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Anti-Oedipus (Continuum Impacts) Paperback – September 1, 2004

ISBN-13: 978-0826476951 ISBN-10: 0826476953
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Editorial Reviews


" Renders palpable the metaphor of the unconscious as a worker, and does it in a brilliant, appropriately nutty way."
-The New Republic --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Language Notes

Text: English, French (translation) --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Product Details

  • Series: Continuum Impacts
  • Paperback: 712 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Academic (September 1, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0826476953
  • ISBN-13: 978-0826476951
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 5 x 7.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,707,204 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

134 of 147 people found the following review helpful By Adrian Chan on February 11, 2003
Format: Paperback
If you're into sociology, and you're curious about Deleuze, then read this one first. Skim some of the bits on psychoanalysis. But read the opening and the sections on representation closely. This is the book that gives birth to Empire, currently a hot one in the anti-globalism movement. It's in this one that D/G show how any social order requires a means by which to articluate desire. They argue that desire is fundamentally productive, creative. But that it must be harnessed if a society is going to survive it's chaotic impulses and forces.
Anti Oedipus is really a book of anthropology. It shows how "primitive," "despotic," and finally "capitalist" regimes differ in their organization of production, recording (inscription, representation), and consumption. It's also a history insofar as it covers the process by which capitalism ultimately commands all the flows and chains of production, submitting them to a form of organization that is abstract (money is abstract) rather than local and physical.
The oedipal part of it is a critique of the Oedipal complex insofar as the complex articulates a model of society based on the family triangle. They want to show that the family is a kind of organization that must colonize its members, repress their desires, and give them complexes if it is to function as an organizing principle of contemporary society.
Their alternative, to be taken literally, is schizoid: subvertive, resistance, and always escaping capture by slipping in between the categories that organize capitalist society and its way of thinking.
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22 of 25 people found the following review helpful By John David Ebert on January 19, 2012
Format: Paperback
Published in France in 1972, Anti-Oedipus was the first of several collaboartions between Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari. A few years later they would go on to write the even larger and more complex A Thousand Plateaus, perhaps Deleuze's most famous work. Zizek argues that Deleuze's collaborations with Guattari represent his weakest work, and that his best books are actually The Logic of Sense and Difference and Repetition, works written in the years prior to Anti-Oedipus. Since I have not yet read these latter two books, I cannot judge their merits, but I must say I was very impressed with Anti-Oedipus, though I think A Thousand Plateaus is the better book.

Whereas A Thousand Plateaus ranges through the disciplines, Anti-Oedipus is more narrowly focused upon psychoanalysis and its relationship to capitalism. Provocatively, they argue that schizophrenia is embedded in capitalism, a sort of by-product of its axiomatic political metabolism. The schizophrenic out for a walk, they point out, is a better model for their 'schizoanalysis' than the neurotic stretched out on the psychoanalytic couch. The schizophrenic is immune to neurosis, they insist, because he has already transcended it: the desiring machines within him link him to the outer world in a series of assemblages and flows that it is normally the job of psychoanalysis to repress.

Deleuze and Guattari substitute polyvocality and multiplicity for unity: not the Id or the ego, but machines and many of them. Their model for the unconscious is that of a factory of production, as opposed to the Freudian theater enacting the tragic dramas of Oedipus.
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37 of 46 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 27, 1999
Format: Paperback
Extremely dense, muddy prose slung half way between poetic delerium and hardened theory, this vast experiement in writing is fascinating in its ability to have turned over seemingly everything- and liberally shaken. This can be a masochistic experience for any reader, although I think that it is one of the most interesting philosophical texts written this century. Certainly seems essential reading for budding psychoanalysts, intending social theorists and anybody interested in the problem of fascism. 'Dip in and out of it', as has been suggested by another reviwer.
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68 of 88 people found the following review helpful By Vinay Varma on February 4, 2006
Format: Paperback
Why am I giving this book a five star rating? Because this work is an effort at a new theory that is systematic and terminologically consistent and must have been a torture for the writers to conjure up in their head.

It certainly is a torture to read this work. Not because I can't understand hard-core philosophy - I have read, understood and liked Hegel, Heidegger, Sartre and Derrida, considered amongst the most abstruse stylists - but because it is difficult to empathize with writers who characterize themselves and their readers as 'desiring machines' rather than as subjects with consciousness and will.

Is desire the only thing that defines human beings - what about will, thinking, compassion, judgment? And further why am I supposed to be a machine and in what sense? These are the questions that came to my mind. The authors never explain. The question of the subject is dismissed in one sentence.

It is also difficult to agree with writers who dismiss all seeking of power and all active resistance by implication as fascism and preach escape/flight as the most radical ideology of resistance and hope.

And it is difficult to find hope in the vain jargon of molecular vs. molar, in the lines of escape or flight, or in a schizoid approach to life (a schizophrenic has no control over himself - is a machine and hence is the authors' favorite).

The authors fail in their synthesis of Marx and Freud although they come close and fail to understand Nietzsche, one of their favorite philosophers. Marx, Freud and Nietzsche would turn violently in their graves, if they ever know what Deleuze/Guattari did to their philosophies. They speculations on incest, kinship etc., are just too weak, sketchy and merely assertoric to be taken seriously.
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