Deleuze and Literature by Ian Buchanan, John Marks PDF

By Ian Buchanan, John Marks

Deleuze wrote monographs on Proust, Kafka, and Sacher-Masoch and essays on Beckett, Melville, Jarry, T. E. Lawrence, D. H. Lawrence, and Whitman. The essays gathered during this quantity are the 1st dedicated exclusively to Deleuze's paintings on literature. Written by means of top Deleuzian students, the amount specializes in major questions: how does Deleuze learn literary texts and the way will we learn texts in a Deleuzian method?

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Hence, for them `reading a text is never a scholarly exercise in search of what is signified, still less a highly textual exercise in search of a signifier. Rather, it is a productive use of the literary machine . . that extracts from the text its revolutionary force' (Deleuze and Guattari 1983: 106). We could call this theory a revolutionary pragmatics of reading. The theory comprises two parts: a mechanics of reading, or an analysis of how a literary work produces certain effects, and hence of the work as a machinic assemblage; an experimentalist pragmatics, or the experimental production of effects that are then evaluated in terms of the reader's goals and values.

In every case, the aim is to assign an identifiable meaning or set of meanings that correspond to a signifier, thereby excluding others (`this means that, but not this other'). Deleuze and Guattari regard this as a `flattening out' of the polyvocal nature of the real. But more importantly, hermeneutic interpretation belongs to a `imperial-despotic system', where written signifiers are expressions of a hidden voice (of the emperor, of a god), requiring the priest's interpretation. This effective alliance of priest and despot substitutes a fiction of revealed `truth' for efficacy, and subjugates creative production to the reproduction of meaning, under the rule of the despot-priest who claims privileged access to the truth (see Deleuze and Guattari 1983: 206±8, 240; Deleuze and Guattari 1987: 114±17).

Deleuze 1995: 21±2) The issue was not ± at least, not only ± to try to interpret [the work], but, above all, to practice it as an experimental machine, a machine for effects, as in physics. (BensmaõÈa 1986: xi). Or, as Deleuze and Guattari say with respect to their analysis of Franz Kafka's works: We believe in one or more Kafka machines that are neither structure nor phantasm. We believe only in a Kafka experimentation that is without interpretation or significance and rests only on tests of experience.

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