Notes on: Deleuze, G.and Guattari, F. (2012) Kafka. Toward a Minor Literature. Trans. Dana Polan. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

Dave Harris

[Gripping stuff, written after AO and before ATP, so a bit transitional -- eg lots on machines and desire. Links with AO are made explicit in Bogue's commentary  Good explanations of assemblages and machines, de/reterritorialization etc. Good crits of metaphorical or analogical readings. Obvious problems for readers include reference to a wide range of Kafka's work,some of which I have not read, and debates about pushing German to its limits lost on reading English translations. There is a brief discussion with some examples on Wikipedia. I tend to note the examples that relate to work I do know as a result. Even so, I can recognise bits of heavy selection in D&G's readings -- mere sentences or paragraphs used to typify whole themes, formalism dominating over detailed contents -- some examples in ch. 8 especially. It becomes a pretty forced reading for me, with D&G condemned to continually repair their own burrow]

I also use a different strategy to make notes here, one that is more suitable for the structure of this book -- and others -- with short chapters and more conventional forms of argument with clear points and summaries etc. Why couldn't they have written AO and ATP like this?. My own short summary introduces notes in each case.]

Chapter one

[Kafka's work is a rhizome, meaning that it cannot be derived from any master reading or privileged signifiers, especially Freudian ones.  It is best considered as machinic, offering an overall unity, even though the elements vary.]

We can see rhizomes or burrows described in the work itself, such as The Castle and the hotel in Amerika [haven't read it but I have seen the film version by Straub/Huillet, which Deleuze admires and comments upon] .  This  'prevents the introduction of the enemy, the Signifier and those attempts to interpret a work that is actually only open to experimentation' (3).  For example, there are a couple of gestures that run throughout, the bent head, as content, and the portrait or photo as the form of expression.  However 'we aren't interpreting them' (4), and see them instead as 'a functional blockage' of desire, a way of fixing desire, making copies of it, stripping it from its context.  This is an impasse, but that's OK 'if it forms part of the rhizome'.  [Some examples of bent necks and photos are given.  It follows from the above that the straightened head or a musical sound represents the opposite of a blocked desire, new connections, deterritorialization].  However, music itself occurs as 'a pure sonorous material' rather than some experimental form, for example when the animals sing or make music.

[A good example is a shortish story 'Investigations of a  Dog' ,where the canine hero realizes there is more to the world than appears after seeing some strange dogs engaging in some sort of musical performance. The music itself dominates thought and dissolves it into a kind of ecstasy. It is very easy to read this, and the whole story, as an allegory though -- the dogs are actually swept away by mating and romantic love, amour fou?. The hero also investigates a number of issues such as where does food come from, and, en route, mocks speculative philosophers who appear as 'hovering dogs', then engages in a comic form of positivist investigation himself. Is this a demonstration of the experimentation admired below, or a parody? The hero mentions the use of metaphor explicitly, then says a particular one is unsatisfactory -- this might not be a dismissal of the whole form though? D&G urge us to ignore these matters to concentrate on their own rather formalist and structural analysis -- but you miss a lot of specific content if you do that?]

They are not going to try to find archetypes, free associations, or any kind of conventional interpretation, including tracking binaries like the ones just used.  The point is to look at the whole system and how heterogeneity is managed, 'what element is going to play the role of heterogeneity' (7), how the whole assembly forms and breaks away from conventional symbolic structures, and thus from conventional hermeneutic interpretation.  The main theme instead is a politics, 'that is neither imaginary nor symbolic'; machines 'that are neither structure nor phantasm'; experimentation 'that is without interpretation or significance and rests only on tests of experience'.

The contents and expressions in Kafka have been 'formalized to diverse degrees by unformed materials', processed by a machine.  Movements around a text are components of the machine, so are states of desire and even lines of escape—'the animal is part of the burrow- machine' [clear in the short story 'The Burrow', where the obsession with defending the burrow dominates the life of the animal] .  The machine itself seems to vary in terms of its unity and the extent to which it completely incorporates human beings, and sometimes the unity of the machine is nebulous, as in The Trial, which makes it hard to say what is inside and what is outside, or segmented as in The Castle, and here 'desire is not form but a procedure, a process' (8).

Chapter two

[The double aspect of Oedipal exaggeration is the issue, and its production of triangles in the wider society and in politics: the latter even cause the psychological aspect of Oedipus, not the other way around -- reminiscent of Adorno et al on the social roots of the authoritarian personality.]

Kafka himself has criticized attempted Oedipal interpretations [centred particularly on his Letter to the Father -- haven't read it].  We actually seen in the Letter different sorts of Oedipal relations, a 'perverse shift' (10) which has the father claiming to be innocent, but in the very process blaming the son [for blaming him].  There's also a sense in which the image of the father dominates all social relations, all regions, and this generalization extends beyond the photo.  The problem then becomes one not of liberty from fathers but of escape from authority generally, from submissiveness, to which even the father has succumbed [which is the basis of his claim to innocence].  For D and G, this shows that 'is not Oedipus that produces neurosis; it is neurosis…  A desire that is already submissive…  that produces Oedipus'.  If we work within the oedipal structure, augmenting or expanding it, or 'making a paranoid and perverse use of it', we are starting to escape from submission, generalizing away from the father to investigate the effects of 'an entire micro politics of desire, of impasses and escapes, of submissions and rectifications'.  We have to enlarge it first, and also make it absurd or comic.  We can make it comic by exaggeration, but its effect also has to be denied, not seen as the key to unhappiness, but reflecting a much broader 'entire limit-connection with the Outside that is going to disguise itself as an exaggerated Oedipus' (11

When we amplify in the interests of comedy, we see that the familial triangle borrows its effects from other triangles.  Deliberate substitution can bring about insights, such as substituting the siblings with employees, or seeing the judicial system as a family triangle [citing the triangle of 'uncle -  lawyer - Block' in The Trial, or the trios of bank employees or policeman,  or the triangles of Germans,Czechs and Jews in Prague.  The forces themselves are seen as relevant, with the father as 'a condensation of all these forces that he submits to and that he tries to get his son to submit to' (12).  The broader triangles, the technocratic apparatus or the Russian bureaucracy, constantly proliferate and deform, literally in The Trial where the bank employees might also be police agents [I recall].

So more oppressive triangles appear, but so do lines of escape, in particular 'the answer of a becoming - animal'.  Apparently, 'all children build or feel these sorts of escape, these acts of becoming - animal'.  They stand for process is of deterritorialization and reterritorialization more generally, the equivalent of Jewish resettlement.  Archetypes become spiritual versions of reterritorialization.  Becomings animal are absolute deterritorializations 'at least in principle' (13), escape, crossing the threshold, reaching 'a continuum of intensities that are valuable only in themselves...  A world of pure intensities where all forms come undone, as do all the significations, signifiers, and signifieds'.  We're left with 'unformed matter of deterritorialized flux, of non signifying signs'. 

