BADIOU AND DELEUZE: poetry and politics

I will be continuing with my summary and commentary of Badiou’s first class for this year, but here I wish to record a feeling of disappointment. The seminar starts out with a very interesting programmatic reorientation in terms of the “crossings” of truth procedures and of the typology of the different sorts of infinities that underly these crossings. But the rest of the seminar, while very interesting, does not live up to this programme. Badiou gives us a what is essentially the same lecture as his “Poésie et Communisme” delivered in April 2014 at the Sorbonne (in French):

There exists an English translation of this conference here.

 The second part of Badiou’s seminar is basically a repetition of this older conference, and it does not examine the ontological foundations of the “crossing” in terms of the types of infinity in play. However, Badiou does add some new ideas (for example that of “poetising” the people), and some new formulations. Also, the guiding theme of the crossings between truth procedures is new, and so it casts the old discussions in a new light.

As one reads Badiou’s commentaries on poetry and on Vallejo’s poem, it is impossible to ignore the Deleuzian resonances of his vocabulary and of his concepts. In particular, the four protocols of immanence that I isolated (the reversal of suffering into a world set free; death as construction of a new liberty; active, swarming eternity; the abundance of the real world) are very close to the explicit themes of Deleuze’s own discussions of the relation between art and people, creation and resistance. Yet another Deleuzian theme is the idea that the poem is given to those who have no language or no mastery of it (the mute, the stutterer, the foreigner) and also to those who possess nothing.

When Badiou discusses Deleuze’s politics explicitly he is quite critical (see my analysis here). However, when he is speaking of the crossing between poetry and politics his ideas and formulations are often quite close to those of Deleuze.

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