Terry Eagleton

  • François Dosse’s Deleuze & Guattari

    Gilles Deleuze & Félix Guattari: Intersecting Lives, by François Dosse, translated by Deborah Glassman. New York: Columbia University Press, 2010. 672 pages. $38.

    GILLES DELEUZE AND FÉLIX GUATTARI have assumed their place among the great mythological couples of history, from David and Jonathan to Butch and Sundance, Antony and Cleopatra to Laurel and Hardy. For a heady few decades in the late twentieth century, the language of the Left was replete with the idiom they invented: desiring machines, bodies without organs, flows and fluxes, coding and decoding, the nomadic and the molecular. The

  • THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR

    ELEVEN SCHOLARS, CRITICS, AND ARTISTS CHOOSE THE YEAR’S OUTSTANDING TITLES.

    JOHN BALDESSARI

    Kierkegaard once said that his goal in writing was to make life difficult for people. I read Edward Said’s On Late Style (Pantheon) because its title suggested that it might offer insights into my life’s pursuit of trying to understand art. The subtitle of the book is Music and Literature Against the Grain. The photo of Said on the back cover shows his shirt collar slightly askew, which I chose to understand as an unintended message.

    There are no artists (in the narrow sense) discussed, but the book contains

  • Slavoj Žižek

    “I LIVE IN TERROR of not being misunderstood,” complains one of Oscar Wilde’s characters. Shafts of wit like this reflect a peculiarly colonial kind of perversity. As a devout Irish republican, Wilde takes some piece of conventional English wisdom and rips it inside out, turns it on its head, tampers mischievously with a word here and there so as to flip a cliché into its opposite. Like Shakespeare’s enslaved Caliban, he learns to speak the tongue of his imperial masters but returns it to them in the form of a curse or a hardboiled epigram. The colonial is dependent on metropolitan culture, but