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Gilles Deleuze: Essential Guides for Literary Studies (Routledge Critical Thinkers) [Paperback]

Claire Colebrook
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
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Book Description

6 Sep 2001 0415246342 978-0415246347
Why think? Not, according to Gilles Deleuze, in order to be clever, but because thinking transforms life. Why read literature? Not for pure entertainment, Deleuze tells us, but because literature can recreate the boundaries of life. With his emphasis on creation, the future and the enhancement of life, along with his crusade against 'common sense', Deleuze offers some of the most liberating, exhilarating ideas in twentieth-century thought. This book offers a way in to Deleuzean thought through such topics as:
* 'becoming'
* time and the flow of life
* the ethics of thinking
* 'major' and 'minor' literature
* difference and repetition
* desire, the image and ideology.
Written with literature students in mind, this is the ideal guide for students wishing to think differently about life and literature and in this way to create their own new readings of literary texts.

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Gilles Deleuze: Essential Guides for Literary Studies (Routledge Critical Thinkers) + The Cambridge Companion to Deleuze (Cambridge Companions to Philosophy)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 184 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge (6 Sep 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0415246342
  • ISBN-13: 978-0415246347
  • Product Dimensions: 1.4 x 12.8 x 19.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 164,556 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Review

"This is an excellent introduction to the writing and thinking of Gilles Deleuze. Claire Colebrook presents what are often complex ideas in an eminently readable manner. Not only are key Deleuzian tendencies explained and exemplified with rigour and clarity, but also Deleuze is set into an appropriately wide context which embraces philosophy, literature, film, politics, feminism and other related areas. Moreover, a skilful selection of signposts and pointers for further study is supplied."- Mary Bryden, University of Reading "This book is that rare thing, an introduction to the work of a complex thinker that actually does what it is supposed to do: it shows you how to use Deleuze's thought to do new things. Students will find this to be an excellent starting point."-Ian Buchanan, University of Tasmania "A remarkably lucid and insightful overview of the thought of Gilles Deleuze, especially successful in drawing out the implications of Deleuze's philosophy for literary analysis. Readers new to Deleuze will find in this volume a friendly and reliable guide."-Ronald Bogue, University of Georgia

About the Author

Claire Colebrook teaches English Literature at the University of Edinburgh. She is the author of New Literary Histories (1997) and Ethics and Representation (1999). She has also published on Derrida, Heidegger, Irigaray, Blake and Foucault.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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This chapter looks at how Deleuze defines philosophy in relation to art and science. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent, concise yet not simplified 23 Dec 2010
Format:Paperback
this is the best introduction to deleuze. best because it is readable staight off the page, doesn't presuppose any prior knowledge of deleuze and still manages to not simplify deleuze too much.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Gives you the basics 7 Dec 2010
Format:Paperback
this might open the door a crack for those with little familiarity with 20th century french philosophy but lacks a bit of contact with the Deleuzian style
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5.0 out of 5 stars Really useful for laying out the landscape 12 Jun 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I bought this book because I felt I needed an outside perspective after getting bogged down in Deleuze's own writings. Claire Colebrooke's explanations of the terms and concepts behind Deleuze's thought were clear and very helpful. The references to Deleuze's various writings were easy to follow and this book made them easier to navigate. A great starting point for students struggling with Deleuze or anyone wanting to lay the groundwork down before diving into the original texts in detail.
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Amazon.com: 4.9 out of 5 stars  7 reviews
43 of 44 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best Introduction to Deleuze 11 Mar 2002
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This is an extraodinary book: an astonishingly lucid and well-organized introduction to Deleuze's philosophical project. Most of the secondary literature on Deleuze is simply unhelpful, because it presumes that the reader already grasps Deleuze's tremendously difficult ontological project and terminology. Colebrook begins at the begining, taking the time to explain and define key terms (the virtual, singularity, intensity, affect, becoming, immanence, etc.) and offers rich illustrations of these concepts via literature and film. Indeed, it seems to me that Colebrook understands these terms and their relationships to one another much better than do most of Deleuze's interpreters, who often throw around these terms without either explaining them or seeming to understand them. Other books on Deleuze (e.g., Ronald Bogue's Deleuze and Guattari) proceed book-by-book through Deleuze's career. But Deleuze's thought does not develop chronologically. Rather, throughout his career, Deleuze deployed many of the same concepts in different contexts. Colebrook focuses on these key concepts, which should help the reader through almost any one of Deleuze's texts. There are certainly wonderful high-level explorations of Deleuze's work (e.g., Brian Massumi's User's Guide to Capitalism and Schizophrenia) and very helpful introductions to single works (e.g., Eugene Holland's Deleuze and Guattari's Anti-Oedipus). But this is surely the finest, most astute, accessible and concise introduction to Deleuze's basic philosophical view.
17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best Introduction to Deleuze 11 Mar 2002
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This is an extraodinary book: an astonishingly lucid and well-organized introduction to Deleuze's philosophical project. Most of the secondary literature on Deleuze is simply unhelpful, because it presumes that the reader already grasps Deleuze's tremendously difficult ontological project and terminology. Colebrook begins at the begining, taking the time to explain and define key terms (the virtual, singularity, intensity, affect, becoming, immanence, etc.) and offers rich illustrations of these concepts via literature and film. Indeed, it seems to me that Colebrook understands these terms and their relationships to one another much better than do most of Deleuze's interpreters, who often throw around these terms without either explaining them or seeming to understand them. Other books on Deleuze (e.g., Ronald Bogue's Deleuze and Guattari) proceed book-by-book through Deleuze's career. But Deleuze's thought does not develop chronologically. Rather, throughout his career, Deleuze deployed many of the same concepts in different contexts. Colebrook focuses on these key concepts, which should help the reader through almost any one of Deleuze's texts. There are certainly wonderful high-level explorations of Deleuze's work (e.g., Brian Massumi's User's Guide to Capitalism and Schizophrenia) and very helpful introductions to single works (e.g., Eugene Holland's Deleuze and Guattari's Anti-Oedipus). But this is surely the finest, most astute, accessible and concise introduction to Deleuze's basic philosophical view.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great help 3 Aug 2006
By J. Verheijen - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Colebrook's contibution to understanding Gilles Deleuze's thinking is especially of interest to anybody starting the study of Deleuze's and Guattari's philosophy. Their philosophy is very hard to grasp, if that is possible at all, by just starting with their original works. I am very greatful to Claire Colebrook and others for "lifting the lawn".
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lays a good foundation... 3 Feb 2012
By Brian C. - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I was hesitant about this book before I read it primarily for two reasons. The first was that I knew Claire Colebrook was largely interested in what might broadly be termed Gilles Deleuze's aesthetics (his theories of literature and film in particular) which is not the aspect of Deleuze that I am most interested in. I am a graduate student in philosophy and my interests are primarily ontological and metaphysical so I was worried that this text might not be terribly relevant to my interests. The second was that I have found it has often worked better for me when I am dealing with a difficult philosopher to simply dive right into the deep end and try to learn to swim that way rather than easing myself in through introductory texts. I have often found that the introductory texts do not make a whole lot of sense unless you have at least some experience reading the philosopher first hand.

