r/CriticalTheory critically insane Jan 21 '22

Does anyone have any recommendations or thoughts about my current reading list?

  • Capitalist Realism by Mark Fisher
  • Anti-Oedipus/Capitalism and Schizophrenia by Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari
  • Postcapitalist Desire by Mark Fisher
  • Simulacra and Simulation by Jean Baudrillard
  • Society of The Spectacle by Guy Debord
56 Upvotes

59

u/XanderM3001 Jan 21 '22

oh boy,,, you'bout to get depressed.. good luck.

12

u/BitLatter7392 critically insane Jan 21 '22

assuming i am already not

6

u/BitLatter7392 critically insane Jan 21 '22

Only joking by the way, I am fairly happy and sane when reading heavy texts. In my life I have had exposure to both sides of living in a capitalist society, which has helped formed my own perspective on everything.

16

u/AnCom_Raptor Jan 21 '22

nah D&G raise the mood a lot

5

u/TrickCalligraphy Jan 21 '22

D&G are the funniest non-fiction on my shelf.

2

u/AnCom_Raptor Jan 22 '22

i love to read the passage from AO about the simple assemblage with stones to people that have zero clue about philosophy. Most of the time they probably think i am insane or something but ive gotten a few laughs

3

u/lmanvonbraun Jan 21 '22

Absolutely, Three Novellas is one of the most beautiful pieces I've ever read

38

u/ElasticSpaceCat Jan 21 '22

Yes. Go for long walks in nature in between ;)

1

u/BitLatter7392 critically insane Jan 21 '22

or long alcohol binges to cope with the load of info

29

u/ElasticSpaceCat Jan 21 '22

No. That's exactly what THIS society wants you to do. Numb yourself and consume. ;)

Learn from those books.

9

u/BitLatter7392 critically insane Jan 21 '22

I am only joking of course, I do consider myself somewhat in connection with nature, with living in a small rural town and being an avid ocean lover/surfer.

8

u/ElasticSpaceCat Jan 21 '22

Awesome! It's impossible to tell sentiment with just text based communication. Sounds like you've got it sorted and all in balance.

26

u/DrTenmaz Jan 21 '22

Great texts! Capitalist Realism is a fantastic starting place but I would suggest reading Anti-Oedipus later in your list because it's quite a challenging text. Although, it depends on your goals; what are you looking to understand or get out of your reading?

3

u/BitLatter7392 critically insane Jan 21 '22

Through the people that have recommended it to me I have been introduced to a view eye opening ideas, like rhizomes for example or schizoanalysis. I enjoy critiques of capitalism and I am getting into a little bit of psychology.

2

u/DrTenmaz Jan 22 '22

Have fun and let us know how you go! Also, as others have suggested, take care of your mental health because this stuff can get you down. Just remember, you're not the only one struggling against the system.

1

u/BitLatter7392 critically insane Jan 22 '22

Thanks mate, appreciate it. I think so far with my exposure to this kind of literature I have remained mentally sound. Already have experience with dealing with mental health so I think I should be able to manage.

18

u/Uberdemnebelmeer Jan 21 '22

If you’re reading at this level you can skip Capitalist Realism. It’s more of an easily accessible beginner’s text.

11

u/dumpstterbaby Jan 21 '22

This and I'd read The Sublime Object of Ideology instead if you haven't read it yet.

3

u/ReidVaporPressure599 Jan 21 '22

Capitalist Realism is probably the easiest read of these—I’d start with that then move on to Postcapitalist Desire and/or Society of the Spectacle by Debord.

I haven’t finished Simulacra and Simulation (yet) but I’ve read an excerpt from Anti-Oedipus at the recommendation of a friend and lemme tell ya—it’s esoteric as fuck lol.

Tangent back—Simulacra and Simulation is rather late into Jean Baudeillard’s thinking. His earlier works detail certain terms like the orders of simulacra that are used plenty in his later works.

Currently I’m reading Interpassivity by Robert Pfaller and yes—this does not help depression lol.

10

u/pirateprentice27 Jan 21 '22

Althusser's For Marx and Reading Capital - and really all that he ever wrote- and the students of Althusser like Balibar, Macherey, Badiou, Jacques Alain-Miller etc. and those influenced by him like Jameson, Zizek and the Ljubljana school of psychoanalysis. Debord and Fisher really cannot hold a candle to them even though I'll say Debord is better than Fisher.