Animals in Kafka always indicate these 'zones of liberated intensities', never archetypes.  They point to movement and thresholds, with various animals only representing particular tunnels in the rhizome.  This explains their extraordinary properties, mice that whistle or insects that can speak or think.  'Gregor becomes a cockroach not to flee his father but rather to find an escape where his father didn't know to find one'.  It is true that sometimes becoming is seen 'as a simple imitation', and sometimes flight is not seen as appropriate [supported with quotes from some of the animal texts].  However, imitation is only superficial and the point is to produce a 'a continuum of intensities in a non parallel and an asymmetrical evolution where the man becomes no less an ape than the ape becomes a man'.  Full transition would risk becoming reterritorialized  again, but a deterritorialized animal intensifies the deterritorialization of human force.  Deterritorialization 'overflows imitation' (14), just as with the orchid and the bee [this time it is a bee]. 

So to summarize, if we comically enlarge Oedipus we find both more authoritarian triangles and more lines of escape.  The Metamorphosis shows this best, as various bureaucratic triangles and trios attempt to dominate Gregor, but his becoming animal permits 'an intense line of flight' to escape both family and bureaucracy and commerce.  However, there is always the danger of the return of Oedipal force which is not finally vanquished by this process of amplification and perverse use.  Indeed, Gregor is reterritorialized, partly because he resisted going all the way, clinging on to some of his possessions for example.  This is not a matter of personal fault, rather that becoming animal remains ambiguous and insufficient - animals are still 'too formed'.  Becoming animal always oscillates 'between schizo escape and an oedipal impasse'(15), as when people become a dog without realizing that the dog is the 'oedipal animal par excellence'.  Kafka's own dissatisfaction with becoming animal led him to move on to the notion of the machine

Chapter three What Is a Minor Literature

[We have a very good account of territorialization and its forms, including de and re, which are important rather than formal properties.  Hjelmslew becomes relevant at last.  This chapter includes good political reasons to write for and as animals, as a part of developing a minority literature, so there are links with becoming as a form of deterritorialization. The last bit looks rather like Bakhtin on the dialogic nature of speech.  There are some useful definitions of intensity as well especially as it concerns writing.]

We have dealt with content so far, but it is necessary also to consider form and the deformation of expression [so it looks as if we are in  Hjemslew territory again with its splits between plane of content and plane of expression, and a second division between form and substance on each plane.  It is now possible to see the payoff because we are looking at the effects of different content on expression, instead of assuming some universal mode of expression as instructional linguistics.  Only when we look at the plane of content, its forms and substances, can we grasp minor literature?].  Expression provides us with a method and this method comes from Kafka's interest in minor language is like the 'Jewish literature of Warsaw and Prague'(16).  These people had to write since national consciousness was expressed in literature [and I'm reminded here of feminists like Cixous on the necessity for women to write to express their consciousness].  In Prague, it was necessary to write in German, but at the same time, the German population in Czechoslovakia was itself cut off and deterritorialized as an oppressive minority speaking an unpopular language.  Jews were both a part of the German minority yet further excluded from it.  This made Prague German a particularly deterritorialized language, 'appropriate for strange and minor uses' (17) similar 'to what blacks in America to day are able to do with the English language'.

Inevitably, minor literature as are inherently political.  Major literature as manage to join everything up individual concerns with those of the family or the state.  In minor literature, individuals have to engage immediately to politics, another way of connecting family triangles to other triangles as above.  Kafka is aware of this and argues that a minor literature should also address relations between fathers and sons, as a political program [as in the personal is the political].  All this is done implicitly in major literature, but is an obsession in minor literature.  Minor literature as are also collective so that each individual is already engaged in common action, on be half of others, even if they do not agree with the politics.  Such literature therefore finds itself involved in a 'collective, and even revolutionary, enunciation…  An active solidarity'.  Detachment from the community can even provide the opportunity for some new forms of community or consciousness.  In this way, minor literature is 'the relay for a revolutionary machine to come' (18).

Kafka originally thought in traditional terms about the relation between an enunciating subject and the subject of the statement, the first one as cause, the second as effect, which finds expression in the traditional narrator, the author and the hero, dreamer and dreamed, but he went on to reject this notion and with it the 'author's or master's literature' as in Goethe [and some examples follow, including one where the collective enunciation of dogs, or assemblage emerges [in the short story the Investigation of A Dog].  There's no subject, only 'collective assemblages of enunciation'.  K is not an array to or a character but an assemblage, a collective agent, something like a machine which locks and individual inside it.

So Kafka had to use the language of great literatures, but find his own patois,  his 'third world, his own desert'.  This did mean that he could cover a lot of ground in popular culture.  He went on to develop the machine of expression, something deterritorialized in multiple ways.  One way to do this is to 'artificially enrich' major German with additional symbolism or some 'esoteric sense', but these are often drawn from strange things like the archetype or the kabbalah and thus will risk reterritorialization.  Kafka made another choice, using the German language of Prague as it is, attempting to deterritorialize it even more, 'to the point of sobriety', develop its intensity instead of symbolic or normal signifying usages.  The same trends are detectable in Joyce and Beckett, attempting a 'to arrive at a perfect an unformed expression, a materially intense expression'.  As opposed to the colonizing aspects of major languages, minor language 'proceeds by dryness and sobriety, are willed poverty, pushing deterritorialization to such an extreme that nothing remains but intensities', following 'a sober revolutionary path'.  The point is to 'steal the baby from its crib, walk the tightrope'.

[Then an annoying diversion into deterritorialization, and how language involves the deterritorialization of the mouth tongue and teeth, introducing the tension between eating and writing: this apparently explains Kafka's obsession with food and fasting].  Language reterritorializes normally in conventional sense, and this goes on to govern the regulation of sounds and figurative sense, 'the affectation of images and metaphors' (20).  This also develops a subject of enunciation and a subject of the statement, with the former conforming to sense.  This a 'ordinary use of language' can be seen as 'extensive or representative', and there are examples even in Kafka.  However, minority German allows more invention, but if we abandon sense or leave it implicit.  In particular, sound has to be deterritorialized, as made by animals and including music.  The language of sense follows a line of escape through the 'line of abolition' of organized music (21).  Particular accented words can also indicate this.  Children do this when they speak words but without understanding what they are saying, and Kafka did this as a child.  Different accents on syllables of proper names can also imply a new meanings [the example is the proper name Milena, which when emphasized in particular ways can allude to Greek origins, or a 'lucky leap'].

As sense is actively neutralized, simple designations or metaphors no longer work and we are left with 'a sequence of intensive states', and these can be connected in all sorts of ways.  This is an image of becoming.  In majority languages, the word dog designates an animal and has been used in a conventional set of metaphors.  But Kafka rejects metaphor, symbolism, signification and conventional designation.  Language is deterritorialized, so there is no conventional resemblance between animals and men, say.  Instead, 'it is now a question of the becoming that includes the maximum of difference as a difference of intensity, the crossing of a barrier' (22).  Words are pulled from language and given 'tonalities lacking signification', neither the language of the man nor the dog.  It follows there is no longer a subject of the enunciation nor subject of the statement.  Instead, there is a circuit, 'a multiple or collective assemblage'.

