ANTI-OEDIPUS: Capitalism and Schizophrenia by Gilles & Felix Guattari Delueze

ANTI-OEDIPUS: Capitalism and Schizophrenia

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Ten years ago, Guittari, a psychoanalyst, and Delueze, a writer on logic, Kant, and Proust, presented this manifesto of ""schizoanalysis."" Drawing on Oedipus-complex criticisms by the better-known theorist Jacques Lacan, this large, bombastic book rejects not only the tattered context of Freud's isolated family but all ""representations""--linguistic and mythic universals--as well as the idea of a coherent psychodynamics itself. Instead, the world is ""irreducible multiplicity,"" ""an endless flux, flowing from something not unlike the immense thigh of a pig."" In Freudian analysis, ""everything is decided in advance"" by the Oedipal map: instead, we must ""plug in desiring-machines,"" the authors' term for human individuals. The book is not preoccupied with sexual activity per se, however, but with eliminating the concrete ""persons, aggregates and laws. . . images, structure, s, and symbols"" retained by capitalism to achieve a ""natural and sensuous objective being."" R. D. Laing settled for group therapy instead of consummating ""the schizo-revolutionary process"" accessible to ""the infirm, the illiterate, embracing all the flows and counterflows, the gushings of mercy and pity knowing nothing of meanings and aims."" (Artaud and Burroughs are cited as examples of ""mercy and pity""; the book's other copious references center around Nietzsche, Jacques Monod, French anthropologists, and Marx.) Written with a combination of hectic casualness and self-serious opacity, the book sometimes scores a mot (""Oedipus is first the idea of an adult paranoiac before it is a childhood feeling""). But its recipe for therapy as an ""openly malevolent activity"" (e.g. telling the patient, ""Your Oedipus is a fucking drag, keep it up and we'll apply a shock treatment"") is not required to characterize Anti-Oedipus and its ""desiring-machine"" metaphysic as an exercise in deliberate infantilism a la Michel Foucalt (author of the preface)--which has lost whatever shock value it may have possessed when fresh.

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1977
Publisher: Viking