Journal Articles

June 2014 - Vol.44 / No.2
Situating Deleuze on Literature and Philosophy: Territories Distinct but Uncannily Analogous
Author : David R. Ellison
Keywords : Literature, philosophy, uncanniness, Proust, Kafka, Freud
How does one situate the thought of Gilles Deleuze (his own thought, as well as his collaborative writings with Félix Guattari)? On the one hand, the reader of his works is struck by the breadth of the topics they survey (philosophy, literature, political theory, cultural critique, psychoanalysis, film) as well as by wide variations in tone (sober, declarative unpacking of difficult philosophical concepts, but elsewhere inventive flights of fancy which have been much admired and hotly contested). On the other hand, if, as Michel Foucault suggested, our century is “Deleuzian,” this is possibly the case because of the multifaceted usefulness and rhetorical persuasiveness of terms such as “assemblage (agencement),” “deterritorialization,” “line of flight,” “plane of immanence,” “rhizome,” etc.—terms which have served multiple ideological purposes and which have migrated far from their Parisian or European points of origin. In my article, I attempt to situate the relationship between literature and philosophy in the writings of Deleuze and Guattari. My thesis is that the writers’ own explicit attempts to separate the domains into separate territories (developed with the greatest explicitness and rigor in What Is Philosophy?) mask the fact that, for Deleuze the acute reader of literary texts by Proust and Kafka, these two supposedly distinct fields stand in a relation of mutual resonance. Rather than being separate but equal, literature and philosophy are strangely analogous. Philosophy, the domain in which concepts are created, resembles uncannily, in the mode of Freudian Unheimlichkeit, the spider’s web of literature.
Vibration, Singularity, Event: Deleuze and Badiou on Poetic Language
Author : Frank Stevenson
Keywords : Badiou, Deleuze, Mallarmé, poetic language, mathematics, singularity, event, vibration, dice-throw
Here I first look at Badiou’s “analytic” view of poetic language in Handbook of Inaesthetics, where he distinguishes it from logical-mathematical language. Whereas mathematics is “thought that exists precisely inasmuch as it is thinkable,” poetry is an unthinkable thought and a pure event, a pure singularity that cannot “name” the very “power of language” that it manifests. I then contrast this with Deleuze’s theory of poetic language, which emphasizes the physicality of voice and sees the poem itself as a totalized, vibrating or “stuttering” language-body. After suggesting how Mallarmé’s three “fan” (éventail) sonnets easily fit the Deleuzian notion of poem as vibrating body, I turn to Badiou’s reading of passages from Mallarmé’s “Monologue of a Faun” and from a pre-Islamic ode by the Arab poet Labid ben Rabi’a. I will suggest that Badiou and Deleuze, who both look at poetic language as a singular event, also both note the indeterminacy or disappearance of the difference between the poem’s “outside” (form) and “inside” (content). Thus finally I briefly explore Badiou’s and Deleuze’s approaches to Mallarmé’s long poem “Un Coup de Dés,” where once again we see these two thinkers’ predictable differences but also their common awareness that we finally cannot distinguish between a poem’s form and content, between the indefinitely delayed “dice-throw” taken as the driving force or utterance of the poem and taken as its actualization, its meaning.
The Zerrissenheit of Subjectivity
Author : Joff P. N. Bradley
Keywords : Zerrissenheit, abstract machine, calligraphy, capitalism, Japan
The paper opens with a small vignette regarding the production of calligraphy at speed on the Tokyo train network. This will serve as a focal point in considerations pertaining to the notion of Zerrissenheit or “tearing” and its intimate relationship with the complicated notion of the “abstract machine.” As both Gilles Deleuze and Martin Heidegger have used the idea of “tearing” in various ways, we shall think transversally across these two approaches in terms of disclosing the dangers and possibilities of technological relationships as in Heidegger, and, as in Deleuze (and his collaborator Félix Guattari), in the sense of how tearing impacts on writing and the articulation of calligraphy or what Deleuze designates the “Oriental line” in The Fold: Leibniz and the Baroque. It will become clear that while technology tears the hand away from an essential relation to man and earth through disruption and disorientation, it also engineers “universes of reference” in unheard-of ways, as means to think, produce and live afresh. Man is essentially torn between these two poles. In entwining the aforementioned remarks with the art of Paul Klee (active, spontaneous lines), the notion of sobriety and Asian culture in general, the conclusion, which teases out the ramifications from the mainstay thesis that technology effectively disrupts the purity of style or the simplicity of becoming, suggests that in several ways Deleuze and Guattari’s sole and joint writings are an extension, radicalisation and complement of Heidegger’s thought.