The elements of German in Czechoslovakia that were particularly useful can be seen as 'intensives or tensors', expressing the internal tensions of the language.  There is a special notion of intensive here which relates to moves towards the limit of a notion or a surpassing of it in language, movement of languages towards extremes, including a 'a reversible beyond or before'.  Apparently, these are listed by a person called Sephilia in Hebrew, and may include 'conjunctions, exclamations, adverbs; and terms that connote pain', and they can act as 'all sorts of master words, verbs or prepositions that assume all sorts of sense'.  Apparently, accents can also be discordant.  For Prague German, these have been listed by a certain Wagenbach, (23) and include 'incorrect' use of prepositions and pronominals [phrase relating to or containing a pronoun],  'malleable verbs' with different meanings, sequences of adverbs, 'the use of pain filled connotations', and discordant distributions of consonants and vowels.  These errors have been used by Kafka to produce 'a new sobriety, a new expressivity, a new flexibility, a new intensity'.  People note these discordances.  Language therefore is no longer representative but moves towards its extremities, and this is painful.  Another example is Godard, working with 'stereotypical adverbs and conjunctions' which deliberately impoverish French as a creative process to link words to images in a new way, 'a generalized intensification', especially when pushed to its limit so the audience has had enough.  The 360 degree pan [great examples in Weekend] also makes 'the image vibrate'.

A way forward for research would be to look at the functions of language across different languages.  The functions of language in a single language clearly display 'social factors, relations of force, diverse centers of power', far more than just information.  Communities that speak several languages, such as 'vernacular, maternal, and territorial', sometimes combined with a major international language offer different functions and categories: 'vernacular language is here; vehicular language is everywhere; preferential languages over there; mythic language is beyond'.  The distributions of these languages vary according to social group.  What can be said in one language need not be possible in another, providing 'ambiguous edges, changing borders' (24), and again this is implicated in social power [one example is use of the vernacular to say Mass].  The Hapsburg empire as it declined produced complex reterritorializations sometimes based on myth or other symbols [and other examples are given].

In Prague, Jews forgot or repressed the Czech language of their origins, had an ambiguous relationship to Yiddish which is also seen as frightening or suspicious, spoke German as the vehicular language of the towns and the state, and experienced the spread of English as a commercial language of exchange.  German language took on a 'a cultural and referential function'(25), Hebrew was a mythical language but had become connected with Zionism expressing a kind of 'active dream'.  Kafka was fluent in all of these, and also knew French and Italian.  He had an interesting relation to Yiddish, seeing it more as 'a nomadic movement of deterritorialization that reworks German language', expressed best in popular theater rather than religious community.  Yiddish itself lacks a grammar and borrows a range of 'vocables' associated with emigration and nomadism.  It is hard to translate into German, apparently, so 'one can understand Yiddish only by "feeling it" in the heart'.

Others [the Prague school] infused German with all sorts of extra symbolic or mystic flights, a "hypercultural' option.  Another possibility is a more 'oral or popular Yiddish', but Kafka develops a unique form, more deterritorialized and sober, 'a pitiless rectification'(25-6), building on qualities of underdevelopment.  He gets to noises made by dogs or beetles, he heads towards 'absolute deterritorialization', turning a 'syntax into a cry'.  This is a major revolutionary challenge to the major language and its masters – hence the interest in servants and employees.  Above all though, Kafka makes his own language, 'assuming that it is unique, that it is a major language or has been', using it in the interests of the minor, becoming a stranger in his own language.  The language remains a mixture with different functions of language and different centers of power, interreacting, heading towards deterritorialization.  There is not just a lexical but syntactical invention ['sober' D and G insist], trying to write like a dog, and imagining the difficulties.  It is similar to Artaud and his language of cries and gasps [in Logic of Sense] , or Celine [I really liked Celine's Long Day's Journey Into Night, a view of war and society from the persepctive of a cynical underdog, a kind of class-based minority language].  Experiment always ends in 'silence, the interrupted, the interminable, or even worse' (26), but en route it is extremely creative.

The language is 'always made up of deterritorialized sounds', a minor music.  Hence the phrase that crops up in ATP, plateau one 'An escape for language, for music, for writing. What we call pop—pop music, pop philosophy, pop writing'.  We need to reawaken these linguistic possibilities and make a minor or intensive use of them, 'to find points of non culture or under development, linguistic Third World zones by which a language can escape' (27).  So many genres or literary movements aspire to be a major language, a state or official language [and the example is 'psychoanalysis today, which would like to be a master of the signifier, of metaphor, of wordplay'].  We should head for the opposite to 'create a becoming- minor'.  That includes reversing the trend in philosophy which has long attempted to be 'an official, referential genre'.  Instead we should celebrate the 'moment in which antiphilosophy is trying to be a language of power'[which includes their own collaboration to help Deleuze escape from philosophy?].

Chapter four

[A penetrating analysis of minor literature as wanting to manage aspects of forced subjectivity, [or interpellation].  For example (1) the letters enable Kafka to work with a split self, a self which is the subject of enunciation and of the statement.  The two are joined together in major literature.  There's a more reflexive awareness of the role of enunciation in creating the subject.  However, there is always a danger of unity being imposed again.  (2) the becoming- animal stories can also be seen as a way out of the old constraints of subjectivity, a form of liberated writing [which explains for the first time by becoming animal was the only way out for Little Hans]. There are still problems here because animals themselves risk being grasped in terms of human or animal politics.  (3) assemblage theory, the main theory of the major novels.  Here the subject is enmeshed in huge social or political assemblages, with political critique as a major theme throughout.  There are also warnings of dreadful machines to come.  However, D and G insist that the underlying tone is humorous {perhaps in this special sense of pointing to unintended consequences?}]

There are some simple binary opposites in Kafka, like bent or straightened head for content, and photo or sound for expression.  However, the use of sound in particular permits lines of flight.  It 'induces a becoming - animal'(28), and links back to the straightened head [paves the way for new forms of expression and subjectivity].  So there is no simple set of binaries, but rather a whole 'expression machine capable of disorganizing its own forms and of disorganizing its forms of contents'.  The result is a 'to liberate pure contents that mix with expressions in a single intensive matter'.  Major languages are simpler, with a vector that goes from content and expression, and where content is usually given.  Minor literature, however express themselves first and don't conceptualize until later, breaking conventional forms.  Inevitably, this leads to new thinking about contents, taking over conventional contents or anticipating new ones.  Kafka develops this literary machine in several ways.

