Lastly, only if inspired: Jacques Rancère’s Text
The following text by a – still living – colleague of Deleuze at University of Paris (St. Denis), well known for his early collaboration with Marxian thinker, Louis Althusser, devotes a chapter to Deleuze’s interpretation of Bartleby & makes much his concept of “the Zone of Indeterminacy” – something Deleuze also speaks of in several other works, & which holds an oblique relation to Jacques Derrida’s notion of “Aporia”:
Rancière, Jacques. Flesh of Words: the Politics of Writing. 2004:
III. The Literature of the Philosophers
2. Deleuze, Bartleby, and the Literary Formula
Several other continental philosophers, such as Giorgio Agamben & Alain Badiou, have written commentaries on the Bartleby story, & incorporated Deleuze’s essay into their analyses.
0 · January 7
Also read: Jane Desmarais’s short Text:
I would also like participants to skim over the following review of Bartleby. It is less philosophical than Deleuze’s review (though he touches on many of the same issues in the last portion of his essay) and underscores some fundamentals of the socio-economic critique basic to the satire, without which much of the story is unintelligible. Ms. Desmarais’s review also references Deleuze’s review & makes an interesting commentary of the "alimentary economy" that paces the narrative:
Desmarais, Jane. “Preferring not to:The Paradox of Passive Resistance in Herman Melville’s ‘Bartleby’”. Journal of the Short Story in English. Vol. 36, Spring 2001. pp. 25-39:
0 · January 7
Here are better copies of the Melville & Deleuze Texts:
Melville, Herman. Bartleby, the Scrivener: A Story of Wall-Street. 1853
***Please Be sure to actually read the Melville - even if you have read the story in the past and know the general plot.***
This is a story whose surface detail - the indirect & negative phrasing, the narrator's asides, the use of names, descriptions of physical space, the role of food & other illusions - is essential to its message.
Deleuze, Gilles. Essays Critical and Clinical. Editions de Minuit, 1993 (translation 1998):
Bartleby; Or, The Formula (Chapter 10 in Essays Critical & Clinical):
Bartleby; Or, The Formula (end notes):
0 · January 7
Sorry guys. I am on the verge of not attending, because Skype is an impenetrable mystery. I go to the skype website, punch in my name and password and, voila!, no direction, button, menu bar, nothing, to tell me how to get on the phone. Makes me want to scratch my nuts and drink a beer. Any help. Andras you were invaluable in getting me there the first time. I'm sorry I'm such a boob about this stuff. I really just do not understand why the internet seems like such a bait and switch to me. Thanks.
0 · January 3
I just finished the essay on Bartleby and, as usual, found passages alternately inspiring and impenetrable. His description of the American "project", and its differing from the project of European, or Wester Philosophy's project was thrilling; his description of the way Melville prefigured pragmatism was a thought-provoking connection to what we read together of Pierce and James. And his discussion of the father and the role of "particularities" each let loose a pachinko-like frenzy of connections and considerations. Bartleby has always been a favorite story of mine, as a strange Socratic display of watching a narrator's mastery crumble in front of the reader. But of course Deleuze takes flight with it in many different directions. Really enjoyed it. Thanks for the topic!
0 · December 30