Gilles Deleuze and Daisaku Ikeda: Between Immanence and Buddha-Nature
Author : Tony See Sin Heng
Keywords : Buddha-nature, immanence, transcendence, ontology
This paper seeks to examine the relationship between Gilles Deleuze’s idea of immanence and the notion of Buddha-nature in Daisaku Ikeda’s philosophy. Although much has been written about Deleuze’s idea of immanence, relatively little has been focused on the relationship between this idea and the concept of Buddha-nature in Ikeda’s philosophy. This paper aims to argue that there is a structural similarity between these two ideas. Namely, that both affirm immanence in opposition to transcendence. In the first section, we will examine how Deleuze constructed an immanent ontology by drawing from conceptual resources provided by philosophers such as Scotus, Spinoza and Nietzsche. In the second section, we will examine how Ikeda’s idea of Buddha-nature is informed by a line of thinking that is centred around Nichiren, Saichō and Zhiyi’s idea of Buddha-nature in Mahāyāna Buddhism. Towards this aim, we will refer to a number of passages in Deleuze’s Difference and Repetition and Ikeda’s philosophical writings.
The Smooth and Striated Spaces of Hiroshige
Author : Mark Donoghue
Keywords : territory, striated, smooth, space, Japan, art
The following paper examines the pictorial space in the work of the Japanese print artist Utagawa Hiroshige (1797-1858) with regard to the concepts of territory, and striated and smooth space in Deleuze and Guattari’s A Thousand Plateaus. Hiroshige is one of Japan’s best known artists, and I believe his enduring appeal lies in part with his dynamic and exciting compositions. It is the depiction space in Hiroshige’s compositions, in particular images from the “One Hundred Views of Edo” series, that is examined here. The notion of pictorial space as a territory generated out of a particular artistic milieu is suggested as a means of examining Hiroshige’s work. These compositions are indebted to various techniques for depicting space rooted in different milieus of art practice. These techniques are broadly categorized as the “floating field,” “axonometric projection” and “linear perspective.” Each technique is a striation or ordering of space according to a unifying principle. Hiroshige is able to combine these techniques, but when used in combination they are irreconcilable and do not create a holistic pictorial space. I contend that this fractures the striation of space in the image and reveals the smooth surface space that underpins the image’s construction. The tension this creates in the image ensures our engagement with the work as we are constantly drawn into a tangible pictorial space only for it to shatter and reform again. I am suggesting it is this form of anamorphism that lies at the heart of Hiroshige’s compositional dynamism and contributes to his enduring appeal.
Creative Immanence, Affects and Cetacean Imagination: A Deleuzian Reading of Hung-Chi Liao’s Ocean Writing
Author : Emily Shu-hui Tsai
Keywords : Deleuze, Hung-Chi Liao, immanence, affect, cetaceans, becoming
In this short paper, I attempt to use Deleuzian theories to interpret a series of poetic prose pieces on whales and dolphins by the famous Taiwanese writer and fisherman, Hung-Chi Liao. The idea of immanence is important throughout the whole Deleuzian philosophical enterprise. In What Is Philosophy?, Deleuze explains that concepts are events and the plane of immanence is the reservoir of conceptual events that give rise to the image of thought. In other words, the plane of immanence is the absolute ground of philosophy where concepts are created and thus indicates a possibility of virtual creativity. From this perspective, when we read Liao’s remarkably poetic prose pieces on whales and dolphins, we feel that his alternative form of contact with the ocean is an event, a crucial moment of deterritorialization that has brought him to “actualize” his creative immanence. In his thirties, after a traumatic event that forced him to break away from the land, the ocean as a line of flight became Liao’s “rhizomatic territory” to create a new life. Whales and dolphins are intelligent marine mammals and his contact with them seems to have indirectly triggered the creative force of the immanence in him. The ocean imagination has invited him to dive into “a line of becoming.” As Deleuze has argued in A Thousand Plateaus that every becoming is an involution, not an imitation, Liao’s ocean writing on becoming dolphins and whales has brought him to a new identity—a very successful writer with a deep connection to the ocean.
