The Philosophical Leftovers of Gilles Deleuze

cademics’ lives are seldom interesting,” Gilles Deleuze told Magazine Littéraire in 1988. The life of the mind is not without some amusement: Professors “travel, of course,” the French philosopher continued, “but they travel by hot air, by taking part in things like conferences and discussions, by talking, endlessly talking.” Deleuze was more reclusive than many in the cohort referred to, primarily in Anglo-American circles, as “French theory,” and in spite of considerable evidence to the contrary—25 books published during his lifetime, cited to this day by diverse scholarly blocs—he declined to call himself an intellectual, sincerely or not. Intellectuals, he believed, “have views on everything,” but he had “no stock of views to draw on.” “What I know,” he added, “I know only from something I’m actually working on, and if I come back to something a few years later, I have to learn everything all over again.”

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