I taught this as a graduate seminar in the Winter semester of 2005.  Gilles Deleuze has been a major friend to me over the past nearly ten years, both in my personal life and in my thought and writing.  For academics in the US, he's mostly thought of in combination with Felix Guattari, the late French psychoanalyst with whom he wrote several volumes, most famously the two-volume work "Capitalism and Schizophrenia" (Vol. 1 Anti-oedipus; Vol. 2 A Thousand Plateaus).  But he also wrote over the course of his adult life a series of studies of philosophers who were important to him.  It's these books that I want to read with the participants in my seminar.  In them, Deleuze draws out what are to him the most important creations of these different philosophers through close careful readings of their works.  Something quite remarkable happens when Deleuze is doing these close readings.  On the one hand, everything he takes from these guys is meticulously cited (and almost nothing else enters into the readings, no secondary materials, etc.).  On the other hand, most philosophical experts on these different philosophers don't recognize Deleuze's version of them.  So clearly Deleuze is making something up, making up a scarcely recognizable image of some of these thinkers, but he seems to manage to do so by staying very, very close to their texts.  This way of reading and writing fascinates me.  He's like an ant crawling along the surface of these texts and offering thereby a perspective unavailable to other methods of reading.  In my seminar, I hope that we too read like ants, crawling along the surface of Deleuze's books, making our own images of Deleuze's vocabulary of concepts, drawing up an inventory of what he created, but also, ideally, in the process putting Deleuze into contact with other forces and lines of thought and writing that might have been unfamiliar to him.

Course Schedule

Week I    Course Introduction

Week II             Empiricism and Subjectivity (1953), “Preface to the English-Language Edition” and Chapters 1, 2, and 3 (pp ix - x; pp. 21 - 72)

Week III        Empiricism and Subjectivity (1953), Chapters 4, 5, and 6 and “Conclusion: Purposiveness” (pp. 73 - 133)

Week IV     Nietzsche and Philosophy (1962), “Preface to the English Translation” and Chapters 1, 2, and 3 (pp ix - xiv; pp. 1 - 110)

Week V             Nietzsche and Philosophy (1962), Chapters 4 and 5, and Conclusion (pp. 111 - 198)

Week VI             Bergsonism (1966), Chapters 1, 2, and 3 (pp. 13 - 72)

Week VII             Bergsonism (1966), Chapters 4 and 5 and “A Return to Bergson” (pp. 73 -118)

Week VIII        Expressionism in Philosophy: Spinoza (1968), “Introduction” and Part One: “The Triads of Substance”: Chapters I – V (pp. 13 - 95)

Week IX     “            “, Part Two: “Parallelism and Immanence”: Chapters VI – XI (pp. 99 – 186)

Week X     “            “, Part Three: “The Theory of Finite Modes”: Chapters XII – IXX, Conclusion, and Appendix (pp. 191 – 350)

Week XI             Spinoza: Practical Philosophy (1970, rev. 1981), Chapters 1, 2, 3, 5, and 6 (pp. 3 – 43; pp. 110-130)

Group Presentation I (students in groups): Deleuze’s “independent” Philosophy (Difference and Repetition, Logic of Sense)

Week XII       The Fold (Leibniz, 1983), Part I: “The Fold”: Chapters 1, 2, and 3 (pp. 3 – 38)

Group Presentation II (students in groups): Deleuze and Guattari (Anti-Oedipus, A Thousand Plateaus, What is Philosophy?)

Week XIII     “            “, Part II: “Inclusions”: Chapters, 4, 5, and 6 (pp. 41 – 82)

Group Presentation III (students in groups): Proust and the Arts (Literature: Proust and Signs, Masochism, Kafka: Towards a  Minor Literature, Essays: Critical and Clinical; Cinema: Cinema I: The Time Image, Cinema II: The Movement Image; Painting: Logic of Sensation: Francis Bacon)

Week XIV     “            “, Part III: “Having a Body”: Chapters 7, 8, and 9 (pp. 85-137)

Group Presentation Presentation IV (students in groups): Others On Deleuze (Zizek, Organs Without Bodies: Deleuze and Consequences, Badiou, Deleuze: The Clamor of Being)

Participant Expectations

1.Reading (obviously, slowly, thoughtfully, carefully, as though life depended on it)

2.Individual Presentation: guide the rest of us through your understanding of the week’s assigned reading (can be as systematic or not as you like, as long as you need to give the rest of us a sense of what stood out for you in the reading and thus also some points of departure for our discussion).  We can preassign these, or we might choose each week’s presenter at random.

3.Group Presentation

4.Weekly discussion piece (317 words): due to the entire group on each Monday by 5 pm.  (Pick one word or passage from the week’s reading – put it at the top of your page, with the reference[s] to the text from which it’s coming.  Then write 317 words – no more, no less – taking that passage in whatever direction interests you:  other issues from the course, things that others have written, issues or problems in your own work outside the seminar, the daily newspaper, whatever…)

5.Final Paper (desirability and/or nature to be determined)


Reading to Live course page
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