Translated and with an Introduction by Daniel W. Smith
Afterword by Tom Conley
Gilles Deleuze had several paintings by Francis Bacon hanging in his Paris apartment, and the painter’s method and style as well as his motifs of seriality, difference, and repetition influenced Deleuze’s work. This first English translation shows us one of the most original and important French philosophers of the twentieth century in intimate confrontation with one of that century’s most original and important painters.
In considering Bacon, Deleuze offers implicit and explicit insights into the origins and development of his own philosophical and aesthetic ideas, ideas that represent a turning point in his intellectual trajectory. First published in French in 1981, Francis Bacon has come to be recognized as one of Deleuze’s most significant texts in aesthetics. Anticipating his work on cinema, the baroque, and literary criticism, the book can be read not only as a study of Bacon’s paintings but also as a crucial text within Deleuze’s broader philosophy of art.
In it, Deleuze creates a series of philosophical concepts, each of which relates to a particular aspect of Bacon’s paintings but at the same time finds a place in the “general logic of sensation.” Illuminating Bacon’s paintings, the nonrational logic of sensation, and the act of painting itself, this work—presented in lucid and nuanced translation—also points beyond painting toward connections with other arts such as music, cinema, and literature. Francis Bacon is an indispensable entry point into the conceptual proliferation of Deleuze’s philosophy as a whole.
Gilles Deleuze (1925–1995) was professor of philosophy at the University of Paris, Vincennes–St. Denis. He coauthored Anti-Oedipus and A Thousand Plateaus with Félix Guattari. These works, as well as Cinema 1, Cinema 2, The Fold, Proust and Signs, and others, are published in English by Minnesota.
Daniel W. Smith teaches in the Department of Philosophy at Purdue University.
In this classic of critical thought, Deleuze and Guattari challenge conventional interpretations of Kafka’s work. Instead of exploring preexisting categories or literary genres, they propose a concept of “minor literature”—the use of a major language that subverts it from within. Writing as a Jew in Prague, they contend, Kafka made German “take flight on a line of escape” and joyfully became a stranger within it. His work therefore serves as a model for understanding all critical language that must operate within the confines of the dominant language and culture.
A Thousand Plateaus continues the work Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari began in Anti-Oedipus and has now become established as one of the classic studies of the development of critical theory in the late twentieth century. It occupies an important place at the center of the debate reassessing the works of Freud and Marx, advancing an approach that is neither Freudian nor Marxist but which learns from both to find an entirely new and radical path. It presents an attempt to pioneer a variety of social and psychological analyses free of the philosophical encumbrances criticized by postmodern writers. A Thousand Plateaus is an essential text for feminists, literary theorists, social scientists, philosophers, and others interested in the problems of contemporary Western culture.