Jacket Image

Enlarge Image

200 × 130 mm
160 pages
16 illustrations
01 May 2017
Critical Lives

Gilles Deleuze Frida Beckman

Gilles Deleuze, the person and philosopher, was both singular and multifaceted. Frida Beckman traces Deleuze’s remarkable intellectual journey, mapping the encounters from which his life and work emerged. She considers how his life and philosophical developments resonate with historical, political and philosophical events, from the Second World War to the student uprisings in the 1960s, the opening of the experimental University of Paris VIII and the Israeli–Palestinian conflict. Although less of a public figure than many of his contemporaries, Deleuze’s life and philosophy are bound up with his numerous friendships, collaborations and disputes with several of the period’s most influential thinkers, as well as his connections with writers, artists and film scholars.

Beckman considers the events, moods and intensities that were generated by this multiplicity of encounters throughout his life. The book follows Deleuze from the salons to which he was invited as a young student through his popularity as a young teacher to the development of the rich phases of his philosophical work. While resisting the idea of ‘Deleuzians’, the book also reviews a post-Deleuzian legacy and the influence of this extraordinary thinker on contemporary philosophy.

‘truly remarkable . . . It is fortunate for us that . . . Beckman decided to pursue her project, for what has emerged from this effort is a truly Deleuzian “Life and Thought of Deleuze.” With great intelligence, sensitivity and creativity, Beckman has “thought with” Deleuze, made an offer of posthumous friendship, and celebrated the anexact life that passed through the human being named Deleuze and that continues to play through the works he created. It is hard to imagine a finer tribute to this philosopher than the graceful and moving critical biography Beckman has given us.’ – American Book Review

‘With remarkable deftness, the book conveys the importance of concepts such as becoming, difference and repetition, anti-Hegelianism, ontology without transcendence, the fold, and the disruption of common-sense conceptions of representation and identity, whilst placing these themes in the context of Deleuze’s life. The book deals particularly well with the themes of love and friendship as dynamics of “joint becoming”.’ – John Marks, French Studies

‘At only 158 pages, Frida Beckman’s new biography of Gilles Deleuze is a strikingly slim volume. It is no less compelling for that, making up with intensive depth what it lacks in extensive breadth . . . Beckman’s study aims for such critical [and reflexive] engagement, taking the facts of Deleuze’s life and his concepts as materials for thought . . . Beckman’s Gilles Deleuze is of interest to newcomers to Deleuze precisely because it doubles as an introduction to many of Deleuze’s fundamental concepts . . . Beckman’s book is an utterance (énoncé) of the Deleuze-machine – that is, of a life. One should bear witness to it.’ – Modern Language Review

‘In the crowded market of books on Gilles Deleuze, Frida Beckman’s biography of Deleuze is remarkable for its diligent and thorough account of the author’s prodigiously creative life in and with philosophy. Beckman focuses on a precise group of facets – childhood, apprenticeship, friendship, practice and life – as a means of understanding the multiple assemblages that constitute Deleuze’s work in relation to a life. For although it is the work that counted most for Deleuze, Beckman draws from a stunning array of primary and secondary texts, interviews, and letters to offer a skillful and faithful study accessible to new readers of Deleuze, yet valuable for the Deleuzean connoisseur.’ – Charles W Stivale, Distinguished Professor of French at Wayne State University

‘Gilles Deleuze is now recognized to be among the most important French philosophers of the 20th Century. His desire for privacy and his critique of the individual subject present particular difficulties for the biographer, however.  Frida Beckman masters these difficulties admirably.  Drawing upon a wide range of critical discussions of Deleuze’s work as well as the recently published edition of Deleuze’s Lettres et Autres Textes, Beckman skillfully weaves together a narrative that moves between Deleuze’s life and what he called “a life.”  Along the way, many of Deleuze’s most important concepts are clarified and critically analyzed in a way that will make this “Critical Life” both a valuable resource for scholars and an excellent introduction to his life and work.’ – Alan D. Schrift, F. Wendell Miller Professor of Philosophy, Grinnell College

Show all

Frida Beckman is Professor in Comparative Literature at the Department of Culture and Aesthetics, Stockholm University, Sweden.. She is the author of Culture Control Critique: Allegories of Reading the Present (2016) and Between Desire and Pleasure: A Deleuzian Theory of Sexuality (2013) and editor of Deleuze and Sex (2011).