In the letters, there was apparently no intention of publication, but they seem essential to understanding the machine overall.  They are experimental, even 'diabolical'(29).  When writing letters, fabrication is always involved, for example in the form of some implicit woman 'who is the real addressee' even in letters to friends or the father.  What's involved here is a whole form of deterritorialized love, where the love letter substitutes for love, and the relation with the reader substitutes for 'the feared conjugal contract', a literary machine, but still based on cliche.  'The letters are a rhizome, a network, a spider's web'.  They also exhibit and a 'epistolatary' vampirism [Kafka is preying on the people he is writing to, gaining life from these letters.  He is particularly impressed by the ability to communicate over distance, and how electronic communications in particular offer a kind of ghostly presence]. 

The letters also necessarily split the conventional subject.  In major languages, there is a subject of enunciation, 'the form of expression that writes the letter', and the subject of the statement, 'the form of content that the letter is speaking about' (30).  Kafka is able to subvert this, shifting the whole emphasis on to the subject of the statement, and the way it this is affected by the very movement of communication, the sending of the letter, the personnel like the postman or messenger who also act as subjects of enunciation, even taking the place of the original subject of enunciation.  The process itself maintains social relationships, as when writing frequent letters, and celebrating receiving them, substitutes for actual personal relations.  Insisting on exchanging letters is the alternative to a conjugal contract.  Desire is expressed as movement affecting the subject of the statement, and also constructing movement for that subject [an imagined relationship with a complementary response].  This is one of the examples of a doubling in Kafka, which is continued in stories of two brothers, or discussions of friends who may or may not exist outside of the letters.

There's also an interesting struggle involved in the letters, a way of managing conjugality, in the form of the endless discovery of obstacles preventing conjugality on the part of the subject of enunciation, and constant attempts to overcome those obstacles by the subject of the statement.  There are endless obstacles and conditions in Kafka, providing 'a double and dark reversal of the stages of a romantic love and of marriage' (32).  This helps the subject of enunciation claim innocence and impotence, while the subject of the statement insist they have done everything possible.  Thus 'everyone is innocent, that is the worst of possibilities'.  When it is the letter to the father, the effect is to exorcise Oedipus.   In general, the letters show how the writing machine or expression machine operates.  It is no coincidence that lots of novels use the epistolatory form as well.  [An opportunity for Gale and Wyatt here to use e-mail exchanges for the same purposes?  Hence the endless obstacles and heroics struggles to overcome them facing their efforts to write intensively and beautifully?]

This shows how letters manage guilt, and this is displayed in Kafka on judgement, and the way of dealing with the women he loves.  However, this dealing with guilt is not ultimately successful, and 'the guilty one is ultimately the subject of the statement'(32).  D and G detect underneath the guilty surface, 'an intimate laugh'.  Guilt reflects some external judgement and only affects the weak soul.  The real problem is that 'writing machine will turn against the mechanic', and that there will be no escape from the rhizome, that there will be a final lack of invention.  There will be payback from external diabolical powers, innocent or not, as in The Trial, the 'return of destiny' (33), induced by fatigue and inability to maintain the construction of the subject of the statement.

[This use of letters is compared to Proust's letters, page 33 -- see my summary  Both use letters to manage 'the proximity of the conjugal contract'.  Love letters wish away any binding contracts.  The doubled subject also appears in Proust, together with endless obstacles and conditions, and surfers guilt conceals a 'deeper panic' (34) that he will be eventually trapped by all the messages and letters, like the one he sends to Albertine not knowing that she is dead.  Both maintain and guard space short distance to manage proximity.  Even Proust's imprisonment of Albertine make sense of and inversion of this procedure, a way of keeping Albertine distant even while she is imprisoned].

There are the animal stories, animalistic even if they don't actually include animals.  The point is to try and find a way out, an option not on offer in the letters.  The writing machine requires something else, suggested by an animal nature in one of the women he writes to.  Kafka attempts to become animal, first through exploring metamorphosis.  This offers a line of escape if not full freedom [the jackals prefer to retreat rather than kill the Arabs].  This depiction of animal nature is even a 'the more correct one from the point of view of Nature itself' (35).  The elements of the animal stories include: (1) no distinction between animals being treated as an animal and animals metamorphosing: there is only 'a single circuit of the becoming human of the animal and becoming animal of the human'; (2) two deterritorializations combine in metamorphosis, where the animal is forced to flee all to serve the human, butts where the animal also indicates ways out for the human which had not been thought of before '(schizo- escape)'; (3) becoming animal might be a slow process, but it heads towards absolute deterritorialization of humans, more radical than deterritorialization produced by shifting locations.  Becoming animal 'is an immobile voyage that stays in one place; it only lives and is comprehensible as an intensity (to transgress the thresholds of intensity)'.

Becoming animal is not metaphoric,symbolic or allegorical.  It is not a punishment, but 'a map of intensities... an ensemble of states'(36).  There is no dualistic subject here, but 'a single process, a unique method that replaces subjectivity'.  However, they also face 'insufficiencies'.  The whole process could end with changing into an animal, another 'impasse of the line of escape'.  There is a momentum towards absolute deterritorialization, however, a more productive line of escape than would be provided in the letter.  However there are certain potentials in becoming animal, possibilities that the process will be ended with 'two equally real poles—a properly animal pole and a properly familial one'.  This is especially apparent with becoming dog.  The only option to avoid these two possibilities would be to develop analysis and speculation a much greater length and could be accommodated in short stories, some 'third science'.  Gregor [in Metamorphosis] also ended with being reOedipalised, and became dead [sic].  All the animals risk this fate [an oscillation 'between a schizo Eros and  an 'Oedipalised Thanatos'].  There is a threat [to creativity] that this will be dealt with by the return of metaphor. 

Overall, the animal stories show the expression machine struggling with the real, pointing to a line of escape, but also showing the inability to follow it.  The novels develop this further in the form of 'a more complex assemblage' (37), already implicit in the animal stories.  The problem was that the animals were still to individuated, and too perceptible [open to conventional perceptions].  We then see a development away from becoming animal toward 'becoming molecular'[apparently depicted in terms of thousands of experiences and possibilities in the stories, often at the micro scale].  The 'molecular multiplicity' is itself managed by a 'machinic assemblage', with independent parts but a common function [strange examples given based on work I have not read, page 37.  Apparently some of the animal stories end by opening up into multiplication and machinic assemblages, and this is a theme that cannot be provided for within short stories but only novels—see the 'third science' above.  Writing about the organization of animals in more detail, would not have fully depicted 'the violence of an Eros that is bureaucratic, judiciary, economic, or political' (38).

