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Gilles Deleuze

Although less of a public figure than many of his contemporaries, philosopher Gilles Deleuze was an important leader of twentieth-century thought. His life and philosophy were bound up in numerous friendships, collaborations, and disputes with several of the period’s most influential thinkers—not to mention writers, artists, and filmmakers. In this book, Frida Beckman traces Deleuze’s remarkable intellectual journey, mapping the many rich encounters from which his life and work emerged.

Beckman follows Deleuze from the salons of his early student years through his popularity as a young teacher to the extraordinarily productive phases of his philosophical work. She examines his life at the experimental University of Paris VIII and his friendships with people like Michel Foucault and Félix Guattari, and she considers how Deleuze’s philosophical developments resonate with historical, political, and philosophical events from World War II to the student uprisings in the 1960s to the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. Beckman ultimately highlights the ways that Deleuze’s legacy has influenced many branches of contemporary philosophy, offering a rich portrait of a contemporary philosopher who wrestled with some of philosophy’s most fundamental questions in fresh and necessary ways. 

224 pages | 35 halftones | 5 x 7 3/4 | © 2017

Critical Lives

Biography and Letters


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Reviews

"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, 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. . . . 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

"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

“Beckman draws from a stunning array of primary and secondary texts, interviews, and letters to offer a skillful and faithful study.”

Charles W. Stivale, Wayne State University

“Skillfully weaves together a narrative that moves between Deleuze’s life and what he called ‘a life.’ Along the way, many of Deleuzes’ most important concepts are clarified and critically analyzed in a way that will make this entry in the Critical Lives series both a valuable resource for scholars and an excellent introduction to his life and work.”

Alan D. Schift, Grinnell College

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