4 Jan 2018

Terence Blake’s ‘Deleuze on Leibniz’s Mannerism: “Rude Airbrushing” Revealed’


by Corry Shores


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Terence Blake


Deleuze on Leibniz’s Mannerism: “Rude Airbrushing” Revealed


In this post Blake discovers a problem with the English translation of Deleuze’s The Fold, where there is an inconsistency between the terminology used in the body of the text with that of a footnote. There is:

an unfortunate inconsistency in the translation of two key words (“fond” and “manieres”) that are translated in the body of the text on page 61 as “basis” and “manners”, this is a perfectly valid interpretative choice, all the more so as it maintains the link with Deleuze’s attribution of “Mannerism” to Leibniz’s philosophy. The unfortunate part comes with the footnote where Deleuze justifies his analysis with a quotation from Leibniz’s NEW ESSAYS that gives a major conceptual place to the couple base-manners. Here the translator resorts to a perfectly good English translation by Remnant and Bennett, but does not seem to worry that they translate the same two words by “foundation” and “kinds”. Here the connection with the terms of Deleuze’s argument is, as Harman so nicely puts it, “rudely airbrushed”:

27. “The kinds and degrees of perfection vary up to infinity, but as regards the foundation of things. The foundations are everywhere the same; this is a fundamental maxim for me, which governs my whole philosophy. But if this philosophy is the simplest in resources it is also the richest in kinds [of effects],” Nouveaux Essais, IV, chap. 17, paragraph 16 [Remnant/Bennett, 490] (THE FOLD, p173).

I must add that I can see no reason why the translators (Bennett and Remnant) should add the qualification “of effects” in square brackets, as there is no trace of it in Leibniz’s French text consulted by Deleuze. Even if it is a justified option, its use here detracts even further from Deleuze’s argument.

(Terence Blake. Note, I have “rudely airbrushed” the parts regarding Graham Harmon’s comments on Deleuze. See the article for that context.)












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