History Undone: Towards a Deleuzo-Guattarian Philosophy of History [Book Review]

Deleuze Studies 2 (1):109-119 (2008)
Abstract
For those familiar with the work of Deleuze, and Deleuze and Guattari, it might at first seem unwise to pursue a Deleuze and Guattarian philosophy of history. After all, is it not Deleuze who, in an interview with Antonio Negri, argues that ‘What history grasps in an event is the way it’s actualized in particular circumstances; the event's becoming is beyond the scope of history'? (Deleuze 1995: 170). And more damningly, Deleuze adds, ‘History isn’t experimental, it's just the set of more or less negative preconditions that make it possible to experiment with something beyond history' (Deleuze 1995: 170). History, in short, is a starting point for experimental work, but it is precisely history ‘that one leaves behind in order to “become,” that is, to create something new’ (1995: 171). Similarly in A Thousand Plateaus, Deleuze and Guattari argue that ‘History is made by those who oppose history (not by those who insert themselves into it, or even reshape it)’ (Deleuze and Guattari 1987: 295). In the very first line of his book, Lampert recognizes the possible conclusion these citations might lead one to, namely, ‘Deleuze and Guattari’s philosophy of becoming seems at times opposed to the very idea of historical succession' (1); and yet, as Lampert adeptly demonstrates, it would be a mistake to conclude that opposing history to ‘create something new’, ‘something beyond history’, necessarily entails being hostile to history, to the ‘idea of historical succession’, and thus to a philosophy of history
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