The Masochistic Quest of Jean-Jacques Rousseau: Deleuze and Guattari to Transversal Poetics with(out) Baudrillard

  • Adam Bryx
  • Bryan Reynolds


Jean-Jacques Rousseau sweated, urinated, defecated, and ejaculated. He produced and reproduced. According to the “schizoanalytic” theory of Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, he was a desiring-machine, an autonomic process of production and more production that works, breaks down, and immediately starts up again. But we are inclined to postpone discussion of Rousseau’s production until after inspecting the factories. For Deleuze and Guattari, desire acts independently of, and from, social and economic demands: it is both subject and object of desire; it is processes of desiring-production, and not acquisition, creativity, or lack. One cannot define desire against something outside of its self-reactive system, for such a formulation would irrevocably subject desire to an internal-external organizational dualism. Although desiring-production functions in continual interaction with and contrary to forces of attraction and repulsion, it is constituted neither by an impulsive naturalism nor by a compulsive constructionism. Desiring-production is not directed toward a specific purpose predicated upon a natural organization of the cosmos; rather, it strives for intensive singular states. The ongoing production of desire, itself the constituting expression of desire, is machinically enabled through couplings, the bringing apart and together of more forces in the formation of assemblages, whether experienced positively and/or negatively.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Works cited

  1. Artaud, Antonin. Selected Writings. eds and intro. Susan Sontag. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1976.Google Scholar
  2. Artaud, Antonin. Artaud Anthology. trans. F. Teri Wehn and Jack Hirschman. San Francisco: City Lights, 1965.Google Scholar
  3. Baudrillard, Jean. Simulacra and Simulation. Michigan: University of Michigan Press, 1994.Google Scholar
  4. Baudrillard, Jean. Symbolic Exchange and Death. London: Sage, 1993.Google Scholar
  5. Deleuze, Gilles. The Logic of Sense. trans. Mark Lester and Charles Stivale. Columbia University Press: New York, 1990.Google Scholar
  6. Deleuze, Gilles. Coldness and Cruelty, published with Leopold von Sacher-Masoch’s Venus in Furs. New York: Zone Books, 1991.Google Scholar
  7. Deleuze, Gilles and Félix Guattari. Anti-Oedipus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia. trans. Robert Hurley, Mark Seem, and Helen R. Lane. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1983.Google Scholar
  8. Deleuze, Gilles and Félix Guattari. A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia. trans. Brian Massumi. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1987.Google Scholar
  9. Genosko, Gary. McLuhan and Baudrillard: The Masters of Implosion. London and New York: Routledge, 1999.Google Scholar
  10. Freud, Sigmund. “Beyond the Pleasure Principle,” “Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality,” “On Narcissism: An Introduction,” “Wild” Psycho-Analysis, “A Special Type of Choice of Object Made by Men,” “On Beginning the Treatment.” The Freud Reader. eds Peter Gay. New York: Norton, 1989.Google Scholar
  11. Mauss, Marcel. The Gift. trans. W. D. Halls (London and New York: Norton, 1990).Google Scholar
  12. Massumi, Brian. A User’s Guide to Capitalism and Schizophrenia. Cambridge: Swerve Editions, 1992.Google Scholar
  13. Rousseau, Jean-Jacques. The Confessions. trans. and intro. J. M. Cohen. London: Penguin, 1953.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Bryan Reynolds 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Adam Bryx
    • 1
  • Bryan Reynolds
    • 2
  1. 1.University of CaliforniaIrvineUSA
  2. 2.University of CaliforniaIrvineUSA

Personalised recommendations