The novels abandon the notion of becoming animal.  Becoming animal cannot be developed into a an adequate novel, unless it also features 'sufficient machinic indexes that go beyond the animal'.  However, some novels were abandoned because Kafka found a way to write an animal story instead.  An adequate novel requires some connection with concrete sociopolitical assemblages.  Kafka himself did not always succeed in producing works that met these criteria, but even the failures can be seen as 'a branch of the rhizome' (39).  The animal stories sometimes provided material that indicated the need for another kind of material [lots of examples from the writing – the only one I understood was the short story 'The Penal Colony' [in my edition of the short stories 'Inside the Penal Settlement'] , which does indeed feature a bizarre machine which executes people by engraving the sentence upon their bodies, but even so this was too mechanical and too oedipal].  In the large novels, the machine is not so mechanical, but appears in social assemblages, and depicts 'effects of inhuman violence and desire that are infinitely stronger than those one can obtain with animals or with isolated mechanisms'.  Even so, sometimes these machines are not effectively incarnated in the novels, and D and G claim to detect these in examples of some of the other work.

The three elements communicate transversally [with examples - even The Trial cites archaic notions of becomings- animal.  I'll have to have another look].  Sometimes, the link goes the other way, so that work on socialist images can lead to rereading of becomings animal, as examples of trials, or when components in the letter delivery system become machinic.  Nevertheless, the whole writing machine is not a sign of despair or impotence, 'A rhizome, a burrow, yes—but not an ivory tower.  A line of escape, yes—but not a refuge' (41).  The descriptions of bureaucracy still provide a line of escape, at least in the sense of pointing to even worse examples knocking at the door.  Expression always proceeds content, as long as that content is not grasped by earlier signification, is 'nonsignifying'.  This gives Kafka a sense of 'invincible life' coming from all the forms he uses, even when they failed, a dynamism shown when they communicate with each other, classic 'conditions of a minor literature'.  Kafka is not interested in intimacy, solitude or guilt.  He likes to offer these but only as traps, as part of his humor.  There is no agony and impotence or interior tragedy, but an inner joy, joie de vivre..  Here is always a political author, pointing to the potential of assemblages and nomads, connecting with 'socialism, anarchism, social movements'.  His literature 'forms a unity with desire, beyond laws, states, regimes' (42).  It is always linked to specific historical political and social circumstances, though, always offering a micropolitics to challenge situations.  Thus 'everything leads to laughter...  Everything is political'.

Chapter five

[This one demonstrates the triumphant emergence of the notion of the machine, with the short stories and the letters now being read as hinting at the machinic implications, with their items as machinic indexes.  The main case study here is The Trial.  As usual, conventional, 'representational' readings have to be dismissed first, including the one that K finally succumbs to his guilt and agrees to his own execution: this is dismissed by quoting K saying that the first need was to deny any question of guilt {which I saw as a way of keeping up his morale}, and then by insisting that the final chapter on the execution was misplaced, and perhaps did not even need to be included, that the real intention of the novel was to end in interminability}.  Guilt would also deny the revolutionary potential of minority politics, of course {incidentally, an amazing note on page 96 shows that these interpretations of Kafka did indeed have considerable political importance when they were discussed by various east European communist parties, and Kafka was blamed for Prague 68.  Again, it is not too difficult to see The Trial as an allegory of the Stalinist show trials, but D and G deny any metaphorical or allegorical readings}.  Their favored interpretation is that the novel shows the immanence of desire, which is the force animating various machines, both the justice machine and K's own wish to continue to negotiate with it].

Kafka intervenes in a debate about the relationship between the law and the Good, arguing that there is no 'transcendental and unknowable law' (43) but rather a mechanism which has to be both described and dissected [this is an example of what they call humor].  The law is only an 'exterior armature' (44).  The last chapter has to be dealt with, however, where K is executed.  Kafka himself might be suggesting it was a dream, while others [a certain Max Brod] notes that the novel is really interminable by design.  The last chapter has led to certain readings saying that the novel is fatalistic, that guilt will triumph in the end, even that religion can be invoked [based on the penultimate chapter about the discussion with the priest—D and G argue that the priest turns out to be acomponent of the machine after all].

Guilt assumes some transcendental function of the law [some connection with sin].  Other approaches say that the law is simply a practical necessity [a reproduction theory].  Both these themes are 'dismantled ' however.  Instead,the operation of the legal machine constructs the law, although this is largely unrecognizable, not because it is transcendental but because it never offers any 'interiority' [knowledge of its process of construction?] : it is always going on somewhere else, next door, for example.

If we have rejected readings based on transcendent law, and some notion of interior guilt, we also have to reject to readings based on 'the subjectivity of enunciation', which appear in 'all the stupidities that have been written about allegory, metaphor, and symbolism in Kafka' (45).  These elements appear, but only as 'bait', especially to Freudians [links to the earlier bits about how the Oedipal themes really serve to extend Oedipus to external authority etc] .  It is much more important to ask how works function, rather than what their sense might be [according to some external signifiers—this is a big theme in reacting to criticisms of their own work, of course. It is what used to be called 'immanent critique' -- but overall, it is quite apologetic? Kafka offers Oedipal bits but these are only 'bait',not internal contradictions etc. Terms like rhizome and multiplicity etc prevent any kind of critique since even the dodgy bits are all part of the rhizome etc?].  These elements of transcendental law and guilt are meant to be ways to dismantle the machinic assemblages which produce them.  They have no particular function of their own, and instead, we see 'three passions, three intensities'(46) in the work, specifically 'fear, flight, dismantling' [in the letters, stories, and novels respectively]. 

'Realist and social interpretations' are more promising, but only because 'they are infinitely closer to noninterpretation'[they seem to have in mind here political readings about bureaucracies or the political options faced by Jews in Prague].  However, there is never explicit criticism in Kafka, no political anger, but instead a kind of reluctant acceptance of hierarchy.  K in The Trial and The Castle even supports the law.  Again critics have seen this as representing something, an 'internal tribunal'[a purely personal conscience?].  The real intention is to 'extract from social representations assemblages of enunciation and machinic assemblages', before dismantling them.  This is a form of external critique, and we can see it even in the animal stories, where becoming animal makes 'the world and its representation' take flight, not the animal (47) [i.e. it is a critique of 'social representation' itself, a much more fundamental form of deterritorialization, and every bit as political].

So what the writing does is to translate everything into assemblages and then dismantle them.  Kafka has to work towards the notion of assemblage, and some of the earlier stories just contain elements of what will become machines and then assemblages, 'machinic indexes', like the habits of various animals [the example is the musical dogs which are 'actually pieces of the musical assemblage']. Again we are to resist allegory or symbolism.  In Metamorphosis, there are index elements like Gregor and his sister; index-ocdssabjects, like 'the food, the sound, the photo and the apple'; index configurations, the triangles of the family and the bureaucracy; indexes that indicate process is like the bent head that straightens and the sound that latches onto the voice.  Sometimes, however, abstract machines appear without previous indices, but they often cease to function, like the execution machine in the Penal Colony.  The old notion of transcendental law and guilt is one of these, again as in the eventual failure of this machine, which can no longer develop in modern circumstances.  We can now examine some of the limits of the stories—they are forced to remain incomplete, unable to develop into novels, but remain only as a list of machinic indexes, or as examples of assembled machines that can no longer work.

