’s distinction between and elevation of concepts over categories in his course lectures.

30. A few highlights from this work include Manuel DeLanda, Intensive Science and Virtual Philosophy (London: Continuum, 2005); Brian Massumi, Parables for the Virtual: Movement, Affect, Sensation (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2002); Steven Shaviro, Without Criteria: Kant, Whitehead, Deleuze, and Aesthetics (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2009); Antonio R. Damasio, Looking for Spinoza: Joy, Sorrow, and the Feeling Brain (Orlando, FL: Harcourt, 2003); John Protevi, Political Affect: Connecting the Social and the Somatic (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2009); Anne Sauvagnargues, Deleuze: L’empirisme transcendental (Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 2009); and Simon Duffy, ed., Virtual Mathematics: The Logic of Difference (Manchester: Clinamen, 2006).

31. In addition to the works cited in the preceding note, two exemplary early discussions of the Deleuzian virtual are Brian Massumi, A User’s Guide to Capitalism and Schizophrenia: Deviations from Deleuze and Guattari (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1992); and Constantin Boundas, “Deleuze-Bergson: An Ontology of the Virtual,” in Deleuze: A Critical Reader, ed. Paul Patton (Oxford: Blackwell, 1996).

32. Some years ago, when teaching a graduate seminar partially devoted to Anti-Oedipus, I resorted to bringing in each week a different acknowledgment by a major Deleuze scholar of the difficulty of defining the body without organs, as the students found this term in particular excessively frustrating. I am not attempting to reproduce such a compendium here.

33. For detailed discussions of the affirmative potential as well as the pitfalls of considering psychoanalysis a distinctly Jewish science, see Yosef Hayim Yerushalmi, Freud’s Moses: Judaism Terminable and Interminable (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1991); and Jacques Derrida, Archive Fever: A Freudian Impression, trans. Eric Prenowitz (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996).

34. Exemplary criticisms by major Deleuze scholars include, of Žižek on Deleuze, Daniel W. Smith, “The Inverse Side of the Structure: Žižek on Deleuze and Lacan,” Criticism 46:4 (Fall 2004), 635–50; and, of Hallward on Deleuze, Joshua Delpech-Ramey, “Without Art: Peter Hallward’s Out of This World: Deleuze and the Philosophy of Creation,” Journal for Culture and Religious Theory 8:3 (Fall 2007), 136–45. The literature on Badiou and Deleuze is too immense to cite here. Apart from chapter 5 and the concluding section of chapter 3, I do not address this relation in detail in this study, but it is one of the focal points of my forthcoming At Odds with Badiou: Politics, Dialectics, and Religion from Sartre and Deleuze to Lacan and Agamben (New York: Columbia University Press), especially the chapter “Deleuze, Badiou, and Royal Thought,” which takes Badiou’s claim that Deleuze is a royal thinker at face value but uses that at once to defend Deleuze and to emphasize his affinities with Badiou.

35. Deleuze, Expressionism in Philosophy, 63.

36. See Pini, “Univocity in Scotus’s Quaestiones super Metaphysicam.”

37. This is extrapolated and paraphrased from Deleuze’s examples in his “Seminar on Scholasticism and Spinoza,” discussed in detail in chapter 3. On the divine trace, see Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, trans. Fathers of the English Dominican Province (Notre Dame, IN: Christian Classics, 1981), 1a q. 45, a 7.

38. See John Milbank, “The Soul of Reciprocity, Part Two: Reciprocity Granted,” Modern Theology 17:4 (October 2001), 485–507; and Slavoj Žižek and John Milbank, The Monstrosity of Christ: Paradox or Dialectic?, ed. Creston Davis (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2009). For Milbank’s detailed discussion of questions of analogy and dialectic, see esp. 141–42, 173–216. My overall reading of Aquinas and dialectic is largely in accord with Milbank’s, though his reading does not go into as much detail on Deleuze specifically and also gets into the more mystical terrain of Eckhart, which I have avoided.

39. Deleuze, Difference and Repetition, 88–89.

40. This is where I take some issue with the primary thesis of Sean Bowden’s exceptional new book on The Logic of Sense, namely that this work demonstrates the “ontological priority of events over substance.” While this argument is certainly more valid for The Logic of Sense than for Difference and Repetition, it nonetheless does not fully reckon with the conundrum that, though Deleuze indeed gives a privileged place to events in The Logic of Sense—not one, however, that I have emphasized in this study—it is not clear, and to my mind seems unlikely, that their emergence is thus of the first order, for it appears on the contrary to be distinctly of the second, which again, for Deleuze, makes it superior. It is this reversal of the intuitive principles of hierarchy while maintaining a no less strict hierarchy that makes Deleuze both proximate to and ultimately distinct from the Scholastic thinkers in question here. This study does not engage further with Bowden’s important thesis simply because it appeared as my text was already in final form and format. See Sean Bowden, The Priority of Events: Deleuze’s “Logic of Sense” (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2011).

41. Aquinas, Summa Theologica, 1a q. 10, a. 1. In the Summa contra Gentiles, trans. Fathers of the English Dominican Province (London: Washbourne, 1914–38), Aquinas puts it thus: “God, therefore, is without beginning and end, having His whole being at once. In this consists the nature of eternity” (I.15).

42. Peter Hallward, Out of This World: Deleuze and the Philosophy of Creation (London: Verso, 2006), 137. Hallward puts this in similar terms, here evoking Corbin and Spinoza, when he writes: “To put this in more explicitly theophanic terms: God expresses himself in the creatural, the creatural is nothing other than God, and the creatural offers an adequate path that leads to God. Yet to perceive God it is nonetheless necessary to follow this path, i.e. to move out past the creatural as such. What lives in the creature is not in the creature, precisely. … As Deleuze’s contemporary Henry Corbin explains, absolute creativity (or God) ‘cannot be an object (an objective given)….’ Via Spinoza, Deleuze sets out from much the same point of departure” (57).

43. Ibid., 152–53.

44. Ideally there would be another term in this picture, which is the notion of emanation, or the question of “creation as emanation,” to cite the title of a very helpful book by Thérèse Bonin about the origin of diversity in Albert the Great, Aquinas’s teacher. See Thérèse Bonin, Creation as Emanation: The Origin of Diversity in Albert the Great’s “On the Causes and the Procession of the Universe” (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 2001). It seems that emanation may be closer to what Hallward is talking about by creation. See also Aquinas, Summa Theologica, 1a q. 44, a. 2, and Summa Theologica, 1a q. 45 in its entirety.

45. Aquinas, Summa contra Gentiles, II.17. He also writes in the third paragraph of chapter 17, “In creation, therefore, neither motion nor change exists.”

46. Ibid.

47. Ibid., II.19.

48. Ibid.

49. Deleuze, Difference and Repetition, 183.

50. For Hallward’s discussion of Deleuze and history, see Out of This World, 100–103. For an excellent discussion of this same topic alongside a detailed reading of the three syntheses of time, see Jay Lampert, Deleuze and Guattari’s Philosophy of History (London: Continuum, 2006).

51. Aquinas, Summa contra Gentiles, II.19.

52. Aquinas, Summa Theologica, 1a q. 45, a 2.

53. Deleuze, The Logic of Sense, 1.

Chapter 1. Solid Dialectic in Sartre and Deleuze

1. Jacques Lacan, The Four Fundamental Concepts of Psychoanalysis, trans. Alan Sheridan (London: W. W. Norton, 1981), 95.

2. Jean-Paul Sartre, Being and Nothingness, trans. Hazel E. Barnes (New York: Washington Square, 1984), 61.

3. By way of argument against Husserl’s notion of the transcendental ego, Sartre invokes Hegel to assert that consciousness of oneself—that produced, for example, by the feeling of shame—is only possible as reflected from the gaze of another; we do not start from the self and go outward to intuit a world as in Descartes and Husserl, but rather our world is defined in dialectical relation to an other. See the section titled “The Look” in Being and Nothingness, 340–400.

4. Fredric Jameson, Sartre: The Origins of a Style (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1961), x.

5. This opposition is drawn out in the course of Sartre’s study The Transcendence of the Ego, trans. Forrest Williams and Robert Kirkpatrick (New York: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 1957). For a helpful account of Sartre’s early philosophical writings, see Dominick LaCapra, “Early Theoretical Studies: Art Is an Unreality,” in Jean-Paul Sartre, ed. Harold Bloom (Philadelphia: Chelsea House, 2001).

6. Sartre, Being and Nothingness, 509.

7. See Maurice Merleau-Ponty, “The Intertwining—the Chiasm,” in The Visible and the Invisible, trans. Alphonso Lingis (Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press), 1968.

8. Jean-Paul Sartre, The Wall, trans. Lloyd Alexander (New York: New Directions, 1975). See especially the stories “The Wall” and “The Room.”

9. Jameson, Sartre, 109.

10. See Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Phenomenology of Perception, trans. Colin Smith (London: Routledge, 2000), 57–62, 78–79.

11. Deleuze, Difference and Repetition, 59–60. For the same argument, see Deleuze, The Logic of Sense. There he writes that “Platonic dialectic is neither a dialectic of contradiction nor of contrariety, but a dialectic of rivalry (amphisbetesis), a dialectic of rivals and suitors” (254). Deleuze follows Bergson, whose theory of temporality, as outlined in Matter and Memory, trans. N. M. Paul and W. S. Palmer (New York: Zone Books, 1991), rests on the distinction between perception and recollection as attributes that differ in kind and not degree (67). See also Deleuze’s Bergsonism, trans. Hugh Tomlinson and Barbara Habberjam (New York: Zone Books, 1991).

