May 15, 2014

Philosophers' Kids Always Have The Nicest Inscribed Copies of Capitalist Critique


The French philosopher Gilles Deleuze published one of his most important books, Anti-Oedipus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia, written with the psychoanalyst Felix Guattari, in 1972. It includes a critique of Freud's Oedipus Complex and its related structures of psychoanalysis as useful tools for understanding human desire and consumption and the motivating forces of life.

Though they'd later have a big intellectual falling out, Deleuze had been recommended for his job by his colleague Michel Foucault, whose own work is addressed in Anti-Oedipus. When Deleuze got the family together to inscribe Foucault's copy, the kids drew some awesome scenes: Julien, then 10, showed a man fishing, with some whole cycle of life/evolution/reproduction thing going on right under his nose. Emilie, 8, drew women and children fleeing an erupting volcano. Deleuze who'd already signed the book, grabbed a marker and added a note to the drawings which seem like they could keep a psychoanalyst busy for months: "No, Oedipus does not exist."

At least it could generate a magazine article. In the Summer 2011 issue of Cabinet Magazine, prof. Ben Kafka [right?] and psychoanalyst Jamieson Webster used the drawings as the basis for some speculative analysis of the Deleuze family, the volcanic father, the persistence of the Oedipal paradigm, and the transgressive empowerment of being allowed to draw in a book.

Foucault's copy of Anti-Oedipus offered by Deleuze [universalestate via jd hastings]
No, Oedipus Does Not Exist [cabinetmagazine article, pdf, via]

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