Deleuzian Fabulation and the Scars of History

By Ronald Bogue | Go to book overview

Introduction

For the last twenty-five years, I have been studying the philosophy of Gilles Deleuze. In an initial effort, when Deleuze was not as well known as he is today, I tried to provide a general introduction to his thought and that of his frequent collaborator, Félix Guattari. In a subsequent series of books, I offered an assessment of the relevance of Deleuze and Deleuze-Guattari for understanding the arts, especially those of music, painting, cinema and literature. In the course of these investigations, I gradually became aware of a faint yet persistent anti-narrative strain in Deleuze's thought, or at least a predilection for disruptions of conventional narrative and a valorisation of the visual image over the verbal story. This struck me as odd, since Deleuze wrote three brilliant books on creative writers (Proust, Sacher-Masoch, Kafka) and frequently discussed works of literature, many of which have a strong narrative component. I pursued this question further in essays devoted to the concept of fabulation, the vague outlines of which Deleuze articulated late in his career, and after that inquiry, I felt convinced that Deleuze could be of little assistance in the analysis of the properly narrative aspect of literature. My views were altered, however, when I read Jay Lampert's groundbreaking Deleuze and Guattari's Philosophy of History (2006), which suggested a means of integrating two different theories of time found in Deleuze: his notion of the three passive syntheses of time from Difference and Repetition (1968); and the opposition of the times of Chronos and Aion, first voiced in The Logic of Sense (1969) and later developed as part of his and Guattari's pronouncements against history in A Thousand Plateaus (1980). Lampert's conclusion was that, all appearances to the contrary, Deleuze and Guattari did have a philosophy of history, and that it could best be understood through the integration of these two temporal models. Although the problems of history and those of narrative fiction are not identical, the question of the temporality of events and their recounting is common to both domains, and Lampert's analysis of the three passive syntheses struck me as particularly useful in approaching the questions I had

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