12. Deleuze, The Logic of Sense, 253–54.

13. For discussions of dualism and dialectic in Deleuze, see Fredric Jameson, “Marxism and Dualism in Deleuze” in A Deleuzian Century?, ed. Ian Buchanan (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1999; reprinted in Valences of the Dialectic); and Ian Buchanan, Deleuzism: A Metacommentary (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2000). Although they are formulated in very different terms, I am indebted to the essays collected in Fredric Jameson’s Valences of the Dialectic (London: Verso, 2009). Indeed my very framework for reading Deleuze would not have been thinkable without my years of study with Professor Jameson and in particular the seminar on the dialectic that he gave in 1996. In the introductory essay to this collection, “Three Names of the Dialectic,” Jameson writes: “[I]t now seems possible to abstract an emptier mechanism from the stages of Hegelian logic, one formalistic enough to claim application to an impressive variety of material and disciplinary, social and ideological, contents. In fact, that was exactly what structuralism achieved with the binary opposition, and this is perhaps the moment to celebrate that breakthrough, with which, in my opinion, and unbeknownst to the structuralists themselves, dialectical thought was able to reinvent itself in our time” (17). Although the rest of Jameson’s book develops, at least implicitly, more pointed criticisms of such a formalism, of Aristotle, and—in a complicated fashion—of Deleuze, my project nonetheless might be framed as building on the positive implications of Jameson’s statement above. It also develops his similarly double-edged claim, further in the same chapter, that “indeed, even the inaugural dead end of metaphysical dualism may well turn out to generate more productive developments than we have first suspected” (19).

14. I owe this turn of phrase to the study by mathematician G. Spenser Brown, Laws of Form (New York: Bantam Books, 1972).

15. Sartre, Being and Nothingness, 167.

16. Ibid.

17. Jameson, Sartre, 53–54.

18. Deleuze, The Logic of Sense, 5.

19. I owe this formulation to Rocco Gangle.

20. See Sartre’s Being and Nothingness, 173.

21. Émile Bréhier, La Théorie des incorporels dans l’ancien stoïcisme (Paris: Vrin, 1970), 11–13, qtd. in Deleuze, The Logic of Sense, 5.

22. Sartre, Being and Nothingness, 167.

23. Ibid., 174. Sartre writes that “the past is given as a for-itself become in-itself. … In one sense then the past, which is at the same time for-itself and in-itself, resembles value or self” (174). By yet another chiasmatic logic, we might reverse the neat mapping of Chronos with in-itself and Aion with for-itself by returning to Sartre’s reflections on Husserl in his Transcendence of the Ego from 1936. He outlines a four-part process of reflection that ends in Husserl’s phenomenological reduction. First, the “I” exists, then it gains a special intuition, which leads it to an act of self-reflection, where the reflected consciousness “becomes the object of the reflecting consciousness without ceasing to affirm its own object (a chair, a mathematical truth, etc.)” (52–53). Without analyzing this example with the rigor it would demand, I would question whether the reflecting consciousness that falls into the space of phenomenological reduction can do so anywhere but in the present. Is this the blindness and insight of Sartrean and Husserlian consciousness, that the epiphanic perception of the for-itself and of the phenomenological reduction can only be perceived in a Chronos-like pure present? Does this give a new valence to Deleuze’s general demotion of the present in The Logic of Sense? This is the claim in the discussion of Difference and Repetition in part 2 of this study and the more general claim of part 3.

24. Sartre, Being and Nothingness, 63–64.

25. Deleuze, The Logic of Sense, 23. Also see “Eating Well, or the Calculation of the Subject: An Interview with Jacques Derrida,” in Who Comes after the Subject, ed. Eduardo Cadava, Peter Connor, and Jean-Luc Nancy (New York: Routledge, 1991).

26. This is not entirely uncharacteristic for Deleuze, who repeatedly echoes the necessity of beginning in the middle in his “On the Superiority of Anglo-American Literature,” in Gilles Deleuze and Claire Parnet, Dialogues, trans. Hugh Tomlinson and Barbara Habberjam (New York: Columbia University Press, 1987).

27. Sartre, Being and Nothingness, 774.

28. Ibid., 777.

29. For an interesting and very different sort of phenomenology of the space of writing, see Diana Fuss, The Sense of an Interior: Four Writers and the Rooms That Shaped Them (New York: Routledge, 2004).

30. Deleuze and Guattari, A Thousand Plateaus, 414–15.

31. This double or hybrid quality of the smiths is a virtue to the extent that the metal they work with has a fluidity that links it to all matter: “Metallurgy is the consciousness or thought of the matter-flow, and metal the correlate of this consciousness. … Not everything is metal, but metal is everywhere. Metal is the conductor of all matter” (ibid., 411). In the same passage, Deleuze and Guattari oppose metal to stone, linking metal alone to thought. It is my contention that there is also a thought of stone that is deeply resonant with Deleuzian ontology.

32. For a sustained attack on Sartre’s gendered notions of holes and slime, see Christine Pierce, “Holes and Slime: Sexism in Sartre’s Psychoanalysis” in Immovable Laws, Irresistible Rights: Natural Law, Moral Rights, and Feminist Ethics (Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2000).

33. The damning passage on slime and the feminine appears at the end of Being and Nothingness:

At this instant I suddenly understand the snare of the slimy: it is a fluidity which holds me and which compromises me; I can not slide on this slime, all its suction cups hold me back; it can not slide over me, it clings to me like a leech. The sliding however is not simply denied as in the case of the solid; it is degraded. The slimy seems to lend itself to me, it invites me, for a body of slime at rest is not noticeably distinct from a body of very dense liquid. But it is a trap. The sliding is sucked in by the sliding substance, and it leaves its traces upon me. The slime is like a liquid seen in a nightmare, where all its properties are animated by a sort of life and turn back against me. Slime is the revenge of the In-itself. A sickly-sweet feminine revenge which will be symbolized on another level by the quality “sugary.” This is why the sugar-like sweetness to the taste—an indelible sweetness, which remains indefinitely in the mouth even after swallowing—perfectly completes the essence of the slimy; it symbolizes the sugary death of the For-itself (like the wasp which sinks into the jam and drowns in it). (776–77)

34. See Luce Irigaray, “The ‘Mechanics’ of Fluids,” in This Sex Which Is Not One, trans. Catherine Porter with Carolyn Burke (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1985). For an analysis of a masculine fluid economy, see Alphonso Lingis, “Fluid Economy,” in Foreign Bodies (New York: Routledge, 1994).

Chapter 2. Toward a Feminist Philosophy of Mind

1. Rosi Braidotti, “Toward a New Nomadism: Feminist Deleuzian Tracks; or, Metaphysics and Metabolism,” in Gilles Deleuze and the Theater of Philosophy, ed. Constantin V. Boundas and Dorothea Olkowski (New York: Routledge, 1994). See also Rosi Braidotti, Patterns of Dissonance (New York: Routledge: 1991); and Braidotti, Nomadic Subjects: Embodiment and Sexual Difference in Contemporary Feminist Theory (New York: Columbia University Press, 1994).

2. For a superb treatment of these questions in eighteenth-century French philosophy and literature, see Natania Meeker, Voluptuous Philosophy: Literary Materialism in the French Enlightenment (New York: Fordham University Press, 2006). “Voluptuous” is a term that Klossowski evokes repeatedly in his study of Nietzsche. See discussion below.

3. Braidotti, “Toward a New Nomadism,” 161.

4. Ibid., 163.

5. For a detailed reading of the body as an interplay of forces, especially as it relates to Nietzsche’s active and reactive forces, and Deleuze’s reading of this in his study of Nietzsche, see Dorothea Olkowski, “Nietzsche’s Dice Throw: Tragedy, Nihilism, and the Body without Organs,” in Gilles Deleuze and the Theater of Philosophy, ed. Constantin V. Boundas and Dorothea Olkowski (New York: Routledge, 1994), especially where she writes: “The body is not a medium and does not designate substance: it expresses the relationship between forces. The term ‘body’ does not simply refer, for Deleuze, to the psychophysiological bodies of human beings. Bodies may be chemical, biological, social, or political, and the distinction between these modes is not ontological” (120). In this study, I in fact attempt to think Deleuzian distinction as ontological.

6. Braidotti, “Toward a New Nomadism,” 169.

7. Gillian Rose, Feminism and Geography: The Limits of Geographical Knowledge (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1993), 146.

8. Gilles Deleuze, Cinema 2: The Time-Image, trans. Hugh Tomlinson and Robert Galeta (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1989), 189.

9. Braidotti, “Toward a New Nomadism,” 163.

10. Ibid., 165.

11. Deleuze, Cinema 2: The Time-Image, 205. On this topic, see also Gregory Flaxman, ed., The Brain Is the Screen: Deleuze and the Philosophy of Cinema (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2000).

12. See Ian Buchanan and Claire Colebrook, eds., Deleuze and Feminist Theory (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2000), in which this essay originally appeared.

13. Elizabeth Grosz, “Intensities and Flows,” in Volatile Bodies: Toward a Corporeal Feminism (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1994), 160. See also Grosz, “A Thousand Tiny Sexes: Feminism and Rhizomatics,” which forms, along with Braidotti’s essay, the section titled “Becoming-Woman,” in Gilles Deleuze and the Theatre of Philosophy, ed. Constantin V. Boundas and Dorothea Olkowski (New York: Routledge, 1994). With slight variations, the two pieces by Grosz take up basically the same argument.

