Deleuze and the Body

Deleuze and the Body

Deleuze and the Body

Deleuze and the Body

Synopsis

Deleuze and the Body puts the philosophy of Gilles Deleuze to work to trace the multiple lines of thought and affect that inhabit the ideas and attitudes to the body. It analyses how bodies are formed in certain relationships: to power, to creativity and to affectivity. The contributors use a variety of contemporary cultural, scientific and philosophical lines of enquiry to produce a truly multidisciplinary view of the Deleuzian body which makes us look afresh at art, movement, and literature.

Excerpt

Joe Hughes

The question animating this volume is simple: is there a coherent theory of the body in Deleuze, and if there is, what can we do with it? If the question needs to be asked, it is because the body has an uncertain place in Deleuze’s work. It is its own kind of Erewhon: simultaneously ‘now here’ and ‘nowhere’.

As evidence for its omnipresence we could begin by citing his writings on Spinoza. the ‘properly ethical question’, Deleuze tells us, is ‘what can a body do?’ Nietzsche and Philosophy takes this ethical question further, constructing a typology of corporeal forms based on each body’s composition of forces. the two geneses of The Logic of Sense have their origin in ‘corporeal depths’. the classification of images in Cinema 1 is not an empirical, inductive classification. Rather, the categories of cinema are the categories of a body emerging from the plane of immanence. in Francis Bacon the meat is a lithe, acrobatic material which can enter into various characteristic relations. It is a constellation containing colors of such splendor that Bacon becomes a religious painter when he enters butcher shops.

Not only is the concept of the body nearly everywhere we look in Deleuze’s work, but it has also gone on to inform some of the most influential conceptions of the body in contemporary critical debate. Elizabeth Grosz, Moira Gatens, Patricia Clough and Rosi Braidotti, to name only a few, have engaged critically with Deleuze’s writings on the body.

At the same time, however, Deleuze rarely discusses the body directly, and he is wide open to Grosz’s claim that Deleuze, among others, has not ‘explicitly devoted himself to developing a theory of the body’ or made it ‘the center of focus’ (1994: ix). the only way we can draw a theory of the body out of the central work in Deleuze’s œuvre, Difference and Repetition, is by insisting that the three passive syntheses be read as a . . .

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