18 Jul 2016

Deleuze (Preface) The Logic of Sense, “Preface: From Lewis Carroll to the Stoics,” summary

 

by Corry Shores

 

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[The following is summary. Bracketed commentary and boldface are my own. Please excuse my typos, as proofreading is incomplete. Citation pagination is given in this manner for the following editions:

(1969 French/1990 English/2004 English)

English block quotations give pages as:

(1990 English/2004 English)

]

 

 

Summary of

 

Gilles Deleuze

 

The Logic of Sense

Logique du sens

 

Preface: From Lewis Carroll to the Stoics

Avant-propos (de Lewis Carroll aux stoïciens)

 

 

Brief Summary:

This book will explore the way language and the unconscious are married in the works of Lewis Carroll. This is for the sake of the book’s main purpose, which is to give a theory of sense. But sense has a paradoxical constitution, given that sense somehow both exists and does not exist, and also sense is inextricably bound up with non-sense. For this reason, Deleuze will present his theory of sense through a series of paradoxes that will help elaborate on the paradoxical nature of sense itself. Carroll plays a significant role in this effort, because he was the first to give a substantial account of the paradoxes of sense. We will also discuss the Stoics’ new image of thought, because it is “closely linked to the paradoxical constitution of the theory of sense.” Regarding the book’s structure, each part has points connecting to those in other parts, making a “convoluted story”. The appendices will develop a number of points in the main part of the book, and they were previously published as articles.

 

 

Summary

 

§1

[Lewis Carroll’s works marry language and the unconscious, and we will explore that marriage.]

 

Lewis Carroll’s works can delight the modern reader, since included among them are books for children (especially for little girls), bizarre and esoteric words, grids, codes, drawings, photographs, psychoanalytic content, and logical and linguistic formalism. In addition to these delightful elements is “a play of sense and nonsense, a chaos-cosmos” (7/12/ix). Deleuze will examine the marriage of language and the unconscious in Carroll’s work, asking what else is it connected with and what does it celebrate? (7/12/ix).

 

L’œuvre de Lewis Carroll a tout pour plaire au lecteur actuel : des livres pour enfants, de préférence pour petites filles ; des mots splendides insolites, ésotériques ; des grilles, des codes et décodages ; des dessins et photos ; un contenu psychanalytique profond, un formalisme logique et linguistique exemplaire. Et par delà le plaisir actuel quelque chose d’autre, un jeu du sens et du non-sens, un chaos-cosmos. Mais les noces du langage et de l’inconscient furent déjà nouées et célébrées de tant de manières qu’il faut chercher ce qu’elles furent précisément chez Lewis Carroll, avec quoi elles ont renoué et ce qu'elles ont célébré chez lui, grâce à lui.

(7)

 

The work of Lewis Carroll has everything required to please the modern reader: children’s books or, rather, books for little girls; splendidly bizarre and esoteric words; grids; codes and decodings; drawings and photographs; a profound psychoanalytic content; and an exemplary logical and linguistic formalism. Over and above the immediate pleasure, though, there is something else, a play of sense and nonsense, a chaos-cosmos. But since the marriage of language and the unconscious has already been consummated and celebrated in so many ways, it is necessary to examine the precise nature of this union in Carroll’s work: what else is this marriage connected with, and what is it that, thanks to him, this marriage celebrates?

(12/ix)

 

 

§2

[Lewis Carroll is given so much attention in this book, because his is the first to give a substantial account of the paradoxes of sense. The Stoics are important too because they as well develop a philosophy linked to the paradoxical constitution of the theory of sense. The book is structured such that its parts are thoroughly interconnected in a non-linear, complex way.]

 

Deleuze will present his exposition of Lewis Carroll’s work in terms of its marriage of language and the unconscious by means of a series of paradoxes that he will discuss. This series itself will form a theory of sense. But why is a theory of sense inseparable from paradoxes? The reason is because sense is a non-existing entity and also it bears relations to non-sense. [It is not clear at this point still what the connection is between sense and paradox. It could be that sense itself is a paradoxical thing, as it both exists and does not exist, or that it is bound up inextricably with non-sense. And therefore it would only be by means of paradoxical things that we can understand this paradoxical constitution of sense. Or the idea might be that given its non-existence and its relation to non-sense, it must for some reason be grasped through the different sorts of paradoxes that illustrate or exhibit sense.] Carroll is of particular interest in this regard because he is the first to have given a substantial account of the paradoxes of sense. Deleuze will also discuss the Stoics, because they invented a new image of thought breaking from that of the Pre-Socratics and Platonists, and this image of thought is “closely linked to the paradoxical constitution of the theory of sense.” Deleuze then seems to comment on the structure of the book. Each part has points connecting to those in other parts, making a “convoluted story”.