14. Here it is important to note that corporeal and incorporeal, embodiment and disembodiment, are not strictly oppositional. For more on the question of the incorporeal in Deleuze and Sartre (and its causal rather than oppositional relation to the corporeal), see my “‘To Cut Too Deeply and Not Enough’: Violence and the Incorporeal,” Parallax 9:1 (2003): 14–27.

15. Grosz, “Intensities and Flows,” 164–65.

16. Gilles Deleuze, Bergsonism, trans. Barbara Habberjam and Hugh Tomlinson (New York: Zone Books, 1991), 25.

17. See Benedict de Spinoza, Ethics, trans. R. H. M. Elwes (New York: Dover, 1955), part 2, “On the Nature and Origin of the Mind,” especially propositions 15, 16, and 17 (pp. 97–99). Spinoza writes, for example, that “although the external bodies, by which the human body has once been affected, be no longer in existence, the mind will nevertheless regard them as present, as often as this action of the body is repeated” proposition 17 (p. 99). Sartre makes a similar claim in The Imaginary: A Phenomenological Psychology of the Imagination, trans. Jonathan Webber (New York: Routledge, 2004).

18. Gilles Deleuze, Expressionism in Philosophy: Spinoza, trans. Martin Joughin (New York: Zone Books, 1992), 201–2. For helpful analyses of Deleuze’s readings of Spinoza, see Michael Hardt, Gilles Deleuze: An Apprenticeship in Philosophy (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press), 1993, especially 56–111; and Moira Gatens, “Through a Spinozist Lens: Ethology, Difference, Power,” in Deleuze: A Critical Reader, ed. Paul Patton (Oxford: Blackwell, 1996), 162–87.

19. Genevieve Lloyd, Spinoza and the Ethics (New York: Routledge, 1996), 125.

20. Such an expansive vision of Spinoza’s notion of mind parallels and complements Moira Gaten’s analysis, in Imaginary Bodies: Ethics, Power and Corporeality (New York: Routledge, 1996), of how Spinoza complicates “embodiment”: “When the term ‘embodiment’ is used in the context of Spinoza’s thought it should be understood to refer not simply to an individual body but to the total affective context of that body” (131). In the same fashion, mind would also refer to the total affective context.

21. Exemplary of this is the work of Judith Butler, who, like Braidotti and Grosz, also charts out the dense field of relations that comprise the mind-body duality. See especially Bodies That Matter: On the Discursive Limits of “Sex” (New York: Routledge, 1993). I have not given more attention to Butler’s work here because, unlike Braidotti and Grosz, her work is more in conversation with Derrida, Foucault, and Hegel than with Deleuze. See also Juliet Flower MacCan-nell and Laura Zakarin, eds., Thinking Bodies (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1994).

22. Grosz, “Intensities and Flows,” 179.

23. Lloyd, Spinoza and the Ethics, 126–27.

24. A cautionary note is in order, as this radical potential for mind-body disjunction is not without its pitfalls. In Technologies of the Gendered Body: Reading Cyborg Women (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1996), Anne Balsamo illustrates how the potential for body alteration or disembodiment contained in the cyber or in virtual reality often works to reinscribe the most traditional of gender, racial, and sexual norms. As Balsamo writes, “[T]here is plenty of evidence to suggest that a reconstructed body does not guarantee a reconstructed cultural identity. Nor does ‘freedom from the body,’ imply that people will exercise the ‘freedom to be’ any other kind of body than the one they already enjoy or desire” (128). This critique notwithstanding, it seems there are positive disembodiment examples to be found, and I take up two of them at the end of this chapter. The critical difference between my examples and the cyborg/virtual reality ones is that the latter project disembodiment onto a generically ideal body, while the ones I will take up do not project disembodiment onto an ideal but negotiate it within the contours of the limited body at hand.

25. Pierre Klossowski, Nietzsche and the Vicious Circle, trans. Daniel W. Smith (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1997), 24. I have discussed this same phenomenon of sickness and its relation to the mind in a reading of different passages in Klossowski’s study of Nietzsche in my “Klossowski or Thoughts-Becoming,” in Becomings: Explorations in Time, Memory, and Futures, ed. Elizabeth Grosz (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1999).

26. Deleuze takes up the importance of sickness in Nietzsche, but to a more limited extent than Klossowski. In Nietzsche and Philosophy, trans. Hugh Tomlinson (New York: Columbia University Press, 1983), he analyzes sickness in terms of power of reactive forces. I quote at length:

What Nietzsche calls an active force is one which goes to the limit of its consequences. An active force separated from what it can do by reactive force thus becomes reactive. But does not this reactive force, in its own way, go to the limit of what it can do? … A reactive force can certainly be considered from different points of view. Illness, for example, separates me from what I can do, as reactive force it makes me reactive, it narrows my possibilities and condemns me to a diminished milieu to which I can do no more than adapt myself. But in another way, it reveals to me a new capacity, it endows me with a new will that I can make my own, going to the limit of a strange power. … Here we can recognise an ambivalence important to Nietzsche: all the forces whose reactive character he exposes are, a few lines or pages later, admitted to fascinate him, to be sublime because of the perspective they open up for us and because of the disturbing will to power to which they bear witness. (66)

In this passage, Deleuze overturns the hierarchy between active and reactive forces, arguing alongside Nietzsche that the reactive force of sickness can be its own form of activity and can inaugurate new and interesting states of being. Such a pronouncement is all the more interesting in light of Deleuze’s own subsequent period of long convalescence and sickness before his death in 1995. One need only cite one of his latter works as a testament to the lucidity of thought produced under conditions of extreme physical hardship.

27. Ibid., 25.

28. It is not insignificant that Deleuze is one of the finest readers of Klossowski, and it is Deleuze to whom Klossowski dedicates his book on Nietzsche. It is Deleuze who describes the Klossowskian logic of opposition as a “disjunctive syntheses” and who cites Klossowski’s Nietzsche and the Vicious Circle extensively in Anti-Oedipus. Above all, in his appendix to The Logic of Sense “Klossowski or Bodies-Language,” Deleuze underscores the positive aspects of revocation. He refers to another context in which the mind and body work in disjunction, that of the pure body coupled with an impure mind and the superior disjunction of an impure body coupled with a pure mind:

Does Klossowski simply mean that speaking prevents us from thinking about nasty things? No; the pure language which produces an impure silence is a provocation of the mind by the body; similarly, the impure language which produces a pure silence is a revocation of the body by the mind. … More precisely, what is revoked in the body? Klossowski’s answer is that it is the integrity of the body, and that because of this the identity of the person is somewhat suspended and volatized. (291)

This is taken up in chapters 3 and 4.

29. Klossowski, Nietzsche and the Vicious Circle, 25.

30. This boundary-surpassing might take different forms when the mind-body disjunction occurs over an extended period of time and when it is consciously imposed. An example would be various practices associated with intake of food. In “The Problem of the Body in Deleuze and Guattari, Or, What Can a Body Do?,” Body and Society 3:3 (September 1997), Ian Buchanan analyzes anorexia as an interplay of forces or relations between food and the body. Although he discusses it in somewhat different terms than the mind-body disjunction, he describes an intensified state of being that results from a reactive relation to food: “If we are to relieve ourselves of the sometimes intolerable pressure that food places on us, we must confront food differently. But, since we cannot change what food does to us, we must change ourselves. This demands that we somehow find a new way of being, which effectively means a new way of becoming” (78–79). While Buchanan is careful to point out the negative effects of such an anorexic becoming, his analysis of the process underscores the delicacy and complexity of this gray zone of mind-body disjunction. While I have underscored the positive side of such a zone, it is clearly one of those liminal spaces that, with a slight twist, collapses into the negative and the destructive. This is not to say that positivities cannot be found even in this negative realm, but discussing them would entail a differently positioned and more nuanced analysis. A more contemporary example might be Christian Bale’s comment about having dropped sixty pounds for his role in The Machinist: “I didn’t set out to get as skinny as I did. It ended up being a very nice place to be mentally when you get that skinny.” Quoted in In Touch, August 11, 2008, 57.

31. Klossowski, Nietzsche and the Vicious Circle, 30–31.

32. Such a state is, I think, captured by such films as The Living End, which depicts living with AIDS as the exuberant intensity of living with imminent sickness and mortality, and Sick: The Life and Death of Bob Flanagan, Supermasochist, which depicts the quest for extreme sadomasochistic experience alongside the succumbing to fatal cystic fibrosis.

Chapter 3. Klossowski and Orthodoxy

1. Georges Bataille, Story of the Eye, trans. Joachim Neugroschel (San Francisco: City Lights Books, 1987): 59–60.

2. In a rare acerbic moment, Deleuze comments in “On the Superiority of Anglo-American Literature” that “the little secret is generally reducible to a sad narcissistic and pious masturbation. … Georges Bataille is a very French author. He made the little secret the essence of literature, with a mother within, a priest beneath, an eye above” (47).

3. Pierre Klossowski, “Roberte Ce Soir” and “The Revocation of the Edict of Nantes,” trans. Austryn Wainhouse (New York: Marion Boyars, 1989), 49–50, translation modified. For a detailed analysis of Klossowski’s hospitality trilogy, see Tracy McNulty’s The Hostess: Hospitality, Ethics, and the Expropriation of Identity (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2007); and my The Delirium of Praise: Bataille, Blanchot, Deleuze, Foucault, Klossowski (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2001).

4. Gilles Deleuze, “Klossowski or Bodies-Language,” in The Logic of Sense, 281–82, translation slightly modified. See Logique du sens (Paris: Éditions de Minuit, 1969), 327.