In the novels, machinic indexes are no longer animals, but produce series [as in the next chapter].  The abstract machine 'diffuses' (48) into concrete social and political assemblages.  Assemblages no longer emerged and incomplete forms, but now are seen to be being dismantled.  This 'active dismantling' means Kafka does not rely on criticisms based on representation [he does not see the trial as representing Soviet bureaucracy?].  Instead, it relies on explicating some 'whole movement that is already used traversing the social field, something real but virtual, not yet actual, such as the 'diabolical powers of the future'.  There is no fully encoded and territorial assemblage, but rather the 'novelistic acceleration' of decoding and deterritorialization' [and there are parallels here with pushing the German language to go further than its existing ties to existing social arrangements?].  This is more 'intense' than just critique.  We use a critical method to develop a whole procedure, 'as an infinite virtual movement' that shows that the machinic assemblage of the trial is 'a reality that is on its way and already there'.  This Process [I'm not sure who capitalizes the word here, maybe Kafka] is interminable, 'certainly not a mental, psychical, or interior procedure'.

The whole work becomes experimental, not just an interpretation or social representation.  Kafka is asking how the assemblage functions.  In The Trial, allowing for the 'objective uncertainty about the supposed the last [two] chapter [s]'(49), we can see the movement at several levels.  At first, everything is false, even the law.  However, we know that there is a 'a power in the false' nevertheless, and it is still possible to weigh justice in some other way.  This leads to the second level, where justice itself is produced by 'desire and desire alone', and everyone participates in this desire, even the spectators, and the strange little girls outside the painter's studio.  [in one of their dramatic examples, 'The law is written in a porno book', which reminds me of the resources of parody developed in feminist critiques of porn, which suggest that the judges themselves are into porn, that trials really please msaochists].  The accused become 'the most handsome figures'.  The judges reason '"like children"'.  There is no necessity, which makes justice actually rather unstable, vulnerable to farce.  It seems to have strong elements of chance.  It's interested not so much in innocence and guilt, but in supplying enough accused people to operate, to 'bring bliss to judges, lawyers, and accused, out of a single and unique polyvocal desire'[with a hint here that the victims themselves desire repression].  Those involved in the machinery of justice are obsessed with sniffing out offences, even in gossip and other 'microevents'.

This is why justice can never be represented, because desire cannot be represented without revealing itself and its movements.  K soon notices that justice is not a matter of conflict between two parties, the desire of whom is regulated by some superior law.  Instead, 'molecular agitations' (50) are apparent, even in the back rooms and corridors.  The same goes for politics generally, where ideology might be openly debated, but 'politically the important things are always taking place elsewhere', behind the scenes, where we see the 'real immanent problems of desire and of power'.  There can be no transcendental law, and no regulation on its basis.  Desire operates continually, 'the contiguity of the offices...replaces the hierarchy'.  Everything and everyone is part of justice.  K soon realizes that he should follow his own desires horizontally, rather than employ a conventional representative, and this will be interminable.  We see 'an unlimited field of immanence instead of an infinite transcendence' (51) [and we get this difference between hierarchical and static photos and the lines of escapes permitted by sound].  The process itself develops by being extended through contiguous sites, the 'prolongable version of the continuous', with rooms behind rooms, separated by flexible barriers.

This is what the painter tells K, when offering  either definite acquittal, superficial acquittal, or unlimited postponement.  The first can never happen because that would end desire.  The second might happen in unpredictable way depending on the flux of desire, and whether or not it might be halted and repressed.  This also appears as the 'trial of the becoming - animal', where there's a danger of retrapping becoming animal in the 'familial hypostasis'[the apple thrown by Gregor's father serves to reoedipalize  him.  An apple is also eaten by K at the beginning of the trial, hinting at a chain that links Metamorphosis to The Trial -- this is surely a metaphor though? -- see below].  K chooses unlimited postponement, fully entering into the machinic assemblage of justice, rejecting the older binaries and dualisms.  He does not desire a real acquittal, nor has he simply become hopeless and guilty—those terms belong to the superficial acquittal, as do the binaries of innocence and guilt, freedom and arrest.  Innocence in particular suggests the infinite, whereas postponement persists with the notion that there is no transcendence.  There is even a kind of security in operating within the circle.  Contact with justice becomes important, so the' delay is perfectly positive and active' (52), and we see the same desire for contact and participation in the machine in The Castle. [In The Castle, the whole thing turns around getting access to minor officials, via official contacts and various influences,including the former mistress of Klamm and minor messengers etc].

Chapter six

[Some points made earlier are extended a bit here, including how triangles get extended into series.  The discussion of desire and politics  is also a particularly interesting.  On the one hand, all the participants in The Trial desire to take part in the machinery, even if it is oppressive.  Even the victims find their desire expressed in the mechanism {so this is how people come to desire their own oppression—if they are to exert their powers, it has to be within the existing social apparatus}.  This looks conservative, and conventional changes of regime are seen to have little effect, which reminded me of Weber's point that even socialist revolutionaries need a bureaucracy like capitalism and will reinstall one.  However, this opens a role for cultural politics in that great writers and philosophers have a duty to show the public that there are quite radical alternatives available, which they can continue to express their desire through, and at least they won't be too oppressive. There are hints of the 'accelerationist' position here too].

The assemblage can be seen as made up of series.  One is the series of characters who will all turn out to be functionaries of justice.  Sometimes there are subseries as well, and these can produce 'unlimited  schizophrenic proliferation'(53) like the teams of lawyers or the identical paintings.  Things come as doubles and trios: the oedipal triangle and its extensions, the doubled subject, of enunciation and of the statement.  There also scenes elsewhere of two brothers or two bureaucrats.  Mobility and immobility appear in both, and sometimes, moving doubles imply some third term, like an animating superior.  There are complex combinations, but in each case, they point to something that 'remains blocked' (54), for example becoming in the animal stories.  So the potential development of series does not take place, and this is one of the things that stops Kafka turning the animal stories into a novel [developing the series risks the other problem of interminability].

The transformation of trios and doubles 'opens up a field of immanence that will function as a dismantling, an analysis, a prognostics of social forces and currents' (55).  Once established, this permits even single central figures to proliferate, like K himself.  Distributions indicate lines of escape, flights along these lines, between the contiguous segments 'police segment, lawyer segment, judge segment, ecclesiastical segment'.  There is no restored hierarchy to manage the segments, so they become 'agents, connective cogs of an assemblage of justice, each cog corresponding to a position of desire', all communicating [the exemplary case, they say,  is the first interrogation in The Trial, where the triangular form of the tribunal splits into the judge and the opposing sides, which promptly develops other lines, to bring in the lower level inspectors and examining magistrates, servants, clerks and other assistants -- a kind of social event or haecceity being put back into its context. Later, the triangular form is replaced by horizontal lines of offices]. 