In regard to my first concern I was pleasantly surprised by Claire Colebrook's book. She does spend a fair amount of time analyzing Deleuze's theories of literature and film, however, she also spends a great deal of time elucidating Deleuze the philosopher, and even her discussions of his theories of literature and film often had important philosophical implications and were interesting in their own right. I really thought the entire book was very interesting.

In regard to my second concern Claire Colebrook's book has transformed my philosophy to some degree. I have tried to learn Deleuze the hard way on my own in the past by simply diving into his texts and have never made much progress. I am now involved in a graduate seminar/independent study on Deleuze and I found Claire Colebrook's book to be extremely helpful in giving me some ground to stand on when approaching Deleuze's texts. There is still somewhat of an unbridgeable gap between reading an introductory text and reading a philosopher first hand. What I mean by that is simply that the introductory text still does not make reading Deleuze easy. To continue the swimming metaphor, an introductory book can bring you to the edge of the pool but it cannot walk you step by step into the deep end. Eventually you have to make the leap and it is still going to be a struggle. The book does a very good job summarizing the general thrust of Deleuze's philosophy but when it comes to the details and actually reading his texts it is still very difficult, even after having read this book, to untangle Deleuze's terminology. I thought the chapter on Deleuze and Guattari's late work What Is Philosophy? was especially good at giving a general idea of what Deleuze and Guattari were up to in the book but it still did not make reading the actual book easy, which is perhaps too much to ask of any book about Deleuze.

All in all I think this is probably the best introductory book on Deleuze around. I have tried others like Todd May's which I will be reading in the next couple of weeks and reviewing, and Ronald Bogue's which I have read sections of, and I thought over all that Claire Colebrook's book was quite a bit more accessible than the others I have tried. So if you are looking for a book that will give you some sense of what Deleuze is up to in his philosophy I would highly recommend this book. Just do not expect too much from it. Reading Deleuze is difficult and it probably always will be. Ultimately I still think there is going to have to come a time when you simply jump into the deep end and learn how to swim. But perhaps books like Claire Colebrook's can at least give you some idea of the kinds of motions you are going to have to make as you are trying to learn (the metaphor of learning to swim seems especially apt in this case since it is a metaphor Deleuze himself uses when he discusses the nature of learning).
5.0 out of 5 stars Still the best intro text to Deleuze (& Guattari) 7 May 2014
By Doc Adam - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
As a philosophy professor who teaches primarily undergrads, I frequently have students approach me with a desire to read authors such as Deleuze. Given the density of his writings, a secondary lit assist is nearly a necessity. I've recently read nearly every purported intro text on Deleuze again for a project of my own and Colebrook's text still stands out as the best place to start.
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