5. Klossowski, Roberte Ce Soir, 97. The Latin is translated with some license. For a discussion of Klossowski’s license in employing this term, a term itself generally equated with linguistic slippage or poetic license, see McNulty’s The Hostess: Hospitality, Ethics, and the Expropriation of Identity, which provides a superb overview of Klossowski’s hospitality trilogy with particular attention to the figure of the hostess and the excess she embodies: improper to law, to religion, and ultimately to the host himself, the hostess is in McNulty’s reading at the core of the relation of hospitality and, beyond that, at the very heart of being.

6. Klossowski, Roberte Ce Soir, 119.

7. I make this argument in my The Delirium of Praise though here revise it somewhat, developing the theological hesitations I voice there. See esp. 109.

8. Deleuze, “Seminar on Scholasticism and Spinoza.” 14 January 1974,

9. See Deleuze and Guattari, Anti-Oedipus; Jacques Lacan, The Other Side of Psychoanalysis, trans. Russell Grigg (New York: Norton, 2007); and Jean-François Lyotard, Libidinal Economy, trans. Iain Hamilton Grant (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1993).

10. I outline this argument and cite Lyotard’s marvelous gloss of it in chapter 6 of The Delirium of Praise. In addition, chapter 5 of that work addresses the feminist potential of Roberte’s participation in her attacks.

11. Pierre Klossowski, La Monnaie vivante, photographs by Pierre Zucca (Paris: Éditions Joëlle Eric Losfeld, 1994), 26, my translation.

12. Deleuze, “Seminar on Scholasticism and Spinoza.”

13. Benedict de Spinoza, A Theologico-Political Treatise, trans. R. H. M. Elwes (New York: Dover, 1951), 27.

14. See Pierre Klossowski, The Baphomet, trans. Sophie Hawkes and Stephen Sartarelli (New York: Marsilio, 1988).

15. Deleuze, “Seminar on Scholasticism and Spinoza.”

16. See Deleuze and Guattari, A Thousand Plateaus.

17. Deleuze, “Seminar on Scholasticism and Spinoza.”

18. Roland Barthes, “Myth Today,” in Mythologies, trans. Annette Lavers (New York: Hill and Wang, 1972): 109–59.

19. Deleuze, Difference and Repetition, 303. Giorgio Pini makes the important point that Scotus, especially in his Questions on the Categories and Questions on the Sophistical Refutations, adheres to the English tradition that, from the middle of the thirteenth century onward, asserted that being, when considered from the perspective of logic (the categories), is equivocal, whereas being considered from a metaphysical lens is analogical. See Pini, “Univocity in Scotus’s Quaestiones super Metaphysicam,” 10, 18, 22–23. Pini’s essay gives the full Latin citations for these works, which do not have full English translations, and an analysis of the shift toward univocity that we see in Quaestiones super Metaphysicam and late works.

20. Deleuze, Difference and Repetition, 303.

21. Ibid., 304.

22. John Milbank, “The Soul of Reciprocity, Part Two: Reciprocity Granted,” Modern Theology 17:4 (October 2001): 505n2.

23. See Jean-Paul Sartre, Critique of Dialectical Reason: Theory of Practical Ensembles, trans. Alan Sheridan-Smith (London: NLB, 1976): “But it is man who invests things with his own praxis, his own future and his own knowledge. If he could encounter pure matter in experience, he would have to be either a god or a stone” (181–82).

24. See not only Alain Badiou, Number and Numbers, trans. Robin Mackay (London: Polity, 2008), but also the discussion in his Logics of Worlds of the current world order as being governed by a dual discourse of bodies and languages. Badiou critiques this world order, what he labels “democratic materialism,” for being stuck in the two terms of “bodies” and “languages” and not attuned to the third term, which is the truth that surges forth as a rupture and exception from the first two. This is at odds with Badiou’s more Klossowskian emphasis on the pure two (such as the love relation) in other writings. See Alain Badiou, Logics of Worlds, trans. Alberto Toscano (London: Continuum, 2009).

25. Alain Badiou, The Century, trans. Alberto Toscano (London: Polity, 2007), 59–60.

26. Alain Badiou, Deleuze: The Clamor of Being, trans. Louise Burchill (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2000), 27.

27. Deleuze, The Logic of Sense, 29.

28. Badiou, Deleuze: The Clamor of Being, 28.

29. Ibid., 36.

30. The epithet “reactionary radicalism” is used provocatively, but in this instance “reactionary” refers to Badiou’s specific embrace of terms under fire in much contemporary parlance (truth, universalism, the pure love of the heterosexual couple, and so forth) and his interest in extremely taboo topics, such as the way National Socialism might initially appear to resemble a truth process. Even Badiou’s atheistic espousal of the Apostle Paul has a parallel with Octave’s Sadean-inflected fascination with the Catholic Church. Yet both engage simultaneously in a radical reflection on the limits and potentialities of the dialectic. For more on this oxymoronic quality in Badiou and its relation to number, see my forthcoming At Odds with Badiou: Politics, Dialectics, and Religion from Sartre and Deleuze to Lacan and Agamben (New York: Columbia University Press).

Chapter 4. Cinema and the Tableau Vivant

1. Michel Foucault, “Theatrum Philosophicum,” in Language, Counter-Memory, Practice, trans. Donald F. Bouchard and Sherry Simon (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1977), 165.

2. Klossowski, The Revocation of the Edict of Nantes, 97–98.

3. Klossowski, La Monnaie vivante (Paris: Eric Losfeld, 1970), unpaginated [84].

4. Klossowski, The Revocation of the Edict of Nantes, 100.

5. Deleuze, Cinema 2: The Time-Image, 109.

6. Ibid., 104.

7. Damian Sutton’s Photography, Cinema, Memory: The Crystal Image of Time (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2009) takes up the relation of mobility and immobility in the cinema books with considerable subtlety, especially as this in turn relates to the photograph. He writes that “where Barthes saw immobility as a negative value, a semblance of death, using Deleuze we can see this as a seed for nonchronological time—the ‘non-organic life which grips the world’” (60). Karen Beckman’s Crash: Cinema and the Politics of Speed and Stasis (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2010), takes up some of the same questions, but without the focus on Deleuze.

8. Gilles Deleuze, Cinema 1: The Movement-Image, trans. Hugh Tomlinson and Barbara Habberjam (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1986), 56.

9. The concluding chapters of this book attempt to push past this to think an immobility that is purely stuck and not in flux, yet not without its positive potential.

10. Jean-François Lyotard, “Acinema,” in The Lyotard Reader, ed. Andrew Benjamin (Oxford: Blackwell, 1989), 177.

11. Ibid. For an exceptional study of agitation, animatedness, and other non-transcendent emotions, see Sianne Ngai, Ugly Feelings (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2005).

12. Steven Shaviro, The Cinematic Body (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1993), 230.

13. Ruiz’s Hypothèse du tableau volé (1978) is based on the work of Klossowski and was done in collaboration with Klossowski. While loosely depicting the story of Klossowski’s The Baphomet, it also contains elements from The Revocation of the Edict of Nantes, Roberte Ce Soir, and Le Bain de Diane (Paris: Jean-Jacques Pauvert, 1956; repr. Paris: Éditions de Minuit, 1980).

14. Gilles Deleuze, “Having an Idea in Cinema,” in Deleuze and Guattari: New Mappings in Politics, Philosophy, and Culture, ed. Eleanor Kaufman and Kevin Jon Heller (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1998), 16.

15. Ibid., 19.

16. For a similar analysis of Chris Marker’s La Jetée involving a sequence of immobile images, see D. N. Rodowick, Gilles Deleuze’s Time Machine (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1997), 4–5.

Chapter 5. Betraying Well (Žižek and Badiou)

1. Žižek, Organs without Bodies; and Badiou, Deleuze: The Clamor of Being, both hereafter cited in text.

2. Fredric Jameson, “Marxism and Dualism in Deleuze,” in A Deleuzian Century?, ed. Ian Buchanan (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1999), reprinted as “Deleuze and Dualism,” in Jameson, Valences of the Dialectic. In this work, see also Jameson’s discussion of Deleuze and Derrida in the chapter “Hegel’s Contemporary Critics,” where he writes that they are “philosophers of Difference par excellence, whatever the spelling—yet with this fundamental ‘difference’ between them, namely that in the long run Deleuze is an ontologist” (114).

3. Slavoj Žižek, The Puppet and the Dwarf: The Perverse Core of Christianity (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2003), 17.

4. The body without organs is one of the more elusive terms in Deleuze and Guattari’s corpus, and its causal connection to desiring production is a difficult one to resolve. Insofar as the body without organs represents a limit state that is never quite reached, it might be seen as an effect rather than a cause of desiring production and, in this sense, more comparable to the incorporeal effect described in The Logic of Sense (Žižek’s sterile Sense-Event) rather than the virtual enabler that Žižek makes it out to be. Such a reading of the body without organs is even more discernible in Deleuze and Guattari’s A Thousand Plateaus (especially chapter 6, “How Do You Make Yourself a Body without Organs?”) than it is in Anti-Oedipus.

5. See Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri, Empire (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2000); and their Multitude: War and Democracy in the Age of Empire (New York: Penguin, 2004). Badiou does not broach Deleuze’s politics as such in his study, though for Badiou the proper political procedure involves the proclamation of fidelity to a process of truth (certainly not a formulation Deleuze would adhere to). This fidelity to a truth process is what Badiou terms an “event,” which is distinct from Deleuze’s model of an event, the latter being much more explicitly incorporeal or virtual—though Badiou’s event takes on its own form of virtuality in the difficulty of trying to locate or define it. Badiou’s most extended example of what such an event would look like is his book-length analysis of the Apostle Paul’s fidelity to the event of Christ’s resurrection. See Alain Badiou, Saint Paul: The Foundation of Universalism, trans. Ray Brassier (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2003). Badiou is also markedly critical of Hardt and Negri. See Alain Badiou, “Beyond Formalization: An Interview with Alain Badiou” Angelaki 8:2 (2003): 111–37. For Žižek’s most sustained early response to Badiou, see Slavoj Žižek, The Ticklish Subject: The Absent Centre of Political Ontology (London: Verso, 1999).

