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Revisiting Style in Literary and Cultural Studies

Interdisciplinary Articulations

Edited By Jasmin Herrmann, Moritz Ingwersen, Björn Sonnenberg-Schrank and Olga Ludmila Tarapata

The collected volume brings together leading scholars from a broad range of disciplines in the humanities to interrogate the productivity of style as an element of cultural expression and a parameter of cultural analysis. Despite its ubiquity in examinations of artistic singularity or postulations of epochal patterns, style remains a notoriously elusive concept. Suspicious of monolithic definitions, the contributions assembled in this volume address style from a multiplicity of methodological and conceptual angles, drawing from fields that include literary studies, film and media studies, post-structuralist philosophy, philosophy of science, and American cultural studies.

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2 Deleuze on Style

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Abstract: At various stages of his career, Gilles Deleuze speaks about style in various domains—literature, painting, music, philosophy, politics, medicine, sports—but at no point does he provide a formal, systematic account of the concept. Rather, he offers a series of gnomic pronouncements that are intriguing, occasionally baffling, but ultimately coherent. My object is to examine Deleuze’s scattered statements about style and articulate the logic that connects them. Deleuze’s most extended account of style is in Proust and Signs, where a genuine style is said to be “nonstyle.” This motif is picked up in later essays as “stuttering in one’s own language,” or “creating a foreign language within one’s language.” In Difference and Repetition, Deleuze introduces the notion of movement in thought as a constituent of style. This idea is developed further in Negotiations when Deleuze speaks of style in Spinoza and Foucault, their styles being “polytonal,” “syntactic,” and implicated in “styles of life.” In later works, Deleuze stresses the syntactic in style, expanding the concept of syntax to include connections among elements that delineate lines of movement. It is this broad notion of lines of movement that allows one to integrate the diverse elements of Deleuze’s understanding of style—rhythm, becoming, mannerism, continuous variation, general chromaticism, polytonality, ways of living, and so on—within a single conceptual framework.

Keywords: Gilles Deleuze, Félix Guattari, Michel Foucault, Marcel Proust, Spinoza, nonstyle, polytonality, syntax, styles of life, mannerism, chromaticism, rhythm

Remarks on style form...

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