Autopoiesis in P. K. Page’s “Arras”: The Peacock Image as a Vision Machine
Author : Min-hsiou Hung
Keywords : autopoiesis, machine, imagery, Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, “Arras”
This essay explores Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari’s concept of autopoiesis, primarily focusing on its machinic aspect of self-positing creation, through a reading of Canadian modernist P. K. Page’s early poem “Arras.” The poem reveals itself as an artistic model for understanding visual imagery as it takes up the ecological theme of the transformative renewal of living elements. Rather than interpret Page’s poetic imagery as allegories of the conceptual terms theorized by Deleuze and Guattari, this essay reads “Arras” as envisioning the process of imagerization in terms of the relationship between the new and the classical—a relationship embodied in its images of the habit and the peacock. The self-positing aspect of autopoiesis builds a machinic system in the habit-image, which unfolds across a passage between territorialization and deterritorialization and in all directions across ethico-political concerns. The poem illustrates what the plane of the virtual expresses, what the machine does, and specifically what the peacock becomes. The peacock image functions to expose the speaker’s vision and transforms the poem’s linguistic elements. Whereas this new but classical habit is read to indicate the function of the machinic, the peacock exposes the image quality that operates as the deterritorializing trajectory and so reveals an auto-generative relevance in artistic production.
Deleuze’s Ethology: Plane of Immanence and the Impersonal
Author : Shih-Chian Hung
Keywords : body without organs, plane of immanence, impersonal, ethology, becoming
This paper seeks to address the Deleuzian theory of ecology by exploring Gilles Deleuze’s ethological concepts of the “plane of immanence” and the “impersonal” which are based on Deleuze’s “body without organs” model. In so doing, this paper attempts to explain that ecology is not merely concerned with the protection of other species, nor is it about conservation techniques. Instead, it is an ethic that concerns the duration of life and therefore, according to Deleuze, ecology belongs neither to the realm of ecology nor ethics, but rather to ethology, which contains both. Thus it is necessary to first gain a thorough understanding of Deuluze’s ethological principles in order to further explore his theories on ecology. The body without organs, creative as it is, subverts ecological concepts, demonstrating a derealizing thinking. This is precisely Deleuze’s philosophical task, and so he posits, “Is not the great work on the body without organs just the ethics?” Here, he reveals a direction towards which one must strive: to make oneself become the body without organs, i.e., an inner exploration and external experience of life, which renders the self and the world both immanent and transcendent. He emphasizes that the world’s true nature is to become a world without rules, rather than the actual and striated world as it is now. This does not suggest that the world is nihilistic and chaotic, but that the world is breaking out of the rules that constrain it to further express itself. By doing so, the world is becoming an infinite singularity. Deleuze’s concept of the plane of immanence, teeming with difference and singularity, is the world as it is. Hence, he contends that the radical meaning of the body without organs as a becoming-animal is the realizing potential, ensuring the possibility of the self and the world to be constantly becoming and actualizing.
Bosom Friends in the Red Chamber: Women’s Friendship Poetry in Late Imperial China
Author : Haihong Yang
Keywords : friendship, femininity, subjectivity, late imperial China, lyric poetry
Friendship is gendered in literati discourse in dynastic China. In contrast to the large repertoire of stories, poems, and plays about male friendship, depictions of female friendship are scarce in classical male-authored Chinese literature. The silence on the subject of women’s friendship in literati tradition was loudly contradicted in gentry women’s poetry. In this article, I examine lyric poems on friendship exchanged between gentry women writers in China from the seventeenth to mid-nineteenth centuries. I propose a reading of these poetic writings as a sub-genre of friendship poetry and argue that women writers used this poetic venue to consolidate mutual interests with like-minded writers, to achieve imaginative selfrealization, to revise definitions of femininity, and to create and develop a distinct female literary tradition.
Review of Ecocritical Shakespeare: Reading Ecophobia by Simon C. Estok
Author : Iris Ralph
Keywords :