6. Charles J. Stivale develops this term in his The Two-Fold Thought of Deleuze and Guattari: Intersections and Animations (New York: Guilford, 1998), but more in the service of discussing the thought-form of the collaborative works, whereas here I employ it to explore a doubleness from within.

7. Though Deleuze eschews the transcendental in favor of the immanent, Badiou locates Deleuze’s adherence to the category of the virtual as itself a form of transcendence (46). The argument for the in-between, if not the mediating, function of castration is made by Deleuze himself in The Logic of Sense: “Castration, then, has a very special situation between that of which it is the result and that which it causes to begin. But it is not castration alone which is in the void, caught between the corporeal surface of sexuality and the metaphysical surface of thought. It is, in fact, the entire sexual surface which is intermediary between physical depth and metaphysical surface” (222). At other points in this discussion, Deleuze aligns castration as well as the phallus more with the realm of incorporeal surface effects. See esp. 206–9.

8. Seminar 6 on desire is one of the many unpublished seminars. For the unofficial translation, see The Seminar of Jacques Lacan 1958–1959: Desire and Its Interpretation, trans. Cormac Gallagher, from unedited manuscripts (available through Karnac Books, London, and online at

9. Bréhier, La Théorie des incorporels dans l’ancien stoïcisme, esp. 46.

10. Deleuze, The Logic of Sense, esp. 148–49, 221. The splendor of the incorporeal is not unlike what Lacan characterizes as the strange splendor of beauty in his discussion of Antigone in seminar 7. See Jacques Lacan, The Ethics of Psychoanalysis, trans. Dennis Porter (New York: W. W. Norton, 1992).

11. Deleuze, The Logic of Sense, 5. The question of the present is taken up in chapter 7 and in part 3.

12. Slavoj Žižek, On Belief (London: Routledge, 2001), 1.

13. Walter Benn Michaels, The Shape of the Signifier: 1967 to the End of History (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2004).

Chapter 6. Lévi-Strauss and the Joy of Abstraction

1. Christopher Johnson, Claude Lévi-Strauss: The Formative Years (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003), 104–5.

2. Francis Korn, Elementary Structure Reconsidered: Lévi-Strauss on Kinship (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1973), 21.

3. Jonathan Culler, Structuralist Poetics (1975; London: Routledge, 2002), 50.

4. Claude Lévi-Strauss, “The Structural Study of Myth,” in Structural Anthropology, trans. Claire Jacobson and Brooke Grundfest Schoepf (New York: Basic Books, 1963), 1:206–31. The idea that “since the monsters are overcome by men, we may thus say that the common feature of the third column is denial of the autochtonous origin of man” (215) seems of these mappings to be the least clear and well developed.

5. Gilles Deleuze, “How Do We Recognize Structuralism?,” in Desert Islands and Other Texts, 1953–1974, trans. Michael Taormina, ed. David Lapoujade (New York: Semiotext(e), 2004), 178.

6. See Claude Lévi-Strauss, “Four Winnebago Myths,” in Structural Anthropology vol. 2, trans. Monique Layton (New York: Basic Books, 1976), 198–210; see also Lévi-Strauss, The Elementary Structures of Kinship, trans. James Harle Bell and John Richard von Sturmer, ed. Rodney Needham (Boston: Beacon, 1969).

7. Claude Lévi-Strauss, “Selections from Introduction to the Work of Marcel Mauss,” in The Logic of the Gift: Toward an Ethic of Generosity, ed. Alan D. Schrift (New York: Routledge, 1997), 54. He continues: “I am impelled to seek the reason, not from any wish to criticize, but out of a duty not to let the most fruitful aspect of his thinking be lost or vitiated. … There must be some crucial move, somewhere, that Mauss missed. … The only way to avoid the dilemma would have been to perceive that the primary, fundamental phenomenon is exchange itself, which gets split up into discrete operations in social life; the mistake was to take the discrete operations for the basic phenomenon” (54–55).

8. Claude Lévi-Strauss, “Structure and Form: Reflections on a Work by Vladimir Propp,” in Structural Anthropology, vol. 2, 120–24; Vladimir Propp, Morphology of the Folktale, trans. Laurence Scott (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1968).

9. Lévi-Strauss, “Structure and Form,” 119.

10. Ibid., 131.

11. In The Political Unconscious: Narrative as a Socially Symbolic Act (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1981), Fredric Jameson points to a dual problematic in Lévi-Strauss’s reading of Propp, that on the one hand “Propp’s ‘functions’ fail to attain an adequate level of abstraction” (120), but “[p]aradoxically, however, the other objection to be raised about Propp’s method is the opposite one, namely that his analysis is not yet meaningful enough” (121). Yet Jameson goes on to attribute both opposing logics to the same impetus toward synchrony (which he then contrasts with the diachronous or historical element—see n. 14 below): “The two objections are thus essentially the same: both the insufficient formalization of the model (its anthropomorphic traces) and the irreversibility it attributes to the functions are different aspects of the same basic error, namely to have written the primary narratives in terms of another narrative, rather than in terms of a synchronic system” (122).

12. Lévi-Strauss, “Structure and Form,” 132–33.

13. Paul Ricoeur, “Le Symbolisme et l’explication structurale,” Cahiers internationaux de symbolisme 4 (1964): 91. Jacques Derrida, Of Grammatology, trans. Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1997), esp. 101–40; and Derrida, “Structure, Sign, and Play in the Discourse of the Human Sciences,” in Writing and Difference, trans. Alan Bass (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1978), 278–93. For a reading of Ricoeur that to some extent mirrors Ricoeur’s critical analysis of Lévi-Strauss with respect to history, see Jameson, Valences of the Dialectic, 475–612. It is interesting that Jameson discusses at some length questions of temporality and eternity in Augustine (where the three orders of time famously merge into one through consciousness) and links Ricoeur’s humanism to these concerns. This is actually quite in keeping with my opposing focus on the link between Deleuzian temporality and Aquinas, as this alternate linkage marks an absolute reversal of the Augustinian humanist phenomenology described by Jameson in his lengthy concluding chapter. Indeed at issue here is something akin to a phenomenology of the inhuman structure.

14. To return to Jameson’s analysis of Propp and Lévi-Strauss in The Political Unconscious (see n. 11 above), he does not simply dismiss this shared synchronic method in favor of a historical, diachronic one but instead insists that the former type of structural analysis (which also includes the work of A. J. Greimas) provides a first and necessary framework for making perceptible the narrative’s historicity (which is signaled in Jameson’s examples of The Red and the Black and Wuthering Heights by the antinomy between the “historical” and the “formalist” dimension, which itself allows for the visibility of the former). He writes: “Yet we would not have been able to detect this feature of the work—in which its historicity becomes accessible to us for the first time—had we not begun by respecting the working convention of first-level semiotics, namely that the text was at the start to be analyzed and laid out as though it were the replication of Propp’s narrative line or ‘deep structure’” (129, emphasis in original). While the argument of this chapter suggests an intermingling of diachrony and synchrony in the C-A-C versus A-C-A structure outlined below, it similarly appears that the joyous structure of the A-C-A would not be perceptible without the “first-level semiotics” of the C-A-C.

15. Karl Marx, Capital: A Critique of Political Economy, vol. 1, trans. Ben Fowkes (New York: Vintage Books, 1977).

16. For a very different consideration of the relation of “structure” to non-reciprocity and entropy, see Michel Serres’s incisive reading of La Fontaine’s fable “The Wolf and the Lamb”: “Knowledge in the Classical Age: La Fontaine and Descartes,” in Hermes: Literature, Science, Philosophy, ed. Josué V. Harari and David F. Bell (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1982), 15–28. Serres highlights the relation of structure to minimal and maximal points as it might be traced to Plato and above all to Descartes, but even through Leibniz, and puts this under the sign of the wolf, the hunt, and the military arts. It seems that this line of analysis, while overlapping in certain respects with the terms and thinkers outlined here, resides in a parallel but noncoincident universe, for it is one in which the anthropomorphic subject still holds sway. Although not mentioned by Serres, Badiou’s Platonism would serve as an exemplary last outpost of the trajectory outlined.

17. Deleuze, The Logic of Sense, 36–37.

18. Ibid., 38.

19. Ibid., 38–39, my emphasis, except for French quotations and “proper name.”

20. Gilles Deleuze, Proust and Signs, trans. Richard Howard (New York: George Braziller, 1972). Deleuze opens with a discussion of jealousy’s attentiveness to the reading of signs. He writes, “[T]he first law of love is subjective: subjectively, jealousy is deeper than love, it contains love’s truth. This is because jealousy goes further in the apprehension and interpretation of signs” (9). For more on the question of Deleuze’s reading of signs in Proust, see Ronald Bogue, Deleuze on Literature (New York: Routledge, 2003); and specifically on the sign of love, see Keith W. Faulkner, The Force of Time: An Introduction to Deleuze through Proust (Lanham, MD: University Press of America, 2008). Both of these books also touch on the themes of the next chapter, especially the distinction between masochism and sadism.