Nous présentons des séries de paradoxes qui forment la théorie du sens. Que cette théorie ne soit pas séparable de paradoxes s’explique facilement : le sens est une entité non existante, il a même avec le non-sens des rapports très particuliers. La place privilégiée de Lewis Carroll vient de ce qu'il fait le premier grand compte, la première grande mise en scène des paradoxes du sens, tantôt les recueillant, tantôt les renouvelant, tantôt les inventant, tantôt les préparant. La place privilégiée des Stoïciens vient de ce qu’ils furent initiateurs d'une nouvelle image du philosophe, en rupture avec les présocratiques, avec le socratisme et le platonisme ; et cette nouvelle image est déjà étroitement liée à la constitution paradoxale de la théorie du sens. A chaque série correspondent donc des figures qui sont non seulement historiques, mais topiques et logiques. Comme sur une surface pure, certains points de telle figure dans une série renvoient à d’autres points de telle autre : l’ensemble des constellations-problèmes avec les coups de dés correspondants, les histoires et les lieux, un lieu complexe, une « histoire embrouillée » — ce livre est un essai de roman logique et psychanalytique.

(7)

 

We present here a series of paradoxes which form the theory of sense. It is easy to explain why this theory is inseparable from paradoxes: sense is a nonexisting entity, and, in fact, maintains very special relations with nonsense. The privileged place assigned to Lewis Carroll is due to his having provided the first great account, the first great mise en scene of the paradoxes of sense – sometimes collecting, sometimes renewing, sometimes inventing, and sometimes preparing them. The privileged place assigned to the Stoics is due to their having been the initiators of a new image of the philosopher which broke away from the | pre-Socratics, Socratic philosophy, and Platonism. This new image is already closely linked to the paradoxical constitution of the theory of sense. Thus to each series there correspond figures which are not only historical but || topological and logical as well. As on a pure surface, certain points of one figure in a series refer to the points of another figure: an entire galaxy of problems with their corresponding dicethrows, stories, and places, a complex place; a “convoluted story.” This book is an attempt to develop a logical and psychological novel.

(12|13 / ix||x)

 

 

§3

[The appendices will further develop ideas in the book, and they were published already as articles.]

 

Deleuze then notes that the appendixes, which further develop ideas in the book, were printed elsewhere, and he lists the original places of publication and then thanks the editors for their permission to reprint them.

 

Nous présentons en appendice cinq articles déjà parus. Nous les reprenons en les modifiant, mais le thème demeure, et développe certains points qui ne sont que brièvement indiqués dans les séries précédentes (nous marquons chaque fois le lien par une note). Ce sont : 1°) « Renverser le platonisme », Revue de métaphysique et de morale, 1967, 2°) « Lucrèce et le naturalisme », Etudes philosophiques, 1961 ; 3°) « Klossowski et les corps-langage », Critique, 1965 ; 4°) « Une théorie d'autrui » (Michel Tournier), Critique, 1967 ; 5°) « Introduction à la Bête humaine de Zola », Cercle précieux du livre, 1967. Nous remercions les éditeurs qui ont bien voulu autoriser cette reproduction.

(8)

 

In the appendixes we present five articles which have already been published. While reprinted here in modified form, their theme remains unchanged and develops certain points which are but briefly touched on in the preceding series (each connection being indicated by means of a note). The articles are: 1) “Reversing Platonism,” Revue de Metaphysique et de Morale, 1967; 2) “Lucretius and Naturalism,” Etudes Philosophiques, 1961; 3) “Klossowski and Bodies-Language,” Critique, 1965”; 4) “A Theory of the Other” (Michel Tournier), Critique, 1967; s-) “Introduction to Zola's La Bete humaine,” Cercle Precieux du Livre, 1967. We wish to thank the editors for having authorized their reproduction.

(13 / x)

 

 

Deleuze, Gilles. Logique du sens. Paris: Les éditions de minuit, 1969.

 

Deleuze, Gilles. The Logic of Sense. Translated by Mark Lester and Charles Stivale. Edited by Constantin Boundas. New York: Columbia University Press, 1990.

 

Deleuze, Gilles. The Logic of Sense. Translated by Mark Lester and Charles Stivale. Edited by Constantin Boundas. London / New York: Continuum 2004 [first published in English: Columbia University Press, 1990].

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