On Authors

How might one imagine the great auteurs in a de-centered, dislocated, deterritorialized space? Might one still image that auteur as, indeed, great? Or does this auteurs position melt back into the deserted horizon of discourse?

Deleuze spent much of his career writing about the ideas of Spinoza, Nietzsche, and Bergson. In many ways these spaces of discourse re-present the works of these thinkers as being profoundly connected with Deleuze’s own beliefs on ontology. All of these author’s influence the notions of process, motion, and difference within Deleuze’s work; and most importantly these philosophers bring about new ways to present a radical shift in the description of reality and being.

Todd May points out that Deleuze references these philosophers to be the “Christ, Father, and Holy Ghost” of philosophers (May 26; 2005).  It is in this sense that Deleuze re-appropriates this transcendental idol-ness of philosophy, by merging the ontological remarks of living (dead) figures with a philosophy of immanence. A philosophy that goes beyond identity and any sense of being (process or otherwise) shakes itself of reality and substitutes that reality for a disconnected or static self. An immanent space of connection re-affirms relationships of difference.

Within the discourse of authors, it may be common to quickly latch the –ity to the end of author (authority), in order to make romantic views of life and democracy after history. To go this far is to take away the interwoven details of author as process (in this sense, Kafka’s work are a wonderful example) and the form/content of a work as indicative of difference.  The wide variety of discourses within this sphere are philosophies that build relations rather than negate relations, which is one major reason to see Deleuze’s philosophy as taking de-construction one step further in shaping a new ontological philosophy.

Perhaps this discourse around the layered notions of process and relation is best utilized in the works of Walter Benjamin. Benjamin on many occasions spoke about Bertolt Brecht, “In this vein Brecht takes the life of Galileo as the subject of his latest play. Brecht presents Galileo primarily as a great teacher who not only teaches a new physics, but does so in a new way. In his hands, experiments are not only an achievement of science, but a tool of pedagogy as well” (Illuminations 148). Here we imagine the author not as the authority, but as one who moves a subject-matter. And this is what a philosophy of pedagogy and democracy looks at: how does a thing move, rather than seeing pedagogy as a static location of repeating sameness.  In Benjaminian terms, the aura and authenticity of works of art cannot be easily attributed in the same way to the aura and authenticity of the author, but these concepts of movement, change and ontology can be help in building upon Benjamin’s philosophy. As every sprout of a new concept brings about a change in its origins, so too does the author become affected by the work that is also in motion.

~Jay Bowe

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