Saturday, November 26, 2022

22nd Series – Porcelain and Volcano

In this series Deleuze explores a concept he calls "the crack," a crack in the surface organization. He uses F. Scott Fitzgerald's memoir piece, The Crack-Up as a jumping off point. In it, Fitzgerald discusses the disintegration of his life comparing it to a cracked plate (porcelain). He also looks at the crack through Malcolm Lowry's novel Under the Volcano. Deleuze attributes the crack in both these cases to alcoholism and does a brief psychological analysis of that disease.

However, the crack may have a beneficial side: "If one asks why does health not suffice, why the crack is desirable, it is perhaps because only by means of the crack and at its edges does thought occur, that anything that is good and great in humanity enters and exits through it, in people ready to destroy themselves - better death than the health we are given." (Logic of Sense, p. 164 - 165 Bloomsbury edition). Deleuze wants to know if it's possible to utilize the crack without compromising our health. The crack can also be brought about by schizophrenia (Artaud & Nietzsche), drugs or sudden loss of wealth or love, etc. Is it possible to get the revelations given by drugs and alcohol without chemical means? Counter-actualization seems a key to using the crack. Counter-actualization takes a difficult or tragic event and turns it into something else. The Crack-Up is both the title of a post-humous collection of Fitzgerald's letters and short stories and the name of a particular piece containing three short memoir stories originally written for and published in Esquire magazine. In the video, I incorrectly state that it was for Vogue magazine. It is the short story, The Crack-Up, that Deleuze uses. It can be read for free at the Internet Archive by registering for a free account. It begins on page 69 at this link.
It can also be purchased here. Under the Volcano is available here.

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