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Germinal Life: The Difference and Repetition of Deleuze 0th Edition

4 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0415183512
ISBN-10: 0415183510
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Editorial Reviews


This is a very important book which moves beyond current interpretations of Deleuze
–Elizabeth Grosz, Monash University

Highly accomplished and admirably innovative. Keith Ansell Pearson is an energetic and insightful reader of Deleuze, matched also by the depth of his knowledge of biological literature
–Brian Massumi, Australian National University.

Germinal Life sparkles with new connections and fresh insights
–John Protevi, Louisiana State University

About the Author

Keith Ansell Pearson is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Warwick. He is the author of Viroid Life and editor of Deleuze and Philosophy, both published by Routledge in 1997.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge (April 3, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0415183510
  • ISBN-13: 978-0415183512
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.6 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,561,919 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By A reader on April 30, 2001
Format: Paperback
Germinal Life is the sequel to Keith Ansell Pearson's well-received book on Nietzsche and biophilosophy, Viroid Life, which appeared in 1997. It is also the middle-entry in what is unfolding as a series of three books examining the work of Nietzsche, Deleuze, and Bergson, the third of which will focus on the ontological concept of the `virtual' commonly found in both Bergson and Deleuze. Like any middle-child, one might expect such a volume as this to be somewhat troublesome, possessing neither the seniority of the first in the series (and the respect that goes with that) nor the relative youth and indulgence enjoyed by the latest arrival. To switch the analogy to one with literature, the novelty of the first book in any trilogy is seldom surpassed by what follows it, while the kudos of being the final entry where everything is brought to a climax is likewise unparalleled. This usually leaves the second book an intermediary role in the most anodyne sense, that of pushing the plot forward (normally by complication) and deepening the characterisation. What is uniquely philosophical about a trilogy of philosophy books may well thwart such a structural characterisation as this (especially if it is a trilogy in name only), but there is, nonetheless, evidence for this homology in Ansell Pearson's latest work: it builds on the main them of Viroid Life, namely contemporary biophilosophy and its significance for the `transhuman condition', by intensifying its interpretation of Deleuze's vitalist metaphysics (through reading Bergson in particular), while also anticipating future research into the various political implications of such a philosophy.Read more ›
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Daniel W. Smith on May 5, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Keith Ansell-Pearson's "Germinal Life" situates itself at the nexus of three sets of concerns: Gilles Deleuze's philosophy of "difference," Bergson's philosophy of "life," and contemporary neo-evolutionary theories. Between these three themes, Ansell-Pearson weaves an intruiging web of interrelated questions and problems. Deleuze is partly responsible for the revival of interest in Bergson's writings, which had fallen into semi-obscurity in the early part of the twentieth-century. (Lévi-Strauss once commented that Bergson reduced everything to a state of mush in order to bring out its inherent ineffability.) But what is the nature of Deleuze's own "Bergsonism"? How and why does he appropriate the three primary concepts of Bergson's thought, intuition, memory, and élan vital? Most difficultly, how and in what sense can Bergson's "vitalism" be taken seriously given the developments in modern biology? Ansell-Pearson brings a wide range of resources to bear on these complex issues, all of which lie at the intersection of philosophy and biology. The book investigates the relation of Deleuze's thought to Darwin, Freud, and Nietzsche, and along the way provides helpful discussions of figures in the history of biology (Weismann, Geoffroy Saint-Hillaire), contemporary writers in the field (Gould, Dawkins, Goodwin, Margulis), as well as a number of lesser-known known figures that Deleuze himself championed (Simondon, Uexküll).
The thread that guides Ansell-Pearson throughout his research is the idea of a contemporary "bio-philosophy" or philosophy of life. This idea has far-reaching relevance.
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful By John Protevi on May 25, 2001
Format: Paperback
This is a collection of challenging and insightful essays bringing the still as yet relatively overlooked philosophical work of Deleuze & Guattari to bear on questions raised by contemporary biology, especially as it intersects so-called complexity theory. Besides a focus on population rather than individual (one of the meanings of their notorious call for "pop" philosophy), D/G also propose a "machinic" biology, one not centered on the organism as a whole in its putative connection to a similarly static environment, but one that follows multiple flows of energy and matter through the "rhizome" or interactive field that traverses what used to be seen as the whole organism, now inscribed as a mere node in that heterogenous field. Following these leads, Ansell Pearson's concern with "life" also includes questions of art, literature, and politics, endeavors which, to speak Aristotelian for a moment, were always considered the artificial from which the natural could be safely distinguished.
As itself a heterogenous "assemblage" of the type it investigates, Germinal Life sparkles with new connections and fresh insights. Few have read as widely and as well as KAP, and it shows. The author demonstrates, in addition to an easy familiarity with Deleuze and Deleuze/Guattari, a firm grasp of the classic work of Darwin and Bergson, as well as wide reading in the voluminous recent University Press literature documenting the contemporary life sciences and so-called complexity theory. For a reader with some familiarity with the basic themes of its components, plugging into the machine of Germinal Life will be a productive experience indeed.
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