Deleuze and Art by Anne Sauvagnargues

By Anne Sauvagnargues

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Writing, as a positive experience, plays a role in exposing the human psyche, which is in direct competition with its medical etiology. It allows philosophy to depend upon it in order to reject psychiatric nosology and psychoanalytic theory. The writings devoted to Sacher-Masoch from 1961–93 open up a reading that follows from this primary function of art as a critical symptomatology of the clinical force of time, and it situates Deleuze within the relationship between literature and treatment.

36 That is why symptomatology, which is ethical and not moral, is indifferent to social judgments. Creative literature is strongly ethical because it is situated on the plane of force relations and disregards stabilized social forms. As such, the ethical, or the ethology of force relations, replaces the moral. In the essay, “To Have Done with Judgment,” from Essays Critical and Clinical, Deleuze offers a new look at the decisive role Spinoza plays with regard to Nietzsche, Lawrence, Kafka, and Artaud: one philosopher, three writers.

As such, Kafka, whose writing explores modes of collective social subjectification in bureaucracy, evokes joy and laughter through a playful and always joyful exploration of reality, and not through the atrocious complexes of forces that he expresses. Art only accomplishes its critical function of liberation by keeping itself strictly within the plane of composition of effective force relations. This is how symptomatology helps construct the first formulation of the theory in 1981: art is the capture of forces.

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