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The literary clinic: Deleuze, criticism, and the politics of symptoms

Tynan, Aidan 2011. The literary clinic: Deleuze, criticism, and the politics of symptoms. PhD Thesis, Cardiff University.

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Abstract

This thesis presents a reconstruction of Deleuze's theory of literature as health. What I refer to throughout as the literary clinic relates to how Deleuze characterised literary practice in clinical terms as an engagement with both vital and semiotic processes. The fundamental intuition in this regard is that there is a way of conceiving health as a strength or vitality distinct from the organic and socio-linguistic categories which give to experience a liveable form. There is a form lessor unliveable element attending every instantiation of form, and this is what positions the question of the inorganic life of the body alongside issues relating to literary creativity and formal renewal. It is this simultaneous concern with living and semiotic processes that characterises literary criticism as a type of clinic: the pathological exceeds organic construction just as the author discovers a mode of enunciation beyond the terms of socio-linguistic convention. However, Deleuze's own writings on these issues are extremely disparate, and his conception of literature as health was never realised in a completed form in his work. The reconstruction presented here follows the literary clinic from its origins in Deleuze's early philosophical readings and tracks its course through some of the major turning points in his career, most notably his collaboration with Guattari. I argue that, despite its incompleteness, the literary clinic constitutes a coherent account of literary theory and practice, one which, furthermore, is responsive to the philosophical and political issues most salient to the Deleuzian corpus. My goal has been not only to provide an analysis of this neglected area of Deleuze studies, but also to open paths towards a properly Deleuzian critical practice.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Status: Unpublished
Schools: English, Communication and Philosophy
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN0080 Criticism
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 30 March 2016
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2017 05:51
URI: http://orca.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/54183

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