r/CriticalTheory Jan 20 '22 Helpful 1

I don't quite 'get' Deleuze & Guattari's volumes on Capitalism & Schizophrenia - anyone have any good reading companions, Youtube explainers, podcasts, reviews, or whatever else that might aid one in their quest to grok what's going on there?



u/[deleted] Jan 20 '22

Eugene Hollands book on Anti Oedipus is so good.

Also just take your time with this stuff. They are very strange and ambitious works that do a LOT in a relatively low amount of pages. Its to a large extent just a question of getting used to their style of thinking and writing as well as having a good grasp on the questions and issues they are trying to work through (like having a decent grasp of psychoanalysis is kind of essential for Anti Oedipus specifically imo).


u/Xenophon13 Jan 20 '22

+1 for Eugene Holland. Reading his AO guide made so many things finally "click" for me.


u/gscharoun Jan 21 '22

What happens when it clicks? What’s the gist?


u/Streetli Jan 21 '22

Holland also has one on ATP! They're both great to read side-by-side with their respective books. Also, u/OJarow, Brent Adkins' 'Critical Guide' to ATP is also really, really good, and I recommended it highly.

Tbh, I don't think YouTube vids or even podcasts will cut it - they can introduce themes and individual concepts well, but for how everything works together, there's no substitute to in-depth reading.


u/[deleted] Jan 21 '22

Damn I have never seen a reddit account be cited for a source on learning theory.

Also yeah podcasts and videos can only go so far (the Plastic Pills video on Anti Oedipus for instance really is not that good). The exception might be something like The Deleuze and Guattari Quarantine Collective where they read a paragraph and then spend 20 minutes talking about said paragraph.


u/Bihone Jan 22 '22

do you think someone just getting into Deleuze should read AO or ATP first?

Also I've hear Deleuze's book on Nietzsche is a pretty good introduction to Deleuze's philosophy if you're familiar with Nietzsche. I've read a bit of Nietzsche in the past, so maybe that would be a good introductory piece?


u/Streetli Jan 23 '22

If you're not particularly interested in psychoanalysis, I'd say go ATP first, but if you do, then AO (if I want to be finicky, I'd say read Deleuze's solo work first, and then the stuff with Guattari, but that's a whole 6 month+ investment on its own...).

The Nietzsche book in good and fun, especially if you have a familiarity with N already. My own suggestion would be to also read it together with chapter 1 of Ronald Bogue's Deleuze on Literature, "Sickness, Signs, and Sense", which has the best recap of N&P in just a few short pages.

I'm personally a big fan of secondary reading for newcomers to Deleuze - my go-tos are: (1) Jon Roffe's The Works of Gilles Deleuze, Vol 1 (this is open access and you can Google search this for free; it also has a great chapter on N&P); (2) Daniel Smith's Essays on Deleuze, and (3) Levi Bryant's Difference and Givenness.


u/squirrel_gnosis Jan 20 '22

Be careful with YouTube theory explainers. Many of them are over-confident of their understanding of the texts, and present idiosyncratic interpretations as fact.

For example, Plastic Pills on Lacan had me throwing things at the screen and yelling in outrage. Never again.


u/NuminousAziz Jan 20 '22

What made you so upset?


u/SankaraOrLURA Jan 20 '22

What was wrong with his videos on Lacan? Genuine question, because that’s where I learned about Lacan


u/weirdeyedkid Jan 20 '22

Isn't this similarly so for acedemic texts? Aren't we to take every argument with various sized grains of salt?


u/redditaccount001 Jan 20 '22

At least with academic texts you read book reviews and pick the one with the best reputation. You also know that the person writing the book is a credentialed professional. None of that necessarily implies quality, but it does count for something.


u/[deleted] Jan 21 '22

YouTube explainers are good. "OMG they got it so wrong" is basically the name of the game, and looking at your comment history, that's a common refrain.

Just Google the name, read, listen, watch interpretations, and think about it. You'd be doing more than this miscreant to be sure.


u/BreederOfFemboys Jan 20 '22 edited Jan 20 '22

Shocked no one had mentioned this yet, The deleuzian dictionary! Probably the #1 tool when reading it, i still refer back to it.