Each functionary expresses their own desire, including those who both repress and are repressed.  Desire is not a desire for power, a sadistic desire or a masochistic one: 'it is power itself that is desire.  Not a desire-lack but desire as a plenitude'(56), exactly equivalent to the components of the machine.  Everyone is fascinated by the machine and the possibility of making it work even in a small way: 'if I'm not the typist, I am at least the paper that the keys strike'.  The whole assemblage of power-desire produces more specific things like the desire for repression: 'Repression depends on the machine, and not the other way around'.  Power is not pyramidal, but 'segmentary and linear', operating through contiguity not by height or distance [the problem with this indirect discourse is knowing whether this is the view of Kafka, D and G, or both].  Each segment is a power and 'a figure of desire'.  If dismantled, each segment can form a machine of its own, as in the example of bureaucracy.  There is no desire for bureaucracy, rather a bureaucratic segment with its own sort of power, personnel and machinery, perhaps a series of bureaucracies as segments.  The division between oppressor and oppressed come from each state of the machine.  K himself is a lawyer and a judge, bureaucracy is a specific form of desire, 'at one with'[weasel!] particular functions, social fields, forms of organization.  Desire flows 'out of itself' and yet is 'perfectly determined each and every time' (57).

Kafka sees ordinary machinery as 'indexes of a more complex assemblage' [actualizations of the virtual, signs] asnd the same might be said not only of bureaucracy, but of capitalism and fascism, each possessing their own 'eros'.  They can communicate with each other as contiguous segments, in a supple way.  'Desire is fundamentally polyvocal', which makes it  'a single and unique desire that flows over everything'[the polyvocal bit refers to actual forms?].  Even if components suffer, they can still participate in the 'bliss'  of the overall machine.  There can be no revolutionary desire opposed to power, hence no social critique in Kafka, no support for socialism in Czechoslovakia, indifference towards protestors, since they will only install a range of bureaucrats of their own.  The Russian Revolution is simply a new segment.  Even institutions developed by labor movements remain as a '"nest of bureaucrats"'.  Kafka even sees himself as part of an literary machine, 'simultaneously the gears, the mechanic, the operator, and the victim'(58).

The only way to 'make a revolution' is to act on the German language, to push its deterritorialization.  This will operate soberly, to make it take flight on a straight line, make it segment.  Expression must dominate content and form.  The proliferation of series can play this role, and Kafka will extend this process to 'the point of an absolute molecular deterritorialization'.  Instead of criticism, there's a need to 'connect to the virtual movement that is already real even though it is not yet in existence'[it is being stopped by 'conformists and bureaucrats'].  This is not pessimistic nor science fiction [it is rather pathetic and self deluding though?]. 

This process of acceleration and extension will connect 'the finite, the contiguous, the continuous, and the unlimited'[so this is also a source of Deleuze's apparent support for  'accelerationism'?].  America is spreading its capitalism, [at the time], Germany and Austria were collapsing, paving the way for fascism, the Russian revolution had entered its bureaucratic show trial, anti Semitism was spreading to the working classes: nasty desires were everywhere, 'thanatos also' (59).  The official revolution was not working, so only a literally machine was available which would 'anticipate the precipitations, that would overcome diabolical powers before they become established'.  The old divisions between oppressors and oppressed have to be rethought, and the gloomy future predicted, 'hoping all the while that this act will also bring out lines of escape'.  In particular, they have to be 'asignifying' [to avoid further capture?], going along with movements, extending them, 'in order to make it return to you, against you, and find a way out'.

However, although this might apply to becoming-animal, that escape was too slow and easy to recapture.  With the latest series and segments, a different process occurs, of increased deterritorialization, that sweeps away both capitalism and socialism.  This will split desire itself into 'two coexisting states', attached to segments on the one hand, states of the machine with particular content and expression, as in distinctive capitalist desire or fascist desire, and on the other hand taking flights along the whole line, 'reaching up to the unlimited realm of the field of immanence or of justice', finding a way out after discovering that machines 'are only the concretions of historically determined desire', and that continuing desire will undo them [sounds a bit like a radical version of how anomie develops with an increase in moral density].  The first state of desire displays 'the paranoiac transcendental law' that constantly attempts to complete and crystallize a finite segment.  The second is 'the immanent schizo-law...  an anti law, a "procedure" that will dismantle all the assemblages of the paranoiac law'.  We see  again the necessity to discover assemblages and then dismantle them, developing lines of escape that animals can not take or create. This line is not just present 'in spirit', because writing is also a machine, 'no more superstructural than any other, no more ideological than any other' (60), sometimes taken over by capitalists or bureaucrats as well as revolutionaries.  But even here, the literary machine of expression can anticipate or precipitate contents that 'concern an entire collectivity'[as in becoming-minority].  This is 'antilyricism', where we grasp the world instead of escaping from it.

In practice, we find the two states of desire mixed together, so that fascist or bureaucratic regimes can still be revolutionary, which makes critique difficult again.  Noncritique in Kafka is far more dangerous [it's really a kind of immanent critique as in Critical Theory, but without the Marxism?].  It depends on two different movements, which are intertwined.  One creates ' great diabolical assemblages' which sweeps everyone along, reterritorializing first, the paranoid option, [fixing the status and occupation of everybody?], then deterritorializing [as in fascist chaos?].  The other one pushes desire through all the assemblages and segments, never territorializing on one of them, always holding out 'the innocence of the power of deterritorialization that is the same thing as escape', the schizo option.  We see this in the way that Kafka's heroes often begin as attached to some segment or other, and then get repelled or made marginal, accelerating away to avoid being captured again [examples from The Castle -- K is constantly following leads then getting rebuffed, and makes enemies such as the landlady of the inn].  What we get is not a hesitation between choosing one or the other but 'an immanent experimentation'(61).  Contact and contiguity [an increase in moral density] weakens transcendental claims and provides 'an active and continuous line of escape'.

[The two states coexist in the piece from The Trial published as A Dream, which I have not read.  Our heroes prefer it to the last chapter, the 'false ending' where K gets reterritorialized after all].  We can also see it by comparing photos of bent heads, again, a symbol of oedipal reality, opposing metamorphosis, with the different photos portraits and images in The Trial, which have the effect of changing people, offering a 'perturbation of situations and characters', opening up a new series, and thus exploring 'uncharted regions that extend as far as the unlimited field of immanence'.]

Chapter seven

[There seems to be a bit of anticipation of reader questions here, almost narrative tension!  I read the chapter above and thought OK what connects the series—must be some kind of metaphor surely?  But no, what connects the series are special connectors which are themselves polysemic/polyvalent, especially women, who can be sister, maid, and whore in different contexts or segments.  I'm not sure if feminists will like this or not, and would want to point out that women are also not-men in all sorts of additional ways as well.  Then we divert into different types of incest and links with sadomasochism—both misunderstood by Freudians.]

