Gilles Deleuze

Marcia Landy

in Cinema and Media Studies

ISBN: 9780199791286
Published online October 2011 | | DOI:
Gilles Deleuze

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This article covers both the philosophy of Gilles Deleuze (b. 1925–d. 1995) and his influential writings on media. Since the 1970s, the works of Deleuze—both those he wrote alone and those he wrote with Félix Guattari (b. 1930)—have become increasingly important for rethinking connections among philosophy, science, the arts, and cinema. Specifically, Deleuze’s texts on cinema, along with certain philosophic and cultural concepts, have caught the imagination of an increasing number of scholars and have had an impact on the scholarship of cinema and media studies. Deleuze and Guattari’s initial writings in Anti-Oedipus and A Thousand Plateaus are a radical critique of Freudian psychoanalysis and of cultural and social organization. Their objective, to undermine the links between capitalism and schizophrenia, involved crisscrossing the history of philosophy, biology, anthropology, geology, biology, advanced calculus, topology, and esthetics to perform a dazzling and encyclopedic critique of disciplinary thinking and practices to liberate the subject from the political constraints of sexual, gendered, familial, and other institutionalized forms of control. They offer a philosophy of desire that overturns classical conceptions of thought and practice by substituting for them a more dynamic conception of connections between the body and social existence. In Deleuze’s singly authored texts, he enlarged on his and Guattari’s concerns for elaborating a philosophy of difference negated through canonical philosophic thinking but evident in thinkers such as Hume, Spinoza, Leibniz, Bergson, and Nietzsche. Deleuze’s writings on philosophers reveal how he was consistently evolving concepts of movement and time, virtual and actual space, the corporeal and the incorporeal, language, the virtual and the real, affect and action, and memory and history, all aimed toward creating an ethic for thinking productively about becoming, and for belief in the world. In keeping with his ongoing search for an aesthetics of sensation, his own writings and those with Guattari invoke literature, drama, and painting (Antonin Artaud, Lewis Carroll, Proust, Beckett, Kafka, De Sade, and Sacher Masoch, and the paintings of Francis Bacon) and have opened onto new considerations of the arts, drastically reconfiguring conceptions of visual, gestural, and gendered forms of language and bodily sensation that have become important to media scholars. Most significantly, Deleuze’s writings on cinema have generated numerous studies on media and its history, technology, and reception; different perceptions of space and time; perceptions of sexuality and gender; the nature and role of affect; transformations from early cinema; the post–World War II era; and signs of the potential of “new media” to make thinking through the body possible in the electronic age.

Article.  13709 words. 

Subjects: Media Studies ; Film ; Radio ; Television

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