The imaginary Adventures

From Deleuze to Robbe-Grillet, and back

  • Aurélien Djian University of Lille


This paper intends to critically discuss Deleuze’s claim in Différence and Répétition (DR), according to which his philosophy of difference provides one with the means to ground what he calls “modern thought”, including “the art of contemporary novel”. It does so by focusing on one novel of one of these avant-garde novelists, namely Alain Robbe-Grillet’s In the labyrinth (IL). Using Deleuze’s philosophy of difference, as it is exposed in DR, as a guiding thread to flesh out the (purported) trait of system or deleuzian multiplicity of this novel, it will be shown that the very structure of IL cannot be accounted for but by drawing on the specific properties of the imaginary life of the narrator - a life that DR however considers as a consequence of the system of difference and repetition. A Deleuzian interpretation of IL thus appears as a secondary abstraction built on the imaginary adventure of the narrator. And this will finally allow the paper to turn the perspective upside down, opening a new way to philosophically interrogate, not only a Deleuzian interpretation of a novel, but DR itself, via Robbe-Grillet.