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Gilles Deleuze’s ABC’s

ODDLY ENOUGH FOR FRANCE, where literary-chat shows are prime-time staples, Gilles Deleuze managed to make it through a lifetime as a philosopher without ever appearing on TV—well, almost. In 1988, nearly exhausted by the serious respiratory problems that led to his death last November, Deleuze agreed to work with the French/German cultural channel Arte. But he categorically refused either to submit to an interview or to sanction a documentary of his life and work, insisting instead on designing his own broadcast with Claire Parnet, his former student and his interlocutor in Dialogues. Together they produced an epic-length film L’Abécédaire, which was cut into six- to ten-minute segments—each beginning with the last sentence of the previous installment—to be broadcast separately over the course of several months. The film itself is simple. Sitting by the fire with Parnet, Deleuze presents

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