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Deleuze and Guattari? posted 11 Jul 2005, 16:07 by Ryo, Commoner

Hello Mr. Bakker. I'm currently wrting my Master's thesis in English literature as a comparison between your work and that of Gay Kay in terms of the Canadian Fantastic. My advisor is also a fan of yours and recommended that I take a look at Deleuze and Guattari's "A Thousand Plateaus" to enrich my reading of your books. The parallels are uncanny, as s the title, considering TTT. Is there any way you can briefly outline the extent to which their philosophies influenced your own? view post

posted 11 Jul 2005, 18:07 by Cu'jara Cinmoi, Author of Prince of Nothing

Never been a fan of [i:3r5fha1i]Capitalism and Schizophrenia[/i:3r5fha1i], actually (which is to say, the Guattari stuff). It was the earlier Deleuze of [i:3r5fha1i]Difference and Repetition[/i:3r5fha1i] and [i:3r5fha1i]The Logic of Sense[/i:3r5fha1i] that I found more interesting - though I'm not sure I would 'recommend' reading either of those books! D&R, especially, was one of the most difficult books I ever read. Despite the parallel concerns of the relation between anteriority and power, I just can't say I absorbed enough of the Deleuze and Guattari stuff for it to have played an actual formative role in my work. I'd be more inclined to say that the parallels are more the result of me taking the same departure point, which is to say, Nietzsche and Freud. In terms of French post-structuralist influences in a more general sense, I would have to say that early Derrida and the Foucault of [i:3r5fha1i]The Order of the Things[/i:3r5fha1i] (especially the "Man and his Doubles" chapter) are pretty important. But in a critical sense as much as anything else. The question of [i:3r5fha1i]veracity[/i:3r5fha1i], which is almost always translated into questions of power in the French post-structural tradition, is given quite a different spin in my books, I think... I have many, many problems with post-structuralism. I am a skeptic afterall. I'm not sure any of that helps! view post

posted 11 Jul 2005, 18:07 by Ryo, Commoner

Oh, it certainly helps. Thank you for getting back to me. Naturally, I see the Nietzschean influence, and Derrida / Foucault, after all, are parent figures to D and G - the latter have catapulted off the former into their space-clearing agenda. I suppose I saw Kellhus as very much the embodiment of the Deleuzian "rhizome" - the "n minus 1" figure who is less a being and more a plain upon which spontaneous oportunities constantly mainfest themselves. But I am not a die-hard postmodernist. My thesis is more concerned with conceptions of the Canadian Fantastic, which is to say, the extent to which the fantastic imagination here is predetermined by European ideals. This is what makes your work such a facinating counterpoint to that of Kay (The Fionavar Tapestry): he clearly attempts to reestablish connection with the colonizing nation, demonstrative of that that very Canadian longing for the myths of the "old country", while you seem undermine the entire idea of the nation. "The nation" seems to fit the idea, so crucial in your books, that that which comes before determines that which comes after. People do some terrible things in its name, after all. As you said, you are a skeptic (I often compare Kay's world to a Camelot, and Earwa to a Sodom and Gommorah!), but you do allow for the possibility of the "Mystery", which actually leaves a great deal of room for fanstastic possibilities rather than steadfastly determining these. I think one of the reasons I love your work so much is that very scepticism: you evacuate the definitions that Kay so faithfully constructs as "the first world", effectively giving fantasy over to the mystery, being that which comes BEFORE it is determined by the greater mythologies which so dominate this genre. Anyway, I'm going on and on. If I arranged a set of specific questions to ask you concerning your work and its philosophical underpinnings, whether on this website or in the form of an interview, would you be interested in answering them? This would be immesurably helpful to my own paper, because it would prevent me from guessing at certain things. Also, as an aspiring writer and a tremendous fan of yours, it would be a great honour. It's up to you, of course, but if you get this, perhaps you can let me know. Thanks, Ryan view post

posted 11 Jul 2005, 19:07 by Cu'jara Cinmoi, Author of Prince of Nothing

Interesting thesis! Sometimes I get so caught up with the tension between the scriptural and the fantastic that I lose sight of all the other ways the question can be parsed. When you get a chance to read TTT, I think you'll see why I'm so interested (I almost feel like I played into your hands!). So by all means, fire away with your questions. An interesting sidenote: When Penguin Canada made their offer for [i:2fjlmbol]The Prince of Nothing[/i:2fjlmbol], the primary reason they cited was that it would be the first major epic fantasy release in Canada since Kay's [i:2fjlmbol]Fionavar Tapestry[/i:2fjlmbol] - which, if I remember aright, they originally published. view post

posted 11 Jul 2005, 21:07 by Ryo, Commoner

Thanks! And I'm quite looking forward to TTT. One of the first questions my advisor asked when we were initially discussing this project was whether it would be a problem that was basically working with an unfinished trilogy. I'll be defending at the end of August, which means that the grand finale will unfortunately not arrive it time, but I think I've got enough from the first two. More than enough, actually. Besides, he sort of gave me a wink and assured me that the benefit of working with such new material is the promise that few people if any have tackled it yet. Most people don't even realize that there is a tradition of epic fantasy in Canada, so I feel like I'm blazing a trail through new terrain. Anyway, when I get a list of questions together, I'll post them. It'll take a good week at least, because I'm working with my secondary sources right now, and these will definately inform my questions. Thanks again for your interest - this will be exciting! Ryan view post


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