"NEGOTIATIONS, 1972-1990" by Gilles Deleuze

"NEGOTIATIONS, 1972-1990"

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Fellow philosopher Michel Foucault once opined that ""maybe one day we'll see the century as Deleuzian."" This awkward collection of interviews, letters, and the occasional essay does its best to prove him wrong. Like many modern French intellectuals, Deleuze (Masochism, 1971, etc.) formed his ideas and ideology largely in the crucible of France's May '68 protests. But more than a quarter century later, he has yet to move on; even his most recent work has a tattered, time-capsule quality to it. His Marxist concern with modes and means of production, for example, seems hopelessly quaint. And while his emphasis on power and control might currently enjoy a fading vogue on American campuses, in Parisian intellectual circles such ideas fell from favor long ago. Deleuze is habitually difficult, and though this volume is presented by his publisher as a ""point of entry"" into his work, those not familiar with his substantial oeuvre will find it barely comprehensible here. Book-length arguments are alluded to in a sentence, vital concepts and terms go unexplained except for the occasional footnote. Deleuze himself seems to know everything and understand nothing. His style is high French academician--pompous and full of hair-splitting categorizations and incessant abstractions: ""All processes take place on the plane of immanence, and within a given multiplicity: unifications, subjectifications, rationalizations, centralizations have no special status."" In many of his recent interviews, Deleuze has expressed worries about modern life--the decline of the academy, the ubiquity of media culture and its possibilities for social control. It never occurs to him that his own convoluted, gnomic pens‚es might be part of the problem. After all, it is so much easier to turn on a television set than to wade through outdated, obscure, and unexceptional philosophy from a B-side thinker.

Pub Date: Nov. 16th, 1995
ISBN: 0231075812
Page count: 202pp
Publisher: Columbia Univ.