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Re: Giles Deleuze 1925-1995
My introduction to Deleuze was in a critical theory class trying to
ascend A Thousand Plateaus, co authored by Felix Guattari. Interestingly *the
book*, was likened to a record in that we were told there would be parts that
we would like or understand and might repeatedly return to, while other parts
we would want to skip over and completely ignore. Forever. Thinking back it was
sort of a hypertext use of the book. Anyway, it was noted in the forward by
translator Brian Massumi that Deleuze felt that as artists we are all
philosophical thinkers to the extent that we explore the potentials of our
respective mediums and break away from the beaten paths. Ideas that certainly
coincided with his concept of nomadic thought, and, seem to be just as
relevant today in our ongoing discussions of the future of *the book*.
As a follow up to Charles' post regarding the suicide of Deleuze I offer
the following which was forwarded to me. For those of you that find this off
topic I would only suggest that you read *the book*.
>From email@example.com Tue Nov 7 03:35:29 1995
Date: Mon, 06 Nov 1995 10:36:38 +0100
From: Melissa McMahon <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Below is a translation (rapidly, stutteringly done this morning) of a piece
included in the issue of _Philosophie_ dedicated to Deleuze. Obituaries
give me the horrors a bit - something _fatal_ about them, like wanting to
end death, or silence it with endless words. This, importantly, was written
before his death, thus is not an obituary, and has a taste for the
singularities (rather than molar categories) and the power of the false
(rather than that of 'summing up') that are so lacking in the newspaper
_Philosophie_ no.47, September 1995 (issue dedicated to Deleuze)
_Deleuze_, philosopher, son of Diogenes and Hypatia, spent time in Lyon.
Nothing is known of his life. He lived to a very old age, even though he was
often very sick. He illustrated what he himself said: that there are lives
where difficulties approach the extraordinary. He defined as active all force
which goes to the limit of its power. This is, he said, the opposite of the
law. It is thus that he lived, going always further that he would have
thought possible. Although he explained Chryssippus, it is above all his
constancy which makes him worthy of the name Stoic.
He was one of the most remarkable orators of his time, and the greatest of
those who made it their profession to teach philosophy. He was only
understood by a few. He was persecuted; the object of a jealousy which never
disarmed him. He despised these miseryguts, because of the joy of his life,
which was to philosophise.
Of a lofty temperament, he tolerated only the people. But formidable was his
irony. His voice was one of the most extraordinary. Athena compared it to a
grater, then to a torrent of pebbles. His elocution was of an extreme
distinction, a little tired, his diction slow and sweet. Appollodorus
compares his voice to that of a wizard. He was a man of perfect nobility,
who had a horror of all that belittled.
He wrote much, perhaps more than anyone, when one considers the density
of his works. While he treated amply the subjects of logic and morality, he
must be placed among the ranks of physicists, indeed among the first
rank. He left behind him an _Of Nature_, that Stobee ranked with those of
Heraclitus and Lucretius, relating an oracle: in a very distant future,
nothing so great will have appeared, if not a certain _Ethics_, which is not
He said that three anecdotes are enough: the place, the time and the
element. His own place found him towards the east. As for the time, it is
that of the deepest twilight: for there is much terror in his books. Even
the sky suffers of its cardinal points and constellations, he says. As for
the element, we can permit ourselves to hesitate, for he speaks of all of
them with a rare splendour. He passionately loves the earth; Aratos says
that he was a troglodyte. He celebrates the hairy lines of the waters, and
fire, according to him, is soluble. His element however is aerial,
overhanging, suspense, and profound fall.
He was also a doctor, the last to treat medicine as an art. We can cite two
books on monsters, two on wounds and the most famous, on the oedema of the feet.
We read in Aristoxena his _Treaty of the Refrain_, whose boldness is extreme.
One can also find _De linea_, and _Of sublime images_.
Proclus copies out a very obscure passage on "the Virgin, the one who was
never lived, beyond the lover and beyond the mother, coexisting with the
one and contemporary with the other." In the same place, he says that all
reminiscence is erotic. Strabo maintains that he was an astonishing
"geologist". With Felix, he composed, besides _Against oedema_, which also
contains a _Politics_ and a _Geography_ of which it is said that never
have such mad ones been seen: _On strata_, which also contains a _Strategy_.
This latter seems never to have been understood by anybody, among
In geometry, he discovered the pulsation of spirals. He professed that the
love of children for their mother repeats other loves of adults, in regard
to other women.
There was a multitude of other Deleuzes.
Here is a list of his works: _Of the event_, in 34 books. _Of the
constellations which run through us_. _Of the impassibility of
incorporeals_. _On the wounds received while sleeping_. _Symptoms_. _On the
jump of demons_. _Of tubercules_. _Of the noble man_. _On the ugliness of the
human face_. _Of idiots_. _Of the invisible witnesses_. _The Prince of
philosophers_. _On degrees_. _Of the three testaments_. _The Galician_, or
_Of cold_, or _Of cruelty_. _Of larvae_. _Of the Idea which watches us_.
_Misosophy_. _Of the egg_. _Of the clear and obscure_. _Of the universal
spider_. _That allintensity is tearing_. _Of the sardine_. _On the question
"who?"_. _Of the orgy_. _Of nobody_. _On universal foundering (effondrement)_.
_Eulogy of Lucretius_. _Of viscera_. _Of complication_. _Resume of twists_.
_That it is better to not explain oneself too much_. _Of the singularities
which ruffle us_. _Of the cloacal_. _Of the triumph of the slaves_. _The
hammer_. _What belongs to us upon a subtler prompting_. _Of absolute depth_.
_Of unknown joy_.
On Mon, 6 Nov 1995, Charles Alexander wrote:
> I am forwarding this sad note from another list. Deleuze was a major thinker
> and writer for many of us active in arts and literature in many forms. One
> who helped me develop my own sense of various relationships of books and
> charles alexander
> >Sad news--
> >> Group clari.living.books
> >> article 2255
> >> PARIS (AP) -- Prominent French philosopher, writer and university
> >> professor Gilles Deleuze committed suicide by leaping from the
> >> window of his Paris apartment, his family said Sunday.
> >> Deleuze, whom French philosopher Michel Foucault once called
> >> ``the only philosophical mind in France,'' died Saturday. He was
> >> 70.
> >> The author of one of the world's best selling philosophy books,
> >> ``The Anti-Oedipus,'' had suffered for years from a serious
> >> respiratory illness and recently underwent a tracheotomy.
> >> Deleuze was born in 1925 into a conservative Paris family, but
> >> spent his life as a leftist and considered himself almost
> >> militantly so. He became a familiar figure in the city's bohemian
> >> Latin Quarter, his trademark felt hat cocked at a rakish angle.
> >> Deleuze began his academic life in 1955 as a teaching assistant
> >> at the Sorbonne and taught later at the university at Vincennes,
> >> retiring in 1987.
> >> In 1972, he and longtime friend Felix Guattari published ``The
> >> Anti-Oedipus,'' a scathing look at the concepts and
> >> ``schizo-analysis'' of Sigmund Freud and Melanie Klein.
> >> In 1993, he published ``Critic and Clinic,'' in which he
> >> explored the works of Herman Melville and Lewis Carroll, among
> >> others.
> >> Throughout his long career, Deleuze refused to appear on
> >> television, but he agreed earlier this year to develop a
> >> philosophy-oriented program for France's arts-oriented Arte
> >> channel.
> >> Details on Deleuze's survivors were not immediately available.