21. See Deleuze, Proust and Signs, where he discusses the convergence of “the series approach[ing] its own law” and “our capacity to love approach[ing] its own end” (68). This movement to higher distinction or organization and subsequent receding back to the lower level is notable in its affinity with Sartre’s model of the serial structure that can turn into the more praxis-oriented group and then descend back into the serial (Deleuze’s chapter is titled “Series and Group”), except that in Sartre there is a political hierarchy that favors the group. Deleuze’s hierarchical model in the Proust book revolves around the question of art rather than seriality. See Sartre, Critique of Dialectical Reason.

22. Deleuze, Proust and Signs, 66.

23. Ibid., 72.

Chapter 7. Extreme Formality

1. Gilles Deleuze, Spinoza: Practical Philosophy, trans. Robert Hurley (San Francisco: City Lights Books, 1988); Michel Foucault, preface to Deleuze and Guattari, Anti-Oedipus, xv; Deleuze and Guattari, What Is Philosophy?; Deleuze, “Immanence: A Life,” Pure Immanence: Essays on a Life, trans. Anne Boyman (New York: Zone Books, 2001).

2. Deleuze, The Logic of Sense, 149.

3. Lacan, The Ethics of Psychoanalysis, 314.

4. Ibid., 319.

5. See my extended discussion of this in “Why the Family Is Beautiful (Lacan against Badiou),” Diacritics 32:3–4 (2002), 135–51.

6. See Gilles Deleuze and Leopold von Sacher-Masoch, Présentation de Sacher-Masoch (Paris: Éditions de Minuit, 1967), which contains “Le froid et le cruel” by Deleuze and “Venus à la fourrure” by Sacher-Masoch. English translation: Masochism, trans. Jean McNeil (New York: George Braziller, 1971;. rpt. New York: Zone Books, 1989). The latter edition hereafter cited in text as CC.

7. Deleuze, The Logic of Sense, 63.

8. See Maurice Blanchot, The Instant of My Death, and Jacques Derrida, Demeure: Fiction and Testimony, trans. Elizabeth Rottenberg (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2000).

9. For a detailed discussion of Deleuze’s relation to Masoch, see Edward P. Kazarian, “The Revolutionary Unconscious: Deleuze and Masoch,” SubStance 39:2 (2010): 91–106.

10. Gilles Deleuze, “Michel Tournier and the World without Others,” appendix to The Logic of Sense, 311. Hereafter cited in text as WwO. Originally published as “Une théorie d’Autrui (Autrui, Robinson et le pervers): Michel Tournier: Vendredi ou les limbes du Pacifique,” Critique 241 (1967), 503–25.

11. See Quentin Meillassoux, After Finitude: An Essay on the Necessity of Contingency, trans. Ray Brassier (London: Continuum, 2008).

12. I tone down my condemnation of the Deleuzian possible in light of Ronald Bogue’s excellent defense of it in Deleuze’s later work and in relation to the arts as opposed to philosophy. Nonetheless, Bogue also locates the strong critique of the possible in Deleuze’s 1967 essay on Tournier (and its link to the “a priori Other”). See Ronald Bogue, “The Art of the Possible,” Revue internationale de philosophie 61: 241 (2007, n. 3), 273–86. I also wish to thank Professor Bogue for helpful comments he has made over the years, and for sending me some of his unpublished materials, which assisted in the composition of my introduction.

13. See Aquinas, Summa Theologica, 1a q. 10, a. 4, and Summa contra Gentiles, I.15, II.19. Interestingly, in another strange affinity with Aquinas—because Deleuze, as discussed in the introduction, is always at pains to attack Aquinas’s model of analogy, given his adherence to Scotus’s model of univocity—he notes in “Coldness and Cruelty,” a propos of the distinction between sadism and masochism, that “[t]he concurrence of sadism and masochism is fundamentally one of analogy only, their processes and formations are entirely different” (46). So here, analogy is not too terrible and in fact partakes of a logic of difference. For a damning discussion of Aquinas in the course lectures, see Deleuze, “Seminar on Scholasticism and Spinoza.”

14. For a tour de force mapping of the workings of genesis in Difference and Repetition and The Logic of Sense, see Joe Hughes, Deleuze and the Genesis of Representation (London: Continuum, 2008). See also Levi Bryant on the static genesis and the structure-Other in Difference and Givenness: Deleuze’s Transcendental Empiricism and the Ontology of Immanence (Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press, 2008), esp. 220–62.

15. See Deleuze, Proust and Signs, and the discussion of that work in the preceding chapter.

16. Deleuze, Difference and Repetition, 115. Deleuze uses the same phrasing when he writes, “The extreme formality is there only for an excessive formlessness (Hölderlin’s Unförmliche)” (91). (“L’extrême formalité n’est là que pour un informel excessif,” Différence et répétition [Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 1968], 122.) As John Marks writes with regard to judgment and cruelty:

This means that the doctrine of judgement is only apparently more moderate than a system of “cruelty” according to which debt is measured in blood and inscribed directly on the body, since it condemns us to infinite restitution and servitude. Deleuze goes further to show how these four “disciples” [Nietzsche, D. H. Lawrence, Kafka, Artaud] elaborate a whole system of “cruelty” that is opposed to judgement, and which constitutes the basis for an ethics. The domination of the body in favour of consciousness leads to an impoverishment of our knowledge of the body. We do not fully explore the capacities of the body, and in the same way that the body surpasses the knowledge we have of it, so thought also surpasses the consciousness we have of it. Once we can begin to explore these new dimensions—the unknown of the body and the unconscious of thought—we are in the domain of ethics.” (John Marks, “Ethics,” in The Deleuze Dictionary, ed. Adrian Parr, rev. ed. (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2010)

17. It is quite startling that the writings of the very early Deleuze (at age twenty-one in 1946) take up some of the same themes, in nascent form, that I am here associating with “anethics”: the a priori Other and its undoing, sadism, things in themselves, the solitary, the perverse, and the aristocratic, not to mention Proust and Sartre. See Gilles Deleuze, “Statements and Profiles,” trans. and introduced by Keith W. Faulkner, Angelaki 8:3 (2003): 85–93; and especially Faulkner’s excellent essay on the young Deleuze’s “Description of a Woman” (1945) in conjunction with “Statements and Profiles,” “Deleuze in Utero: Deleuze-Sartre and the Essence of Woman,” Angelaki 7:3 (2002): 25–43.

18. Deleuze, Difference and Repetition, 88–89.

19. There are nonetheless points of confusion in the above passage such as the claim that the future and past “follow a priori from the order of time.” How does one follow a priori? Is there then a second order of past and present that follows from a third synthesis of time?

20. Deleuze, Difference and Repetition, 111.

21. See especially Keith W. Faulkner’s Deleuze and the Three Syntheses of Time (New York: Peter Lang, 2006), in which empty time is distinguished from eternity in the following fashion: “[U]nlike eternity, empty time retains events” (103). I am not entirely convinced that events indeed survive empty time, but it does seem quite plausible that they could be generated from empty time, in a fashion pertaining to the questions raised in n. 19 above. See also Jay Lampert, Deleuze and Guattari’s Philosophy of History (London: Continuum, 2006), for an excellent and provocative discussion of the third synthesis of time.

22. Deleuze gives a similar gloss on the deep ontology of Freud’s death instinct at a later point in “Coldness and Cruelty” when he writes that “Thanatos is; it is an absolute. And yet the ‘no’ does not exist in the unconscious because destruction is always presented as the other side of a construction” (116). My brief analysis of Deleuze’s not entirely negative relation to Freud does not do justice to the complexity of this relation. For more on this topic, see Keith Ansell Pearson, Germinal Life: The Difference and Repetition of Deleuze (London: Routledge, 1999), esp. 104–21; and Christian Kerslake, Deleuze and the Unconscious (London: Continuum, 2007). My reading of Deleuze on Freud is more positive than that of Pearson or Kerslake, and this is perhaps because in highlighting the above notion of a positive space for the yes that is not exactly the unconscious but instead some version of the death instinct, it is more akin to Kerslake’s claim that Deleuze’s “unconscious” is really more like a pure form of Bergsonian memory than something that works according to a Freudian structure of repression. Though it must be noted that Freud’s Beyond the Pleasure Principle, trans. James Strachey (New York: W. W. Norton, 1961), itself departs from the economic repressive model of Freud’s work from the 1910s, hence its interest for Deleuze in this pre–Anti-Oedipus moment.

23. Faulkner notes in Deleuze and the Three Syntheses of Time that “the practical law itself signifies nothing other than the empty form of time” (106) and observes that Deleuze reads Kant’s second critique through the lens of Freud’s death instinct, which is also linked to the body without organs. For a succinct overview of Deleuze’s reading of Kant’s three critiques with respect to the problem of genesis, see Deleuze, “The Idea of Genesis in Kant’s Esthetics,” in Desert Islands and Other Texts.

24. Deleuze writes in Difference and Repetition that “the thinker is necessarily solitary and solipsistic” (282) and evokes solitude with respect to sadism in “Coldness and Cruelty” (19). In a very different fashion, Mario Perniola’s Sex Appeal of the Inorganic, trans. Massimo Verdicchio (London: Continuum, 2004), also distinguishes between masochism and sadism in that for Perniola sadism embraces the “neutral and impersonal sexuality of the thing that feels” (43), whereas masochism is at odds with this.

25. This is another way in which I would take issue with Peter Hallward’s focus on creativity as the motor force behind Deleuze’s thought in Out of This World. See discussion in introduction. Moreover, structure in my reading also retains the potential to be beyond or outside of relationality, something precluded by Sean Bowden’s excellent but more analytically inspired analysis of the pivotal role of structure in The Logic of Sense read alongside “How Do We Recognize Structuralism?” See Bowden, The Priority of Events, esp. 152–84.