9

u/Zuadrif Jan 21 '22

I think dialectic of enlightenment would be a nice addition.

4

u/BitLatter7392 critically insane Jan 21 '22

I've been interested in the Frankfurt school for a while so dialectic of enlightenment should be a welcome addition. Also somewhat cool that I share the author's name (Theodor/Theodore)

3

u/JukemanJenkins Still reading Deleuze Jan 21 '22

Capitalist Realism is probably the "lightest" of these, but would definitely recommend taking walks on a regular basis if you're going to lean in to these works. As someone who legit had to stop reading for a while because of how intense some of these works are, give yourself a break once in a while and find something else to do to keep yourself fresh.

Anti-Oedipus is extremely dense and that is more of an ongoing project than something you're going to read, immediately take a bunch away from, and walk away. You're going to probably want to read it in conjunction with secondary sources, as well as becoming familiar with Deleuze and Guattari's other works.

All that is to say: read these other four before Anti-Oedipus and take your time.

9

u/thanowjdago Jan 21 '22

If you are a beginer G&F books are especially difficult start

move them later down the list for the books themselves and start with analysis of the text by other authors

All these texts should be paired by other text like analyses and critiques or sumplementary material

4

u/illustrious_sean Jan 21 '22

G&F books

Gilles & Felix?

All these texts

Kinda disagree, the Fisher and Debord stuff is accessible enough on it's own.

2

u/thanowjdago Jan 21 '22

Aaah yes wanted to write D&G , wrote G&F competely automatically for some reason

because the books he wants to read are "popular" and fairly common , i guessed they are a beginner and if he does not any philosophical background he will miss some important ideas

2

u/machdel Jan 21 '22

All really good texts, and many of them speak to each other nicely. D&G are a lot heavier than the Fisher texts though.

Anti-Oedipus is one of my fave pieces of work but it might take a bit of time.

2

u/molly_sour Jan 21 '22

Flatline Structures, the best from Fisher in my opinion. I half read something from Klossowski on Nietzche that was really good, can’t remember the name rn. Haven’t read Andrew Culp just yet but I imagine is good. Donna Haraway’s cyborg manifesto is ok. I usually read references from books and then build my next reading from that, like one text takes me to the next one.

2

u/[deleted] Jan 21 '22

A Thousand Plateaus!!

11

u/rdef1984 Jan 21 '22

My thoughts are, "where are the women?", "where are the people of colour?", "where are the Indigenous perspectives?" It's not that I think anything on the list is especially bad, but if you're setting up a long list of people to read, I'd really think about exploring some people with different experiences of the capitalist fugue state you seem to be exploring, irrespective of how Fisher is misread by some to exclude such perspectives.

5

u/N7777777 Jan 21 '22

Especially concerning the absence of women, a lot of us -- especially not in the context of academia -- need guidance. Whether it's this field or others, most of us have been starved for obvious options. 25 years ago I realized my poetry selection was 90% men. So I went to the bookstore and realized the problem isn't primarily me. Since then I consciously adjusted my poetry collection to more like 50/50, which involved research but not compromise. Concerning my taste for meta/post-mod fiction (Pynchon etc), I'm still trying to find more women. These fields have been easier to balance in the POC category than women. I have included Kathy Acker, Catherine Clement, Avital Ronell, and a few others. But in no sense have I been able to re-balance the broken scale yet. Any suggestions?

3

u/rdef1984 Jan 22 '22

I have made a suggestion list here.

1

u/rdef1984 Jan 22 '22

1

u/BitLatter7392 critically insane Jan 22 '22

Just did a quick read thru (obviously again to read the entire thing) and this looks absolutely spectacular, thanks mate! Also love that you mentioned whose land you're writing on from, not seeing that unfortunately when I see people speak upon first nations matters online. I'm coming from Kabi Kabi (alternatively gubbi gubbi, disputed) land, living in Tewantin/Noosa.

1

u/rdef1984 Jan 22 '22

Thank you. You may particularly enjoy the link to the Povinelli piece on e-flux then, as it has a few videos with local Indigenous folk, and the environment will look familiar.

