Gilles Deleuze.


Philosophy is marked by fashions as much as clothing, and Deleuze is a prime example. Because mush of his work is only recently available in English, and because he is something of a rogue philosopher, he is only now becoming well known in English circles. Part of this lapse is due to the subjects he chose to write on; often his work uses marginal work to begin with, like the writings of Liebnez, Spinoza, Nietzsche, Bergson, and then he tends to `give the finger' to accepted philosophical norms.

Of course this makes him appealing for disciplines where the canon is held to be suspect or unimportant. Deleuze is currently fashionable in Feminist, Queer, and Film studies, while the more widely available Derrida holds sway in English lit. Philosophy departments only seem to have cottoned on recently, and even then only `rads' take him on (in Australia, Elizabeth Grosz offers a couple of courses, treating him on an equal footing with Foucault). It's notable that he gets no write up in any of the varieties of Philosophical dictionaries or guides available from Oxford or Cambridge Presses. My University, Swinburne, has two of his books.

Naf pic of the man.

The Pleasures of Philosophy.

Deleuze seems to have a joyfully trangressive air about his writings, and he openly offers his philosophy as a `tool kit' to be used by the reader, completely understanding that such uses may only be a partial understanding of the tools he offers (I fall into this category!). This, and the large range of subject matter he treats, tends to make him thought of as a `rebel without a causation', but this is wide of the mark. His early work, particularly `The Logic of Sense' and `Repetition and Difference', are rigorous examples of in-depth analysis on key concepts of the century; logic, language, signification. With this solid base and diversity, his work easily out classes better known names like Baudrillard or Bathes (there's an open offer to shoot me down...).

Reading Deleuze.

Starting with Deleuze can be hard work until you get your head around the concepts, which takes a concerted effort. Boiling him down is made almost impossible by his innate rejection of the idea of being summarised, and concepts like `The Body Without Organs' are notoriously problematic. To look at the upside of this, he leaves you with a feeling of really having got to grips with something good, of having made a hard journey. If Baudrillard could be considered a `Miami Wine Bar and Cadillac' thinker, then Deleuze is `Tent and Landrover' - all while well-dressed and deeply anti-authoritarian...

Important Works: (The second date is that of the English translation).

Cinema 1: The Movement-Image (1983/1986)
Cinema 2: The Time-Image (1985/1989)
Difference and Repetition. (1968/1995)
Emprisme et subjectivite (1953)
Expressionism in Philosophy; Spinoza (1968/1990)
Foucault (1986/1986)
Francis Bacon; Logique de la sensation (1981)
Kant's Critical Philosophy (1963/1984)
The Logic of Sense (1990/1969)
Nietzsche and Philosophy (1983/1962)
Le Pli: Leibniz et la Baroque (1988)
Pourparlers: 1972-1990 (1988)
Proust and Signs (1970/1972)
Spinoza: Practical Philosophy (1970/1988)
Anti Oedipus (with Felix Guattari) (1972/1983)
A Thousand Plateaus (with Felix Guattari) (1980/1987)
Masochism (1967/1989)
Kafka: Towards a Minor Literature (with Felix Guattari) (1975/1986)

Reverse Manually...