26. Deleuze writes in Difference and Repetition that “the dark precursor is not a friend” (145).

Chapter 8. French Thought and the Space of American Literature

1. Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America, 2 vols., trans. Henry Reeve (New Rochelle, NY: Arlington House, 1966), 1:1.

2. Ibid., 2:1.

3. Ibid., 2:1–6.

4. Ibid., 2:2.

5. Ibid., 2:3.

6. Jean-Pierre Fichou, La Civilisation américaine, 3rd ed. (Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 1979), 46, my translation.

7. Jean Baudrillard, America, trans. Chris Turner (London: Verso, 1988), 39.

8. Ibid., 5. Baudrillard says much the same thing when he writes, “I ask of the Americans only that they be Americans. I do not ask them to be intelligent, sensible, original, I ask them only to populate a space incommensurate with my own, to be for me the highest astral point, the finest orbital space” (27–28).

9. Ibid., 54–55.

10. For a more comprehensive assessment of the connection between America and French intellectuals, see Jean-Philippe Mathy, Extrême Occident: French Intellectuals and America (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1993), especially chapter 5, “Poetics of Space: The Body of America” (163–206) and chapter 6, “(Running) Out of History,” (207–50), which deals extensively with Baudrillard’s America. While my analysis is greatly indebted to Mathy’s study, it takes up the same relation from a less general perspective and singles out the specific configuration of movement/immobility and exterior/interior space.

11. Deleuze, “On the Superiority of Anglo-American Literature,” in Deleuze and Parnet, Dialogues, 36–37, my emphasis.

12. Myra Jehlen makes a similar revalorization in American Incarnation: The Individual, the Nation, and the Continent (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1986) when she writes that “rather than ask why Americans lack a ‘sense of history,’ we can now as well ask why Europeans have the particular sense of it that they do” (7). Jehlen displays a strikingly Deleuzian sensibility when she considers the dialectic as a function of time and posits a more spatialized America as “outside of time” and thus not caught up in the either-or of the dialectic but rather in the both-and of “nonantagonistic opposition” (12). Finally, she also gestures to a connection between physical and mental space: “For it is precisely because the concept of America is rooted in the physical finite that it can become metaphysical” (9).

13. Deleuze and Parent, Dialogues, 37–38, my emphasis.

14. Many of these linkages between mind, movement, and matter were expressed well before Deleuze by yet another Frenchman, Henri Bergson. See especially Bergson’s Matter and Memory, as well as Deleuze’s Bergsonism. As mentioned in chapter 2, for an in-depth study of Deleuze’s philosophical proximity to Bergson, see Hardt, Gilles Deleuze: An Apprenticeship in Philosophy, 1–25; and Boundas, “Deleuze-Bergson,” 81–106.

15. Jack Kerouac, On the Road (New York: Penguin Books, 1976), 82.

16. Ibid., 120–21.

17. Ibid., 102.

18. Ibid., 138.

19. Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita (New York: Vintage International, 1955), 152.

20. Ibid., 175–76.

21. One need only cite the collection of essays on Auster published in French that grew out of an entire colloquium devoted to Auster in France. See Annick Duperray, ed., L’oeuvre de Paul Auster: Approches et lectures plurielles (Arles: Actes Sud; [Marseilles]: Université de Provence-IRMA [GRENA], 1995). See especially the section on The New York Trilogy, 75–149.

22. Paul Auster, The Music of Chance (New York: Penguin Books, 1990), 1.

23. Ibid., 6.

24. Ibid., 12. As Tim Woods glosses the same passage (in “The Music of Chance: Aleatorical (Dis)harmonies Within ‘The City of the World’” in Beyond the Red Notebook: Essays on Paul Auster, ed. Dennis Barone (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1995), 143–161), “This disembodiment, a release of self-consciousness, is also a shift from the material world into the immaterial world, or the space of incorporality” (147).

25. Auster, The Music of Chance, 109–10.

26. Ibid., 125.

27. Deleuze and Guattari, A Thousand Plateaus, 280–81.

28. Paul Auster, Ghosts, in The New York Trilogy (New York: Penguin Books, 1990), 171–72.

Chapter 9. Bartleby, the Immobile

1. Herman Melville, “Bartleby, the Scrivener,” in Billy Budd and Other Stories (New York: Penguin Classics, 1986).

2. Considered here are Deleuze’s “Bartleby; or, The Formula,” in Essays Critical and Clinical, trans. Daniel W. Smith and Michael A. Greco (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1997); Jacques Rancière, “Deleuze, Bartleby, and the Literary Formula,” in The Flesh of Words: The Politics of Writing, trans. Charlotte Mandell (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2004); and Giorgio Agamben, “Bartleby, or On Contingency,” in Potentialities, trans. Daniel Heller-Roazen (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1999).

3. See especially the work of Antonio Negri, in particular Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri, Labor of Dionysus: A Critique of the State-Form (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1994); and the essays by Agamben, Lazzarato, and Virno in Radical Thought in Italy: A Potential Politics, ed. Michael Hardt and Paolo Virno (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1996). See also Jean-Luc Nancy, The Inoperative Community, trans. Peter Connor, Lisa Garbus Michael Holland, and Simona Sawhney (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1991); Maurice Blanchot, The Unavowable Community, trans. Pierre Joris (Barrytown, NY: Station Hill, 1988); and Giorgio Agamben, The Coming Community, trans. Michael Hardt (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1993).

4. Deleuze, “Bartleby; or, The Formula,” 73.

5. Ibid., 76.

6. Ibid., 85.

7. Rancière, “Deleuze, Bartleby, and the Literary Formula,” 161.

8. Ibid., 164.

9. Ibid.,155.

10. Deleuze, “Bartleby; or, The Formula,”84.

11. Deleuze, Cinema 1: The Movement-Image, 184–86.

12. See my discussion of Deleuze, Badiou, hierarchy, and the question of the political in At Odds with Badiou. I argue that Deleuze and Badiou both employ hierarchy and are in certain senses royal or “aristocratic” thinkers. This is not leveled as a criticism of either Deleuze or Badiou but more nearly an implicit siding with Badiou in his criticisms in Metapolitics of Rancière’s model of equality. See Alain Badiou, Metapolitics, trans. Jason Barker (London: Verso, 2005), 107–23.

13. Quoted in Rancière, “Deleuze, Bartleby, and the Literary Formula,” 161.

14. Ibid., 162.

15. Ibid.

16. Rancière claims that Deleuze’s Proust and Signs represents an “entire effort … to expel the animal/mineral metaphor from Proust’s work to construct a … coherent figure of the vegetative work as manifestation of an anti-physis for which Charlus’s body, surcharged with signs, serves as blazon” (ibid., 152). In fact Deleuze registers considerable unease at the vegetative image of the three trees in Proust’s Within a Budding Grove, the vegetative being something that is more resistant to explanation than the madeleine. See Deleuze, Proust and Signs, 56.

17. Rancière, “Deleuze, Bartleby, and the Literary Formula,” 161–62.

18. Melville, “Bartleby,” 27–28.

19. Agamben, “Bartleby, or On Contingency,” 255.

20. Indeed, the oscillation between the potential to be or to not be might be considered the central abiding theme of all of Agamben’s oeuvre. For more on this, see my “The Saturday of Messianic Time (Agamben and Badiou on the Apostle Paul),” South Atlantic Quarterly 107:1 (2008): 37–54.

21. Playfully symptomatic of this contagion is Branka Arsić’s Passive Constitutions; or, 7½ Times Bartleby (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2007), in which the seven and a half chapters are entitled “Bartleby or Error,” “Bartleby or Melancholy,” “Bartleby or Stupidity,” “Bartleby or the Junkie,” “Bartleby or the Impersonal,” “Bartleby or the Celibatory Machine,” Bartleby or the Witness,” and “Bartleby or the Cloud.”

Chapter 10. In the Middle of Things

1. Gilles Deleuze, The Fold: Leibniz and the Baroque, trans. Tom Conley (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1993), 29.

2. Ibid., 119.

3. Baudrillard, America, 23.

4. Ibid., 6, 7.

5. Andrew Marvell, “To His Coy Mistress,” in The Complete Poems, ed. Elizabeth Story Donno (Middlesex, UK: Penguin Books, 1972), 51.

6. Baudrillard, America, 79.

Chapter 11. Midnight, or the Inertia of Being

1. Deleuze, The Logic of Sense, 222. This relation of the deaths corresponds to the two notions of Other—the structure-Other and the a priori Other—outlined in chapter 7, though Deleuze does not draw out this parallel explicitly.

2. Deleuze and Parnet, “On the Superiority of Anglo-American Literature,” in Dialogues, 37.

3. Maurice Blanchot, The Space of Literature, trans. Ann Smock (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1982), 30–33, my emphasis.

4. Ibid., 22.

5. Ibid., 37.

6. Ibid., 46.

7. Ibid., 93. Interestingly, Deleuze links cyclical time to the present-inflected Chronos in The Logic of Sense: “Thus the time of the present is always a limited but infinite time; infinite because cyclical, animating a physical eternal return as the return of the Same, and a moral eternal wisdom as the wisdom of the Cause” (61). Whereas Deleuze gives this a subtle pejorative twist by linking it to the Same and the Cause, it is strikingly proximate to Badiou’s model of temporality (“limited but infinite”). See my discussion of Deleuze and Badiou in At Odds with Badiou.

