I put this off until the very last minute but was suddenly inspired earlier this evening…more info on the conference here.
The Schizo and the City: Jacques Besse’s La Grande Pâque
In Anti-Oedipus, Deleuze and Guattari (1983, 87) write:
In a great book by Jacques Besse, we encounter once again the double stroll of the schizo, the geographic exterior voyage following nondecomposable distances, and the interior historical voyage enveloping intensities: Christopher Columbus calms his mutinous crew and becomes admiral again only by simulating a (false) admiral who is simulating a whore who is dancing.
Who was this elusive and untranslated figure who “was a particularly important patient for Guattari” (Dosse 2010, 47) and who, like the heroic Henry Miller, “makes the city disgorge a patchwork, differentials of speed, delays and accelerations, changes in orientation, continuous variations” (Deleuze and Guattari 1987, 482) through his practice of déambulation? And what can we, as a group of potential urban nomads who are increasingly shuffled around our environments according to the whims of international capital and local commitments to allegedly sustainable growth, learn about how to live – and how not to live – in the city from him? This paper presents several translations of passages from Besse’s book into English for the first time, describes his experience as a patient of Guattari’s at La Borde as well as several of his essays in early issues of Guattari and Jean Oury’s journal Recherches, and strives to sketch a politics of the urban nomad in the early twenty-first century city.
Besse, Jacques. 1999. La Grande Pâque. Paris: La Chambre d’échos.
Deleuze, Gilles, and Félix Guattari. 1983. Anti-Oedipus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia. Translated by Robert Hurley, Mark Seem, and Helen R. Lane. University of Minnesota Press.
———. 1987. A Thousand Plateaus : Capitalism and Schizophrenia. Translated by Brian Massumi. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.
Dosse, Francois. 2010. Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari: Intersecting Lives. Translated by Deborah Glassman. New York: Columbia University Press.
Keywords: Jacques Besse, La Borde, déambulation