A collection of eleven short texts introduces the reader to the philosophy and political and social theories of Gilles Deleuze.
In the interview We Have Invented the Ritournelle, Deleuze describes his philosophy as “creating concepts.” Other texts in this collection expand on this idea and on other concepts that recur in his writings, such as “institute,” “event,” “leaks,” “collective subjectivity,” and “transfiguration.”
In May 68 Did Not Take Place, written over a decade after the historic events in Paris, Deleuze argues that they did not lead to a major transformation of society, which failed to create collective agencies of enunciation (“agencements”) to match the new subjectivity. The children of May 1968 became a lost generation that could not continue the struggle, yet did not fit into the system of the labour market.
He Was My Teacher is an homage to Sartre, an intellectual who, according to Deleuze, gave up the representative standpoint (speaking in somebody’s name) for a visionary one (predicting important changes and discussing them). Two essays in the collection—Desire and Pleasure and Foucault and Prisons—consider the work of another visionary philosopher, Deleuze’s contemporary and friend Michel Foucault.
In On the New Philosophers, Deleuze criticizes the surrender of philosophical thought to the media, which have essentially made interviews and conversations more important than books, while in The Rich Jew he warns against censorship in film as the perfect base for the rise of neo-fascism. Other texts are cover the war in Kuwait and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.