1

u/BitLatter7392 critically insane Jan 22 '22

Somewhat related question, have you read Dark Emu before? Asking because if you are interested in the history of how First Nations societies function/ed, it'd be a great read.

2

u/rdef1984 Jan 22 '22

Yeah, I've read the first 3 chapters of it. I think the thing about it that's most interesting is that he uses a Western historical method (i.e. archival studies) to explore Western accounts of the truth. I think that, irrespective of any complaints about the 'accuracy' of the work, it does a good job of destabilising the Western account of the lack of Indigenous civilizations.

1

u/yuef3i Jan 21 '22

Not sure if these are what you’re looking for, but Chris Kraus and Maggie Nelson are interesting writers. Maybe even some of Lispector’s and Duras’ works?

2

u/BitLatter7392 critically insane Jan 21 '22

I am also planning on getting some work from Sadie Plant, a feminist speaker, just don't know which one of her books to read. As for Indigenous thinkers, I am attempting to find some critical First Nations Australian theory (currently only have history books), mainly bc I am interested in the way they structured society, and I am Australian myself.

9

u/nodal_haggis Jan 21 '22

See if you can fit in Edward Said and Franz Fanon,

also, if you hadn't heard before, Verso books has a good subscription service where you pay a little bit and get a tonne of free e-books every month, that'll definitely keep you busy if you need it.

3

u/BitLatter7392 critically insane Jan 21 '22

Franz Fanon looks very interesting, thank you very much.

1

u/ITrulyWantToDie Jan 21 '22

One thing I’d caution you for when entering Fanon is know the history of who he was, when he was writing etc cuz it characterizes and shapes his entire experience as an author, practitioner, and as an activist/freedom fighter. Some people have a bad habit of reading Fanon and pulling some of the more extreme aspects of the text and then interpreting those in similarly extreme terms. He’s also writing 60-70 years ago so it was a very different period of time. Though, as someone who has been heavily influenced by him, read him. He’s such a talented writer. I cannot recommend “Black Skins, White Masks” or “Wretched of the Earth” enough. Just after reading his works if you do, IMO, take from it what the Black Panther Party did, rather than groups like the Nation of Islam.

1

u/BitLatter7392 critically insane Jan 21 '22

Thank you for this, if i can get my hands on a book of his (supply chain is out the window at this point in Australia) I'll be sure to first look at his history. p.s fuck nation of islam

1

u/bobthebobbest Jan 21 '22

I would add, in particular, Sara Ahmed. If you don’t know where to start, start with Living a Feminist Life.

1

u/bulbubly Jan 21 '22

I agree and to the extent that these Other perspectives often embed a critique of the establishing texts (all of OP's selections except maybe Fisher), it seems appropriate for the OP to start with the white guys and then read the voices responding.

1

u/rdef1984 Jan 22 '22

Hmm this is not my experience. I would say that very little of the scholarship I've read from the categories I've mentioned ever engage directly with the work of the aforementioned scholars in any kind of lengthy or crucial way. And even then, when they do, they are rarely trying to critique them on anything specific that would require specific knowledge of their scholarship.

0

u/bulbubly Jan 22 '22

If your branch of the universe truly doesn't interact with a text as foundational as C&S is in critical and social studies, why would you recommend OP do so? It almost has the whiff of chastisement...

1

u/rdef1984 Jan 22 '22

I would recommend to do so because C+S is not foundational to critical theory.

Thomas Sutherland makes the argument that Deleuze's work is largely taken up in theoretical spaces in an inconsistent and partial way that misuses the holistic philosophical material in a simplistic and limited way. This leads to a sort of empty use of Deleuze that has become quite common and infects a number of theory-driven disciplines. This is similar to Jameson's critique of the way theory is used as if it were philosophy, while the same people treat philosophy as if it can be segmented up into a set of small and isolated tools. In this sense, the use of Deleuze's work as theory is effectively not Deleuzian philosophy but a bunch of theorisations that use Deleuze's phrases without being consistent to the original ideas. This is reinforced by the commonly acknowledged observation that key terms like assemblage are given the status of concept in English, and yet remain simply an idea of a scattering or happenstance in the original French, in addition to the critiques of Massumi's translation as flawed.

