Dosse on Deleuze and Guattari

Francois Dosse, author of Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari: Intersecting Lives, has been touring the country discussing the book. To packed houses at NYU, Columbia, and Harvard, Dosse has been discussing the somewhat unlikely partnership that had a profound effect on post-1968 thinking. (Dosse will also be in Baltimore, Alabama, and California over the next few days to discuss the book.) For our French-speaking readers, below is a video of Dosse discussing the book:

For those who don’t speak French, here is a brief excerpt from the Introduction describing the nature of their collaboration. (The Introduction also discusses how the two found each other and how each served an important intellectual function for the other.)

The two men created a veritable laboratory for testing their ideas, thanks to the transversal nature of their work. Guattari’s contribution to Deleuze was above all a breath of fresh air in a rarefied universe. “You felt that he rejoiced in his meetings with Félix. They seemed happy to be meeting, although they didn’t see each other much because they knew how delicate human relations can be.”

The differences in their personalities produced a two-speed machine: “Our rhythms were always different. Félix complained that I didn’t respond to his letters, but I could not answer immediately; it took me one or two months, by which time Félix had already moved on.” By contrast, however, when they worked together, each would force the other into taking firm positions, and this would go on until both fighters were exhausted and the idea they were discussing and arguing about had taken off; something like a “setting” or foundation for the idea arose from their work of proliferation and dissemination: “I considered that Félix had real insights, whereas I was a kind of lightning rod stuck in the ground so that the idea could take a different shape, and then Félix corrected it, etc. That’s how our work developed.”

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