8. Blanchot, The Space of Literature, 116.

9. Deleuze, The Logic of Sense, 63.

10. Blanchot, The Space of Literature, 109–10.

11. Though The Space of Literature certainly represents a reaction to the engaged humanism of Sartre’s “What Is Literature?,” it is not nearly as at odds with Sartre’s philosophical studies, or with his early short stories collected in The Wall, as it might seem. See What Is Literature? and Other Essays, trans. Bernard Frechtman (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1988); and The Wall, discussed in chapter 1.

12. Maurice Blanchot, When the Time Comes, trans. Lydia Davis (Barrytown, NY: Station Hill, 1985), 21. The narrator indeed refers openly to his extraordinary immobility: “my steps were the steps of immobility”(4), and “there could be nothing of me there but this endless immobility” (6).

13. For a discussion of the immobility or potential mobility of natural objects from a legal standpoint, see Christopher D. Stone, Should Trees Have Standing? and Other Essays on Law, Morals, and the Environment (Dobbs Ferry, NY: Oceana, 1996).

14. See Deleuze, Essays Critical and Clinical.

15. Deleuze, Cinema 1: The Movement-Image, 185.

16. Thomas Carl Wall, Radical Passivity: Levinas, Blanchot, and Agamben (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1999), 88.

17. Wall writes, “That death does not complete the movement of dying disturbs the often too facilely understood notion of human finitude: the equation of death with rest and peace. Far from setting a limit to dying, death magnifies its incompletion, placing it, as it were, under glass. Like the time of writing and of the image, it never achieves the present moment” (ibid., 95).

18. Ibid., 79–80.

19. Ibid., 83–84.

20. Mouloud Mammeri, La Colline oubliée (Paris: Plon, 1952), 26, my translation.

21. See Mildred Mortimer, Mouloud Mammeri, écrivain algérien (Sherbrooke, Québec: Naaman, 1982), 14.

22. Maurice Blanchot, The Writing of the Disaster, trans. Ann Smock (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1995), 4.

23. Such an oblique portrayal of the disaster, in this case the Algerian War, through an eerie defamiliarization of the everyday, is the achievement of Mohammed Dib’s Who Remembers the Sea, trans. Louis Tremaine (Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner, 1985).

24. Ann Smock, “Translator’s Remarks,” in Blanchot, The Writing of the Disaster, ix.

25. Wall, Radical Passivity, 95.

26. See Richard Dedekind, “Continuity and Irrational Numbers,” in Essays on the Theory of Numbers, trans. Wooster Woodruff Beman (Chicago: Open Court, 1909).

27. For a meditation on unbecoming, see John Paul Ricco, The Logic of the Lure (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2002).

28. See Sartre, Being and Nothingness, and Sartre, Critique of Dialectical Reason. For a redemptive discussion of the in-itself and the practico-inert as concepts that enable a theory of the inhuman and the incorporeal avant la lettre, see my “To Cut Too Deeply and Not Enough.”

29. Ann Smock, What Is There to Say? (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2003), viii–ix.

30. Ibid., 84.

31. Christopher Diffee, “Postponing Politics in Hawthorne’s Scarlet Letter,” MLN 111:5 (1996), 835–871 quote on 837.

32. Ibid., 840.

33. Ibid., 839.

Chapter 12. Living Virtually in a Cluttered House

1. Gaston Bachelard, The Poetics of Space, trans. Maria Jolas (Boston: Beacon, 1969), 8.

2. Ibid., 9–10.

3. Ibid., 16.

4. Deleuze, The Logic of Sense, 1.

5. The question of vantage point, orientation, and the relation between phenomenology and sexual and racial orientation is provocatively taken up in Sarah Ahmed’s Queer Phenomenology: Objects, Orientations, Others (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2006). Insofar as “queer” might refer to a spatial perception that is “off center” or “slantwise” (65–66), it is an apt term for what is at stake here. This is all the more pronounced in Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick’s ruminations on “queer” as being the mark of something that is perceived differently in childhood (see “Queer and Now” in Tendencies [Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1993], esp. 3). While Ahmed’s analysis employs phenomenology strictly to better understand human relationships, I think the more radical approach, something that Deleuze distills from the phenomenologists he reads, is to use phenomenology to broach what it might mean to be a rock.

6. Deleuze, The Fold: Leibniz and the Baroque, 29.

7. Ibid., 29.

8. Ibid., 119.

9. Ibid.,11–12.

10. Bernard Cache in Earth Moves: The Furnishing of Territories, trans. Anne Boyman (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1995) presents the body/soul relation in a spatial framework similar to what will be discussed presently: “Body and soul are thus constructed in the same manner, at the intersection of a cluster of radii of curvature. Both are then simply effects of convergence that are constituted in space, on either side of the surface of the world that envelops them. It follows that the body is no less ideal than the mind, despite the claims of those who would like to see it as something material or tangible” (120).

11. Deleuze’s most focused discussion of Leibniz and incompossibility can be found in The Fold: Leibniz and the Baroque, “Incompossibility, Individuality, Liberty,” 59–75, and in The Logic of Sense, “Sixteenth Series of the Static Ontological Genesis,” 109–117.

12. Lacan, The Four Fundamental Concepts of Psychoanalysis, 85.

13. Deleuze, The Fold: Leibniz and the Baroque, 49. Deleuze also defines inflection as that place where the tangent crosses the curve (14) or “the pure Event of the line or of the point, the Virtual, ideality par excellence” (18). It is important to note that Deleuze makes a distinction between differentiation and differenciation. See Difference and Repetition, esp. chapter 4, “Ideas and the Synthesis of Difference.”

14. For further architectural applications and developments of Deleuze’s concept of the fold, see Greg Lynn, ed., Folding in Architecture, (London: Architectural Design, 1993). See also the special issue “The Virtual House” in ANY 19/20 (1997).

15. Cache, Earth Moves, 34.

16. Ibid., 36.

17. As Cache states, “[T]he slippage we had noted at the site of the point of inflection in many baroque motifs would seek to expose this singularity. The whole question would then be to make the barely perceptible perceptible, without altering its nature” (38).

18. In this regard, inflection can be compared to Husserl’s notion of the phenomenological reduction, which is performed by a bracketing or “‘parenthesizing’ of the Objective world” so that new avenues of perception are opened. See Edmund Husserl, Cartesian Meditations, trans. Dorion Cairns (Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Kluwer Academic, 1991), 20.

19. Cache, Earth Moves, 36.

20. Ibid., 48.

21. Ibid. Fredric Jameson views Deleuze as essentially a modernist philosopher—something I would claim holds for most of his so-called French postmodern generation—and such an assessment goes hand in hand with the analyses presented here. See Valences of the Dialectic, 113.

22. Such a methodological assumption is to my mind the underlying flaw in the work of Pierre Bourdieu.

23. Vincent P. Pecora, Households of the Soul (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1997), xi.

24. Ibid., 13.

25. Ibid., 28–30.

26. Ibid., 27.

27. Marcel Proust, Time Regained, vol. 6 of In Search of Lost Time, trans. Andreas Mayor and Terence Kilmartin, rev. D. J. Enright (New York: Modern Library, 1993), 287.

28. Another evocative object for Marcel is the stiff napkin he is given with the refreshments he is served while waiting in the Guermantes library. The napkin reminds him of a stiff towel he had used to wipe his face at another significant moment of his life, his arrival at Balbec:

and this napkin now, in the library of the Prince de Guermantes’s house, unfolded for me—concealed within its smooth surfaces and its folds—the plumage of an ocean green and blue like the tail of a peacock. And what I found myself enjoying was not merely these colours but a whole instant of my life on whose summit they rested, an instant which had been no doubt an aspiration towards them and which some feeling of fatigue or sadness had perhaps prevented me from enjoying at Balbec but which now, freed from what is necessarily imperfect in external perception, pure and disembodied, caused me to swell with happiness (259).

Like the two-story house, the napkin, itself replete with folds, unfolds a new perception that affords Marcel no small measure of joy. On yet another level, which is beyond the scope of this study, a more refined critique of Proustian temporality and its relation to objects such as the napkin or the madeleine is in order. These objects, capable of provoking an array of different sensory modes of recollection, serve primarily as catalysts and conduits into the past. This structure, alluring though it is, does not in my opinion fundamentally alter received concepts of linear time. In this sense, it is the diametric opposite of the example that opens Deleuze’s The Logic of Sense. For Proust, the object is in the present, and the memory it evokes is in the past; Deleuze, alongside phenomenologists such as Beauvoir, Merleau-Ponty, and Sartre, conceptualizes far more radical possibilities of the simultaneous coexistence of an object in two (or more) distinct temporal registers. To put it in the terms of Difference and Repetition, Proust does not get beyond the second synthesis of time (memory).

29. Denis Wood and Robert J. Beck, with Ingrid Wood, Randall Wood, and Chandler Wood, Home Rules (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1994), 223.

30. See Maurice Merleau-Ponty, “The Intertwining—the Chiasm” in The Visible and the Invisible, 130–55. Merleau-Ponty highlights the impossibility of determining which hand does the touching and which is the one touched.

31. For a strong argument against the primacy of vision in literary-philosophical works such as these, see Martin Jay, The Denigration of Vision in Twentieth-Century French Thought (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1993).

32. Wood and Beck, Home Rules, 304.

33. Ibid., 305.

34. Ibid., 304.

35. Maurice Blanchot, Aminadab (Paris: Gallimard, 1942). In an otherwise critical review of this novel, Sartre offers singular praise for the executioner episode. See “Aminadab; ou, du fantastique considéré comme un langage,” in Situations I (Paris: Gallimard, 1947), 113–32 (see p. 125). Additionally, in The Poetics of Space, Bachelard provides a brief analysis of the “radically simple” inner room in Blanchot’s novel Death Sentence (228–29).

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