Deleuze and Guattari

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Gilles Deleuze, a French philosopher, and Félix Guattari, a French psychiatrist and political activist, wrote a number of works together (besides both having distinguished independent careers).

Their conjoint works were Capitalism and Schizophrenia [1] and "What is Philosophy."


A two volume work, consisting of Anti-Oedipus (1972) and A Thousand Plateaus (1980), Capitalism and Schizophrenia was an influential success; and, with its critique of psychoanalytic conformity,[2] marked a significant step in the evolution of post-structuralism.[3] Its emphasis on the nomadic nature of knowledge and identity, as seen for example in the authors' stress on the continuities between the human and the animal,[4] also places it among the formative texts of postmodernism. Stark and Laurie argue that Anti-Oedipus also "responded to the failures of Marxist revolutionary movements to purge themselves of the vices they were seeking to overthrow, including prejudice, dogmatism, nationalism and hierarchies of power".[5]

Foucault in his preface to the first volume called it “a book of ethics, the first book of ethics to be written in France in quite a long time”.[6] Fredric Jameson praised it for re-introducing the flux of history into the static world of structuralism.[7]

The book's celebration of the pre-oedipal has also been seen as sketching a strategy for survival under the capitalism of late modernity.[8]


Unhappy with the treatment of Franz Kafka’s work by scholars, Deleuze and Guattari wrote Kafka: Toward a Theory of Minor Literature in order to attack previous analyses of Kafka which they saw as limiting him either "by oedipalizing and relating him to mother-father narratives—or by trying to limit him to theological-metaphysical speculation to the detriment of all the political, ethical, and ideological dimensions that run through his work".[9]

Published in 1975, their book sought to enter Kafka’s works through deliberately imprecise analytical modes such as flow and intensity,[10] without the unnecessary burden of the type of analysis that relates works to past or existing categories of genre, type, mode, or style. The latter sort of analysis is related to what Deleuze and Guattari would call the "Major" or dominant literature, out of which they see Kafka emerging as a voice of a marginalized, minority people re-appropriating the major language for his own purposes, and stressing collective forces over the individual “literary master”.[11]

Other works[edit]

Deleuze and Guattari also wrote What is Philosophy? together, in which, drawing from David Hume, they construct a view of philosophy as both based on experience and a quasi-virtual world.[12]


Guattari has described how his collaboration with Deleuze arose out of the aftermath of the May 1968 events in France, as well as the additional energy generated in his writings by the collaboration.[13]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ R. Bogue, Deleuze and Guittari (1989) p. 83
  2. ^ Elisabeth Roudinesco, Jacques Lacan (2005) p. 385 and 414
  3. ^ J. Childers/G. Hentzi eds., The Columbia Dictionary of Modern Literary and Cultural Criticism (1995) p. 236-8
  4. ^ Bruce Boehrer, Shakespeare among the Animals (2002) p. 36 and p. 186
  5. ^ Laurie, Timothy and Stark, Hannah. 2012. "Reconsidering kinship: beyond the nuclear family with Deleuze and Guattari". Cultural Studies Review, vol. 18 no. 1, 20. URL:
  6. ^ Quoted in G. Gutting ed., The Cambridge Companion to Foucault (2003) p. 163
  7. ^ M. Hardt/K.Weeks eds., The Jameson Reader (2000) p. 179-80
  8. ^ Childers, p. 214 and p. 269
  9. ^ Bensmaia, Reda. "Foreword: The Kafka Effect." Foreword. Kafka: Towards a Minor Literature. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota, 1975. Print.
  10. ^ Childers, p. 268
  11. ^ A. Parr, The Deleuze Dictionary (2005) p. 136
  12. ^ E. Alliez, Signature of the World (2004) p. 88
  13. ^ F. Guattari, Chaosophy (1995) p. 27-31

Further reading[edit]

Gregg Lambert, Who's Afraid of Deleuze and Guattari? (2006)

External links[edit]