Gilles Deleuze from A to Z
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(Dec 02, 2011)
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Although Gilles Deleuze never wanted a film to be made about him, he agreed to Claire Parnet's proposal to film a series of conversations in which each letter of the alphabet would evoke a word: From A (as in Animal) to Z (as in Zigzag). These DVDs, elegantly transtlated and subtitled in English, make these conversations available for English-speaking audiences? for the first time.In dialogue with Parnet (a journalist and former student of Deleuze), the philosopher exhibited the modest and thrilling transparency that his seminal works (such as Anti-Oedipus and A Thousand Plateaus) reveal. The sessions were taped when Deleuze was already terminally ill; he and Parnet agreed that the film would not be shown publicly until after his death. The awareness of mortality floats through the dialogues, making them not just intellectually stimulating but also emotionally engaging. Because Parnet knew Deleuze so well, she was able to draw him out--as no one else had--to what might be the 1001st plateau: a place of brilliance, rigor, and charm.In "A as in Animal," for example, Deleuze vents his hatred of pets: "A bark," he declares, "really seems to me the stupidest cry." Instead, he praises the tick: "... in a nature teeming with life, [the tick] extracts three things": light, smell, and touch. This, he claims, in a sense is philosophy. "And that is your life's dream?" Parnet wryly asks. "That's what constitutes a world," he replies. For Deleuze, doing philosophy meant not just creating concepts but living a life in philosophy. Gilles Deleuze from A to Z presents the mind of a great philosopher at work.
"...[A] rare and interesting look at the man and his letters."-- Roy Christopher Blog
" Gilles Deleuze from A to Z... is a riveting, self-penned obituary of a sickly and self-reflexive philosopher, whose ruminations on bodies, space, art and knowledge constitute both an encyclopedia and an atlas." -- Erik Morse, Frieze
"…[A] dense and illuminating filmed interview structured as an alphabet primer (A as in "Animal," B as in "Boire," C as in "Culture"...)… it's not a standard interview but a final testimony, with an interlocutor who serves expertly as muse." -- Rachel Kushner, BOMB
"Gilles Deleuze (1925-95) is without question one of the most important philosophers writing in French in the second half of the twentieth century…A unique and important document that will engage anyone interested in Deleuze's thought."--A. D. Schrift, Choice
Top Customer Reviews
Deleuze's academic writings are well-known for their impenetrability. Even some of the so-called "brightest bulbs on the tree" have been mystified and puzzled by his style and concepts. Reading his writings gives one the impression that one has landed somewhere one does not belong; everything seems foreign and out-of-place. It is not unusual for readers of Deleuze to give up their studies of his works out of feelings of inadequacy.
While this (giving up in the face of Deleuze's obscurity) is certainly an understandable response, it should always be remembered that Deleuze himself had a very complex and antagonistic relationship with academics. Although his writings are without a doubt "academic", the only things that make a professor more likely to read his work than a homeless man or a prostitute are:
1) likelihood of exposure (typically Deleuze is only discussed in academic contexts)
2) intellectual narcissism: the professor or graduate student is likely to have an insane amount of faith in their intellectual abilities, and is thus more than likely to have come under the impression that "nothing is too complex" to comprehend.Read more ›