Asked Graham Harman three days ago (which (as has already been noted) is light years for the frequency with which he posts): ‘What are some of the great “atypical” works in the history of philosophy that do not resemble other works by that thinker?’
I would nominate Badiou and Derrida, for their writing on Deleuze. The tone Badiou chooses to adopt in his Deleuze book ranges from respectful, to discourteous, to shockingly, gracelessly coarse, to peremptory, to imperiously high-handed.. yes well..
A brilliant (as far as I can tell) book, but shot through with the traces of a personal vendetta that Badiou felt the need to let drag on after Deleuze’s death, drawing on five years of correspondence that Deleuze did not want to see published (not that any of it is, but one is left wondering if Deleuze would have appreciated the use of his letters in this way). (Parenthetically, I do realize that Deleuze himself had a hand at throwing insults around. But I always read those as much more directly connected to his use of subsversive humour).
Anyway, this personal, snide tone that runs through Clameur de l’Etre is what makes it stand out for me as uncharacteristic of his writing as a whole, which is usually mathematically clear, refreshingly lucid, sometimes too dry, with moments of beauty,
(some random examples of the last:
‘A human is that being which prefers to represent itself within finitude, whose sign is death, rather than knowing itself to be entirely traversed and encircled by the omnipresence of infinity.’, Being and Event, trans., p. 149
and most of his Fifteen theses on art, especially: 12. Non-imperial art must be as rigorous as a mathematical demonstration, as surprising as an ambush in the night, and as elevated as a star. )
‘I’ll have to wander all alone’, Derrida’s short obituary written (as they tend to be) just after Deleuze’s death, is worlds away from what was his usual, infamously convoluted style. It is really very moving and written in sensitive, and clear language (although I did always find the title strangely self-centered..).
‘There is too much to say, yes, about the time I was given, along with so many others of my ‘generation’, to share with Deleuze; about the good fortune I had of thinking thanks to him, by thinking of him.I will continue to begin again to read Gilles Deleuze in order to learn, and I’ll have to wander all alone in this long conversation that we were supposed to have together… And I would have tried to tell him why his thought has never left me, for nearly forty years. How could it do so from now on?’