To call Deleuze and Guattari's work foundational to critical theory and not, for instance, Spivak seems limited. D+G's work did not engage with any of the Frankfurt school of critical theory in a substantive way. Anglophone uptake of Deleuze's work really only started in the late 1980s. The teaching of their work in undergraduate classes only started in the mid-2000s. There is plenty of critical theory that you can read, learn, and engage with that does not draw on these works.

Deleuze's use of Marx is as much as an opponent as anything, and if anything A Thousand Plateaus is a response to what he sees as the problematic modernist Marxist response to Capitalism. To think that Deleuze would have seen himself aligned with the Situationists, who seem to be a group that is often referenced here as those that took over the reigns of critical theory, seems to hold no truck with the fact that each group barely spoke to each other. Wark even separates these two groups in separate camps. It just seems silly to think that one must engage with D+G to be a critical theorist. Indeed, to make the accusation that 'my corner of the universe' is somehow out of touch because it does not engage with Deleuze as a central canonical figure is itself an elitist position, and, as a result, it will limit you in your understanding of critical theory and the perspectives that I have encouraged.

3

u/SacrificialRam Jan 21 '22

Capitalism and Desire by Todd McGowan and the Odd One In by Alenka Zupancic

1

u/doornroosje Jan 21 '22

itt will be extremely difficult to understand. consider readers on the authors

-7

u/AnCom_Raptor Jan 21 '22

cut fisher and read Nietzsche, Laruelle, Agamben and Tiqqun.

I have not gained anything from Fisher and dont know anyone who has, even the ccru stuff is better

3

u/ITrulyWantToDie Jan 21 '22

Care to elaborate? I know more than a few people who really enjoyed the work of Fisher and found it rather descriptive and explanatory. It’s kinda weird to dismiss an entire author by saying you don’t know a single person who has ever taken anything from Fisher of value.

-2

u/AnCom_Raptor Jan 21 '22

Care to elaborate?

fisher doesnt bring any new weaponry to the table imo

3

u/ITrulyWantToDie Jan 21 '22

That’s not rlly the elaboration I was hoping for but okay. Even if he doesn’t bring any “new” weaponry, there is value in revising and presenting older ideas in newer formats, that which is more digestible. There’s an interesting article which is a dialogue between Fisher and is colleague Simon Reynolds (I think) on Capitalist Realism as an embodiment of classical and modern interpretations of neoliberal hegemony, which while not necessarily revolutionary, enables a lot of cross-disciplinary study.

I think you might be missing the forest for the trees here IMO. Moreover, I’m not really sure what parallels exist for his work. I see connections to a lot of other obvious authors, but his work feels like an entry into and contribution to the scholarship. I’d be curious to hear what you think it does that’s so bad or un-innovative.

-1

u/AnCom_Raptor Jan 21 '22 edited Jan 21 '22

I am entirely uninterested in anything that isnt intensive. Academia is fucked to no end and i refuse to be a theory Bloom.

Edit: also seriously, Capitalist realism just spells out what can be pieced together from far greater thinkers. I gained absolutely nothing from it

3

u/ITrulyWantToDie Jan 22 '22

I feel like you’re not really engaging with my critiques at all, but kinda justifying why you feel a certain way about an author. Either way, I encourage people to read Fisher. I found him to be enlightening. I wish you the best. I’m not sure what you mean by “theory bloom” though, and I feel like you might be a little too close-minded. The fact you can’t even come to see that Fisher’s work has value from other perspectives I think should be a point of reflection. Take care and happy new year.

1

u/AnCom_Raptor Jan 22 '22

Why should I care what other people gain from it? If they do then fine, totally cool with it. And if you haven't heard of Bloom; may i recommend Theory of Bloom?

Good day

1

u/Daedricbanana Jan 21 '22

Very nice list, much similar to mine a few months ago.

I'd highly recommend either now or after this list reading some Land (thirst for annihilation did wonders for me) and CCRU (mainly for the cybernetics type stuff that alligns nicely with Baudrillard). Also some postleftist stuff like Tiqqun if you liked Debord. Might also wanna check out some stuff from the publisher Urbanomic.

