02 November 2006

Deleuzian Tendencies

Anthony Paul Smith, of The Weblog, has written a very nice blog on different directions contemporary Deleuzian scholarship is moving in.
That there is now a Deleuze industry is both troubling and exhilarating to me. That I ever read Deleuze at all is strange, since my education began as a theologian under a man very entrenched in the transcendental theology of Barth. Philosophically, in those early days, I was more attracted to Derrida and others who would teach me to read cleverly and whose philosophy was all about 'openness'. I won't pretend that I didn't read naively at this point. I have to credit a review of Daniel Bell's The Refusal to End Suffering with the first mention of Deleuze, in a provocative statement about there being only slaves with no masters in the current situation. Being attracted to Nietzsche through fear of losing my faith (and hope!) but still being highly liberal (not quite left at this stage) this thesis was attractive. And so when I went to Barnes and Noble and, strangely enough, saw Deleuze's Nietzsche and Philosophy I bought it and struggled to get through it. It was different from anything I'd read before, from any of the other philosophers who I had been attracted to (Nietzsche, Kierkegaard, Derrida) and I didn't know how to read it. Then I ordered Anti-Oedipus and looked at it, often while taking a shit (Sinthome should like that), in complete confusion. I was 20 and my education before college was not what I would call good. The most philosophically inclined training I received was from a Christian apologist who did not fit with my punk rock ways. All philosophy was confusing at this point, but this was a different confusion. This made no sense to me at all when I attempted to read it 'academically', which at this point meant little. I finally made it through the book when I was in Paris and had the time to struggle through it. I was 21 and the day I finished it I wrote a letter to my friend Sarah with huge chunks of quotations scribbled in my infantile handwriting. Something about it made sense in the context of our friendship. That I read both Anti-Oedipus, Goodchild's Capitalism and Religion, and five books of Nietzsche's at this time says something about the speed in which I move through thought. I still tarry with these three more than anything else, to the point that I feel like I've internalized Nietzsche even when he doesn't accord with my essence. I've read Deleuze's Nietzsche book five times, each time slowly, and it remains, perhaps naively, at the centre of my understanding. Everything in Capitalism and Schizophrenia is just a building upon that book, a going further with Nietzsche's thought (further than poor Nietzsche could have gone). And the only undergraduate paper I think had any originality dealt with this book and his advancement in the book on Foucault.
Read the rest here.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for that link, Levi.

Anthony Paul Smith's blog is good, and the comments section even better. I learn a lot.


November 02, 2006 3:19 PM  

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