By Jean-Jacques Lecercle (auth.)
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Additional resources for Deleuze and Language
And it is central to Mille plateaux (Guattari does acknowledge that he wrote those essays in a period of dialogue with Deleuze; nevertheless, they are published under his sole name). We can even assess his difference with Deleuze, as the last section of the book is devoted to a reading of Proust, a strong reading, but one very different from Deleuze's own. 49 Briefly, his specific contribution may be described under four headings. The first, and most important, contribution is the foundation of a new pragmatics, at the centre of which lies a theory of assemblages (in other words, as we have seen, a pragmatics that avoids the methodological individualism of Anglo-Saxon speech-act theory).
This passage from single author to assemblage is a philosophical gesture in the spirit of 'Deleuze': a dual gesture, of position and of exclusion. It is a gesture of position. I wish to treat the totality of the Deleuzean oeuvre as a corpus, at the cost of somewhat reducing its heterogeneity. This reduction is imposed by my problem. Not all the books offer insights into the workings of language or into Deleuze's conception of them. So I prominently include works which he wrote on his own (from Logique du sens to Critique et clinique), and disregard others (his thesis on Spinoza, or his books on the cinema, which are at the centre of other readings of his philosophy43 ).
It begins with a dissatisfaction with traditional, or mainstream, linguistics (Chomsky is naturally a prime target): the science of language seeks to capture natural languages in its structures; fortunately, Guattari says, 'les langues fuient' 50 - the vessels are leaking, and languages blithely disregard the 'laws' that science seeks to impose upon them. He goes on to reject two of the central tenets of structuralist linguistics: the distinction between langue and parole (he would be comforted by the fact that the history of linguistics can be largely described in terms of a displacement of this 34 Deleuze and Language distinction: syntax was excluded from langue by Saussure, and is the centre of competence in Chomsky51 ); and the existence, if not of linguistic universals, at least of universal features in the scientific analysis of language (universal features which, for instance, will enable the analyst to tell a linguistic sequence from an instance of glossolalia: for Guattari, there is no separation, only transition, between the two).