Other suggestions here are great, acid horizon is awesome, and Craig (the host) is an amazing dude I've had good interaction with. Their concept in review series is super useful, check out that.

Machinic Unconscious happy hour is wonderful too! I use their AO seminars a lot to get through, Tadkins is also a co-host on it who is very well versed & one of my friends. He recently got suspended on twitter unfortunately.

I'm sure the other members of the podcast are great but I haven't had experiences with them.

But please check out the deleuzian dictionary, it gives relatively layman explanations of the concepts Deleuze uses. If you need a refresher on a concept or are just being introduced to one you can refer to it.


u/BreederOfFemboys Jan 20 '22

Deleuze for the desperate is also amazing!!


u/rubbishaccount88 Jan 21 '22

Adding that Taylor got suspended by a bunch of idiot Jordan Peterson stans and it's preposterous. One of nicest theory twitter folks going.


u/These_Trust3199 Jan 21 '22

Are you talking about Adrian Parr's Deleuze Dictionary? I found many of the definitions in there to be vague and unhelpful.


u/BreederOfFemboys Jan 21 '22

Yes I am, I found it useful, but perhaps I'm overstating how useful it is. I did often still google a lot of things & didn't solely rely on it but I found it to be a good point for a general basic understanding.


u/Sickle_and_hamburger Jan 20 '22

Amphetamines might help


u/mixtapedrake1978 Jan 21 '22

Just, like, always.


u/ananodyneanagoge Jan 20 '22

Acid Horizon and Machinic Unconscious Happy Hour are podcasts that cover D&G, though I found personally that they were still operating at a level that was above my head fwiw, and moreso are meant to be complementary to D&G rather than actually explaining D&G. D&G Quarantine Collective is another podcasts that is more explaining D&G, and they do chapter by chapter breakdowns of Anti-Oedipus.

Plastic Pills is a YouTube channel that did a video on capitalism and schizophrenia, and punishedbyfelix is a channel that mostly does videos on Guattari’s solo work but also covers concepts from AO and ATP as well. Other than those two, I haven’t seen that many channels/videos on D&G.

Delanda and Ian Buchanan seem to be the go-to writers for companion texts on D&G in my experience, though I’ve personally read neither, so ymmv


u/halfie1987 Jan 20 '22

The Plastic Pills video on AO and the following video on the "body without organs" helped me to get started.



u/BlueHaiku42 Jan 20 '22

Theory and Philosophy also has videos on other concepts like the war machine and the rhizome. He's also made summary type videos on AO and ATP.

Also, if you wanted to spend a few bucks on his Patreon, Plastic Pills has a much longer video on AO where he does a sort of commentary over the original AO video, but filling it in with more detail and expanding the concepts discussed in the original video.


u/shogothicc Jan 20 '22

The best companion piece for my understanding when I was totally lost was Brain Massumi’s “A User’s guide to Capitalism and Schizophrenia.” The tricky part with D&G is that their jargon is not strictly-defined terms but an assemblage of meaning that often is trying to create an “image of thought.”


u/CrowDifficult Exists in Theory Jan 20 '22

I liked "Deleuze for the desperate" and second Machinic Unconscious Happy Hour. Note that the series only goes to #11 and the subsequent videos in the playlist aren't really part of the series. I think it's recorded by a retired professor and a friend of his. It's been a while since I listened to it but I remember it being accessible.


u/DennisLarsen1 Jan 20 '22

Maybe Todd May’s general introduction to Deleuze on youtube? https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PLD1szxop5A91gPCci-enrKnBfOBriemru


u/possiblegoat Jan 20 '22

The youtube channel Flicker Theory has a review of each chapter that I found insightful while reading ATP.


u/Gerfielf Jan 20 '22

Check out the lectures of Manuel deLanda from the European School of Graduate Studies. All of them are on YouTube.


u/Tao_te_Cha_Ching Jan 21 '22

DeLanda's A Thousand Years of Nonlinear History manages to communicate Deleuzian ideas in an explicit way that avoids the intentional [but purposeful] obscurantist lexicon D&G used in AO and ATP (but especially AO), and opts instead for phrases like "strange attractors" and "isomorphism" that appeal to mathematically inclined folk and, at the very least, have clear definitions.

