Machinic Unconscious Complete

comments 16

I just wanted to throw out there that I have finished the bulk of translating Guattari’s The Machinic Unconscious: Essays in Schizoanalysis. Now begins the revision stage of my project, and a few interpolations of quotes from Proust’s In Search of Lost Time (I’m using the new Penguin editions, which are fabulous translations btw).

I hope this excites some people (I know Joe has been impatient for this…). I, too, am pretty thrilled about this work appearing in English. It has been a difficult work for me to translate, let alone read, but I feel that it is infinitely more valuable to me for all the efforts I have put into it. This book wasn’t necessarily received well in France (one of his interviewers mentions the obscurity and difficulty of this work specifically), perhaps because it is so closely tied to A Thousand Plateaus in scope and timeframe (it was published about 6 months before the latter, being a sort of work book for A Thousand Plateaus, as Gary Genosko puts it). But I hope that this is different for the English, especially with all the work that has gone into translating much of Guattari’s work already, and the Deleuze phenomenon, etc.

Let me just note in passing that this work has helped me overcome one of my own crises. As an English graduate student-dropout, I sort of rebelled against literary criticism, rebaptizing my field of research as philosophy. I gave up on its uses to evoke radical political change, and I felt like it played with the binary oppositions of established culture, not to truly dismantle the phenomena, but to reify them and sediment them more thoroughly.

I can only note with great fervor that the second part of the Machinic Unconscious, which is dedicated to a reading of Proust’s novel, is really something extraordinary, because it takes the obscure theoretical conceptualizations of the first half and propels them into concrete situations, deducing the abstract relations from this reading. But it goes further because it is not just an intellectual exercise: Guattari’s thought, if anything, is so radically enrooted in the outside that every phrase has a rhetorical-micropolitical bent to it.  He proves the validity of literary criticism to really illuminate the inner machinisms of reality, bearing out its political potential in a systematic and pragmatic way.

This book has changed my life. I hope you get a chance to read it.

The Author

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  1. Taylor,

    I’m simply thrilled about this translation, I can’t wait to read it. I’ve been dying to get my hands on some newly translated Guattari material, as I struggle to learn French. As you may know, I’m attempting a preliminary practical-practicable formalization of schizoanalysis, and reading Guattari’s untranslated works is key to that process. Thank you so much for engaging in this project.


  2. Thanks Reid! I’m glad to see this has caught your interest. I’m excited to see your project unfold, and I would love to talk to you personally about it sometime. For example, I don’t know if I told you, but in chapter 3 of Philosophie et Non-philosophie, Laruelle claims that schizoanalysis is just another decision among other philosophical decisions. He goes no further than this (at least in the context of that book). So, it’s really important to me at least, since Phi et nonphi is the book I plan to translate next…Let’s just say that I do not think Guattari or schizoanalysis can be relegated so quickly…I happen to think that nonphilosophy and schizoanalysis can both be radically productive (so much so that, one of Laruelle’s commentators, Erik del Bufalo, has written a book called Deleuze et Laruelle: de nonphilosophie a schizoanalysis).

    In any case, my friend Sid told me that maybe Laruelle sees it as a decision because in Anti-Oedipus, D+G seem to privilege the schizo pole of socius over the paranoid pole…this could be extended to valuing the molecular over the molar, although you get to a ? because the molecular actually leads to micro-fascism, which is more unstoppable because it appropriates molecular forces and renders them reactive.

    I can see how Sid’s point is valid, but I would feel that Deleuze at least would not say, schizo pole all the way! He does say Viva la paranoia at one point….Guattari, too, is not for absolute deterritorialization full force and at no price…His type of deterritorialization seems to be a slow one, rendering reterritorializations more fruitful by making them susceptible to non-human semiotics/crushing the dominant and stratifying significations. His fascination with Japanese culture is an example of this, for he sees in their culture a sophisticated, positive way of sustaining deterritorialization through careful, non-reactionary (i.e. tending towards the subject group vs. the subjugated group) reterritorializations of the past. And I think that Guattari bears this out with Proust: that the point is not to recover the past, but to recreate the universe through this deterritorializing-reterritorializing interaction with the past through the real opening of quanta of possible set about by concrete machines like faciality and the refrain.

    I will really need to make a post on the concrete machine soon…Until then, all the best!

  3. Yeah, this is ridiculously amazing Taylor! So excited to read it – I’m thinking 2009 will be a good year for me to finally dive into Guattari’s work, so I’m truly excited to get my hands on the product of all your hard work!

    • Thanks Nick! That includes your anthology, right? I mean to say: is the eta for that sometime this year? I think that’d be awesome: I hope to push my translation of phi et non-phi (which is only 260+ pgs) so that repress will have a full copy sometime in the fall of 09. Maybe that way it would at least come out early 2010 at the latest (we can only hope!).

      In any case, I’m sorry I’ve not been adding anything to speculative lately…This crunch at the end of the year, along with finishing this Guattari which I’ve had to postpone…I hope to add something substantial soon, maybe post on Guattari some, etc.

  4. Yeah, the anthology will be out sometime in the 2nd half of 2009 – not sure of an exact date yet though.

    As for your translation of Phi and Non-Phi, I know Re:press is great with turnaround time and will almost certainly have it out before early 2010. So that’s really exciting!

    No worries about the absence from SH – I’ve been really busy as well and haven’t really contributed anything substantial myself. Hopefully the new year will let me change that!

  5. Taylor has already been published, Robert!

    He contributed translations of several important essays for a revised collection of Guattari’s work published under the name “Chaosophy.” (He is listed as the third translator on the inner frontispiece.)

    His recent translation of Guattari’s ‘Machinic Unconscious’ ought to be seeing the light of day soon as well. We’ll certainly let everyone know!

  6. Hey Taylor-
    I’m unclear, when will ‘Machinic Unconscious’ be published? If its not in the year, I’d be willing to pay for a copy of the translation, I’m so happy this is gonna be in print soon, and congrats on a job well done!

  7. Hi Taylor,

    I’m one chapter into The Machinic Unconscious and I’m enjoying it quite a bit. I haven’t read any significant Deleuze or Guattari before but be assured that I am finding the book to be very enjoyable. I was wondering if you would have any advice on learning to read/translate works of French philosophy? My blog should be linked to above – please send me an email if you have any suggestions for resources in this vein. Appropriate to your comments above I am a student in both Philosophy and Rhetoric & Professional Writing at the University of Waterloo with aspirations in the direction of graduate school, publication etc. I’d love to chat at some point about your experiences in these areas as they sound very interesting.



  8. Fantastic!

    One of the books ive waited so long for.

    If you developed a taste for this…
    I would love to see translations of Gilbert Simondon, of Pierre Janet “L’automatisme psychologique”, Gabriel Tarde “Monadologie et Sociologie”, Hjelmslev “Essais linguistiques”, and Guattari “Psychanalyse et transversalité”.

    …or maybe its better that i start learning french…

    Thanks for a wonderful translation!

  9. Charles Hubaker says

    Deep-felt regard for your translation, Taylor. Currently, it’s a Meszaros-Guattari Yahoo Groups: Acarology. E-mail is not working for some reason, so please visit the group when you have a chance.

    a ‘deleuzo-guattarian’

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