4 Mar 2018



by Corry Shores


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Terence Blake



(published 28-Feb-2018)


(published also on academia.edu:

https://www.academia.edu/35601180/ON_THE_INCIPIT_TO_ANTI-OEDIPUS )




Terence Blake does some very important close commentary and retranslation of the first lines of Deleuze’s Logic of Sense, at this post. Here is his translation, which I find quite useful and close to the original:

Alice and Through the Looking-Glass deal with a category of very special things: events, pure events. When I say “Alice grows,” I mean that she becomes bigger than she was. But by the same token too, she becomes smaller than she is now. Certainly, she is not bigger and smaller at the same time. But it is at the same time that she becomes both. She is bigger now; she was smaller before. But it is at the same time, in the same stroke, that one becomes bigger than one was and one is made smaller than one becomes. This is the simultaneity of a becoming whose characteristic is to elude the present (translation modified).

(Blake, “ON THE INCIPIT ”)


There are some subtle yet critical points he brings to light.


{1} As we see from the first sentence, Deleuze’s project here is “an investigation of categories, of logical grammar. In particular, it is an investigation into the grammar of events” (Blake, “ON THE INCIPIT ”).


{2} The use of “mais”/“but” forms paradoxical movements:

It is noteworthy that three of first seven sentences in the chapter begin with “but” (in French “mais”, in each case). In each case we have a common sense, doxic, affirmation not contradicted, but completed by and contrasted with a more paradoxical statement. The interplay between the two signals at the level of grammar that we are engaged in a series of paradoxes.

(Blake, “ON THE INCIPIT ”)


{3} Blake comments on the parts “en même temps, du même coup” in the line, “Mais c’est en même temps, du même coup, qu’on devient plus grand qu’on n’était, et qu’on se fait plus petit qu’on ne devient” (Blake’s translation: “But it is at the same time, in the same stroke, that one becomes bigger than one was and one is made smaller than one becomes”), especially with respect to the temporal aspects and the relation to moves in a game:

The expression “at the same time” seems to suggest something composite happening, when it is really a case of undetermined time, that of the event, Aion. Determined time, Chronos, is the time of the composite, of mixtures. Aion is the time of the pure event. So “at the same time” is a categorically ambiguous expression, between Chronos and Aion.

As Aion, Deleuze treats the expression “en même temps” as synonymous with “par là-même” (“by the same token”) and “du même coup”. One could translate this last as “in the same stroke”, but “coup” also evokes the “move” in a game (for example chess) and the “throw” of the dice. This second expression (“in the same stroke/move/throw” is omitted in the published translation).

By leaving this expression out the published translation blurs the distinction between chronological time (Chronos, time of composites) and evental time (Aion, time of the pure event, of pure becoming, of eluding the present) that is already being foreshadowed at the level of the vocabulary.

(Blake, “ON THE INCIPIT ”)






Blake, Terence. “ON THE INCIPIT TO DELEUZE’S LOGIC OF SENSE.” Web. Published 28-Feb-2018. Accessed 04-Mar-2018.







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