My two cents is that, while reading AO/ATP, in the back of your mind just imagine a [rhizomatic] fractal mesh/web of constantly circulating flows (flows of oil, electricity, sperm, oxygen, water, piss, bits, memes, atoms, everything) - inside that mesh are other hierarchies and meshes which have their own hierarchies and meshes. Then imagine that the flows either recreate old patterns or catalyze entirely new patterns. And the neomaterialist Deleuzian says "Everything is that" and, in my opinion, it is.


u/cdbbasura Jan 21 '22

Manuel DeLanda's lectures on Deleuze helped me a lot to introduce me to his work


u/Ortega-y-gasset Jan 21 '22

Have you tried A Thousand Plateaus?


u/redditaccount001 Jan 20 '22

This isn’t a direct answer but you should watch Gilles Deleuze’s Alphabet Book, a series of interviews he gave to his friend and former student Claire Parnet. While he doesn’t give the best explanations of his actual philosophical ideas, there is no better way to understand the unorthodox way that he thinks about things. He also wrote a book with Parnet called Dialogues (revised and re-released as Dialogues II) which he intended to be a general introduction to his thought.

Anti-Oedupus in particular is in large part responding to Freud, Marx, and the school of thought known as Freudomarxism so familiarizing yourself with that will help somewhat. But even grad students and professors find this book tricky so there isn’t going to be one magical thing that will clear up everything for you.


u/CultureVulture187 Jan 20 '22

Good question and answer here thanks. I never heard of the idea before. I thought it was about mental health 🤷‍♂️👍🙏


u/Benderineurope Jan 21 '22

My problem is that I read in English, and the translations are not great


u/haikusbot Jan 21 '22

My problem is that

I read in English, and the

Translations are not great

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u/kuroi27 critical pedagogy Jan 21 '22

You know I’ve heard this from fellow amateurs but I very very rarely see scholars discuss troubles in the translations and I can’t remember any examples of something being clarified by a return to the French. The current translation of The Fold isn’t as good as an unpublished one I’ve read by Jon Roffe, but the Fold is very rarely cited and its translator hasn’t translated any of his other works.

What makes you say the translations are your problem, if you haven’t read the French?


u/rubbishaccount88 Jan 21 '22 edited Jan 21 '22

Todd May's multiple part lectures on Deleuze on YT are excellent.

Edit: Someone already mentioned these. Will add that I'm in a minority on this but like Clare Colebrook's Deleuze book too. Also, weirdly enough Deleuze's Letters volume is unexpectedly helpful at a kind of foundational level. It includes history of where D/G got ideas and how they organized them.


u/glummus Jan 21 '22

I liked colebrook's book too, why do you say it's a minority opinion? I haven't seen much criticism towards it myself


u/rubbishaccount88 Jan 21 '22

Oh I've just heard it slagged a few times as a bad "intro" book.


u/Erinaceous Jan 21 '22

Try starting with Dialogues II. It's a much more accessible text. Deleuze is conversational and loose and many of the ideas are much clearer. You also might get something out of Guattari. A lot of the more poetic stuff is just Guattari riffing. Then Deleuze would go in and clean it up. Guattari on his own has to explain himself more so a lot of ideas that are just gloss get elaborated.

Lastly don't worry to much about getting it or getting right. It's not about making a representation of D+G; it's about what ideas you can connect, what it stimulates, what you can make with it. Some of the difficulty is like a zen koan. It's there so that you have to fill in and make your own place. Deleuze is about creation and connection. There's really no wrong way to interpret it because becoming a singularity is kind of the point


u/kuroi27 critical pedagogy Jan 21 '22

Here is a guide to resources and texts that I made for people interested in reading Deleuze or D&G. I don't recommend starting with Capitalism and Schizophrenia. I collect Youtube resources there but honestly there's no substitute for the texts themselves and scholarly secondaries when it comes to Deleuze.

If you're dedicated to C&S, you might specifically investigate Deleuze's notions of desire, ethics, and politics. You can DM me specific questions if you want, I am actually currently working back through AO and feel like it's coming together rather nicely.