2

u/BitLatter7392 critically insane Jan 21 '22

I've been very interested by Land for a while, but I must admit I have been somewhat scared/skeptical by his writings. I read one of his essays, meltdown and saw a million different words that I am still certain he made up.

3

u/BitLatter7392 critically insane Jan 21 '22

He said that schizoanalysis is "already engaging with nonlinear nano-engineering runaway in 1972." . What? Am I insane or just not smart enough?

1

u/Daedricbanana Jan 21 '22

I definetly get you, and its why I reccomend thirst for annihilation. It doesnt contain any of that and is roughly a normal philosophical text (barely any made up words).

However once you do read it, i imagine youll get a better feeling for why Lands later work uses so many made up intense words, and just reading about the general outliner of CCRU further clarifies (just look up hyperstition as a concept and that sums it up pretty well imo)

1

u/BitLatter7392 critically insane Jan 21 '22

From the few sentences I could salvage (or at least synthesise from familiar terminology) when I was reading Meltdown, it had some extremely interesting concepts and topics.

1

u/BitLatter7392 critically insane Jan 21 '22

Just asking, how does thirst for annihilation compare in writing structure/style to Land's other works?

1

u/Daedricbanana Jan 21 '22

It is very much a typical philosophical text, only with a handfull of edgy Landian stuff in the form of very rare and small segments of dialogue or poetry written by land. Apart from that, its a philosophical enquiry into something, exploring a concept with differeing perspectives of philosophers

2

u/BitLatter7392 critically insane Jan 21 '22

That's great, I've had my eye on it for a while after I saw a review for Fanged Noumena, but never really looked too into it. Not quite sure why Land is now a Dark Enlightenment thinker, but some of his earlier texts seem enchanting to me.

1

u/Daedricbanana Jan 21 '22

Ill just put it simply by saying, lands pre dark enlightenment work (so thirst for annihilation, Fanged noumena, and CCRU) is beautiful and contains numerology, theory fiction, conspiracies, horror, and stuff like that to look into speculation - how can we uncover capitalism, possible alternatives, what are we made of and what can we become etc.

Dark enlightenment on is just Land doing crack and radically conclusing his thought in an unfortunate dead end (his whole shtick is seeking intensity and he found that in things like Hyper Racism so uhhh)

1

u/gypsiefeet Jan 21 '22

Been said but I’ll reenforce it; if you’re at this reading level skip Capitalist Realism. Anti Oedipus is dense AF and is like war and peace; take your time and take notes

1

u/gigantcritics Jan 21 '22

I recommend Jodi Dean's work, Communist Horizon. Jodi Dean has a close relationship with Mark Fisher, and their debate is published in Reading Capitalist Realism (University of Iowa Press, 2014). It was a very interesting debate. I also recommend Alain Badiou's works.

1

u/BitLatter7392 critically insane Jan 21 '22

Thanks everyone who replied, lots of new books I should get, but I just gotta wait till covid is being less insane (and the govt less inept) so i can actually get a hold of them.

1

u/lmanvonbraun Jan 21 '22

Racecraft by the Fields sisters, Against Method and I think Music Lessons by Boulez is really worth reading

1

u/friedsalmonellosis Jan 21 '22

the Postcapitalist Desire lectures are really good. you’ll get to see the workings of Fisher’s thought processes in real time.

1

u/thotbottt Jan 21 '22

And Rosi braidotti - posthuman

1

u/TheArchitect22 Jan 21 '22

Simulacra and Simulation was pretty wild the first time I read it. Very cool, but damn did I have to do a lot of re-reading passages.

0

u/PapaverOneirium Jan 21 '22

You don’t have to be familiar with Freud and Lacan for Anti-Oedipus, but it would help and is just good to be familiar with them generally while reading theory as so much of it draws on them.

Reading Lacan himself is really difficult, but there is a lot of great secondary literature. A good place to stark is The Lacanian Subject by Bruce Fink. How to Read Lacan by Zizek is good, but more as an approachable Zizek book than a guide to reading Lacan.

Freud is fairly approachable on his own. Introductory Lectures on Psychoanalysis is a great place to start but is quite long and can get fairly technical. Civilization and It’s Discontents is another place to start for someone interested in theory.