Guattari and Lacan on The Anti-Oedipus


From Guattari’s journals:

October 1st, 1971

The disinformation is getting worse. Urgent convocation at Lacan’s office. “What have you done over the past two years? We’ve lost contact. I’m not trying to reprimand you, you’re still part of the École. I accept divergences, that why I founded the École, but…” He wanted to see the manuscript. I retreated behind Gilles who only wants to show him something completely finished. I told him that I consider myself to be a front-line Lacanian, but I’ve chosen to scout out areas that have not been explored much, instead of trailing in the wake… [ellipses in text]

We get down to business: if I want him, Lacan, to put a lid on the rumor that is spread about the book [hinted at, but never explicitly explained by Guattari] — and what Gilles said at Vincennes — I need to give him the means to intervene “before it’s too late”!

Since I can’t give him the manuscript, he wants me… to talk to him! Impossible to back out. Dinner invitation, next week, to lay the cards out on the table.

October 6, 1971

“So what is schizo-analysis?” The beginning of the meeting was very hard. I messed up a reference to a sacred Lacanian formula, and tried to redeem myself as well as I could. Unbelievable authoritarianism with the maitre d’. I was hot and not very hungry. I laid it all out. The “a” is a desiring machine; deterritorialization, history. I expounded on everything that I could think of in anthropology and political economy — “I understand. Very interesting. Really, it’s Deleuze who is overwhelmed by his students’ one-upmanship. I don’t know if you’ve already decided, but I think ‘analysts’ are still useful. History isn’t linear, it made of up of a series of clashes, retreats and advances…”

I reassured him: there will be analysts, and anyway the way things are going, there will be more of them than lawyers or pharmacists soon. But that’s not the point.

The point is to know if analysts will be agents of the established order or if they will stand up to their political responsibilities. Then, in the middle of a sentence, he came back to that — “you know, really, I don’t care if there are any analysts, I’ve spent my whole life denouncing them.”

A second wave of emotion. But it was too late! Something had already broken. Maybe things had always been broken between the two of us. But also, has he ever accessed anyone, has he ever talked to anyone? I wonder! He sets himself up as a despotic signifier. Hasn’t he condemned himself to this kind of solitude with no respite?

It’s late, time to go. He was pleased with our meeting. Reassured. Or so he said! Stooped, evidently exhausted, limping imperceptibly, his silhouette disappeared into the night. The gates on the house at the rue de Lille closed heavily behind me.

-The Anti-Oedipus Papers, 343-5

[note] read alongside “Lacan Was an Event In My Life” interview w/ Stivale published in Soft Subversions

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