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By Anne Sauvagnargues

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It is no longer a question of signifier or signified, nor form or matter, but forces and materials, in accordance with Simondon’s principle of modulation. The only things that count in art are the materials capable of detecting forces that become more and more intense and affects that emit these configurations, “percepts” or “visions” of art. Since the affect designates this ethological mode of power that corresponds to such a state of forces, or images, we can define art as the affect of an image and suggest three trajectories that converge in this definition: Nietzsche and the will to power; Spinoza, haecceity, a new cartography of bodies; the material image in the process of subjectification, as seen in his fantastic analyses of cinema.

This third issue explains why Deleuze takes such pains to distinguish Masoch from Sade. It is not at all a question of clearing Masoch’s name for his own benefit in order to show that his advances would have already been in effect for Sade. Deleuze completely transforms the problem by modifying the relationship between desire and the law, and the relationship Critical and Clinical 31 between writing and desire. By precluding the conflation of Masoch and Sade, Coldness and Cruelty implicitly contains a critique of transgression that calls for a radical reevaluation of psychoanalysis, and the role of the law and the Father.

Without going too far afield in a debate with psychoanalysis, let us focus on method: in 1967, Deleuze advances on the frontlines of psychiatry and psychoanalysis armed solely with literary analysis. Deleuze employs a literary technique and reveals the clinical differences that enable him to affirm the irreducible specificity of the two symptoms. He then sketches a principle that proposes literary analysis as a methodological complement to the psychiatric clinic, since he considers literature to be descriptive and not normative.

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Deleuze and Art by Anne Sauvagnargues

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