Through several young women actors the connectors between series.  They are sometimes attached to one or another segment, sometimes they spread across different segments.  However, what's really interesting is that they also connect with or are contiguous with 'the essential' (63), for example with the castle or with the trial.  They can usually help K.  They also animate desire, meaning that 'social investments are themselves erotic', and the reverse (64).  The role of particular young women can stop when a segment is broken or connected, but it isn't always women who restore the connections.

The women are 'part sister, part maid, part whore', 'anticonjugal and antifamilial'.  [Examples from the work follow -- Frieda the former mistress of Klamm, or Olga who falls in love with K and wises him up about the labyrinthine structure of the Castle --K seems to be a very attractive man who gets women instantly].  These three qualities offer three components of the lines of escape, 'three degrees of freedom' (65).  The sisters belong to the family and can therefore make it 'take flight' [supported by a quote from Kafka saying that he can become his writing self in the company of his sisters].  The maids and other lonely employees a particular victims of the bureaucratic machine and therefore 'have the greatest desire of making it take flight'.  They do this in the form of minor characters, 'silent underdogs' who are insolent and rebellious.  The whores are at the intersection of all the machines, family, conjugal and bureaucratic, and they produce a particularly deep enchanting estrangement.  Ideally, or combined, sometimes in the same character.

This introduces a form of schizo-incest, unlike the conventional version in psychoanalysis, which sees incest entirely in terms of attraction for the mother, or at least a reaction formation.  There are similarities with masochism, also misunderstood by psychoanalysis.  [A lengthy parenthesis refers to the work on Sacher Masoch.  First some similarities are noticed with Kafka, especially a contract {a pact with the devil in the case of Kafka}, becoming animal, researching isolation {Masoch investigated the life of prisoners}, their minority origins and fascination for Jews, who include maids and whores}.  Both can be seen as developing a minority literature and engaging in political activity based on it.  Masochism is however 'a weak method'(67) in this respect].  Conventional notions of incest turns on relations with the mother, 'a reterritorialization', but schizo incest focuses on relations with sisters, and/or those 'on the other side of the class struggle' and is thus aimed at deterritorialization.  Conventional incest attempts to transgress a 'paranoiac transcendental law' if only symbolically, and then goes on to repeat 'the familial - conjugal triangle'.  Schizo incest obeys only the schizo-law which is immanent, and follows a line of escape without reproduction of the triangle, 'a progression instead of a transgression' [followed by one of their marvelous evidential asides: '(problems with the sister are certainly better than problems with the mother a schizophrenics well know)'.  [We have this link to photos and conventional representation on the one hand, and sound on the other with its ability to take flight and incorporate 'memory-less childhood blocks'[what they?  Infantile sensations?] There is the maximum of connection rather than a single signifier [with an example of the women in Metamorphosis, one with a covered neck in a photo, and another with uncovered neck playing the violin - they are making it up as they go along I swear, parodying symbol hunters]. Further examples arise where women link segments or have multiple functions, sometimes ending a segment when they break up with K, a kind of voluntary end of deterritorialization.  Each eroticizes their own segment.  Alternative interpretations are mentioned briefly, but overall, each woman deterritorializes K 'by making territories'(68).

There is also a 'a sort of homosexual effusion'.  This is not the oedipal version again, but a matter of relations between 'doubles...  brothers or...  bureaucrats'.  Apparently, this is all indicated by the 'famous, tight clothes that Kafka so loved', and loss of characters wear them.  However these doubles are only 'homosexual indexes', and there are other 'manifest' (69) relationships: apparently, the relation with the painter in The Trial had to be self - censored because it was too explicit.  These relationships show different sorts of series or 'active elements': first, there is the ordinary series, corresponding to particular segments, and where terms appear 'by proliferating bureaucratic doubles with all the marks of homosexuality'.  Secondly, there is the 'remarkable series', where young women illustrate turning points in the ordinary series where segments end, begin or split: these reveal 'the function of eroticization or of schizo-incest'.  Finally there is the 'singular series', the manifestly homosexual relations with the artist, 'which overflows all the segments and sweeps up all the connections', revealing 'a shifting and continuous line of flight', a new arrangement of all the points of connection with new possibilities.

There are corresponding remarkable and singular points of connection, and these are often 'aesthetic impressions...  Sensible qualities, odors, lights, sounds, contacts, or free figures of the imagination, elements from a dream or nightmare'.  They also introduce chance [the example relates to The Substitute, which I have not read], and thus can determine new couplings or proliferate series.  However, they are not aesthetic in themselves, because Kafka displays 'antilyricism...anti-aestheticism'(70), working with real events not impressions, and killing metaphor.  Although aesthetic impressions in their own right are found in the early work, the later work produces instead 'a sobriety, a hyper-realism, a machinism that no longer makes use of them', and they are replaced by more objective points of connection, so many signals or points in a series.  Nor should we think of the projection of phantasms, even if these points coincide with female characters all the homosexual artist, because the characters are themselves  'objectively determined pieces and cogs of the machine of justice', playing a parts in a life plan or discipline, or method.  The artist in The Trial is far from being an aesthete, but an 'artist machine', but a machine of expression operating independently of aesthetics and the limits of the characters themselves.  The characters 'receive their objective nature from the machine of expression, and not the other way around'.

The artistic machine is a 'bachelor machine' [and a note refers us here to a critic, a certain Michel Carrouges, who notes that bachelor machines are fantastic machines in literature, including some of Kafka's work, especially The Penal Colony].  Bachelor machines plug into social fields through multiple connections.  The desire of the bachelor is 'much a larger and more intense than incestuous desire and homosexual desire', but they are prone to exhibiting 'lowered intensity... mediocrity... or even a suicidal desire' (71).  However, intensities are still produced.  Bachelors are particularly deterritorialized; they travel light; they follow lines of escape 'in a pure intensity'[subject only to their own feelings?].  Flight itself is the only way in which they touch earth.  Bachelors are not aesthetic, but they are artistic, relating to the world as 'a continuous and artistic line' [pleasing themselves?], 'With no family, no conjugality'.  Bachelors are therefore 'social-dangerous, social-traitor, a collective in himself'.  Bachelors produce 'intensive quantities' ranging from dirty letters to the 'unlimited oeuvre', and these are produced 'directly on the social body, in the social field itself'.  The bachelor represents a machine that's both social and collective and also solitary, tracing a line of escape, but in the process being able to speak to or for 'a community whose conditions haven't yet been established'.  This is the objective counterparts of the machine of expression relating to a minor literature where there is no longer any individual concern.  These intensive qualities, the production of series, the polyvalent connections 'brought about by the bachelor agent—there is no other definition possible for minor literature'[weird stuff, getting close to the idea of the free floating intellectual?].

Chapter eight

[On the 'blocks' in Kafka's work and two ways of connecting them. Includes a diagram of transcendental vs immanent connections! I was going to draw one of these once but wasn't sure where to put the virtual level (above? below? etc). Then a discussion of becoming via 'childhood blocks']

There are also apparently contradictory blocks and fragments, as well as all the contiguities and continuities.  The short story on the Great Wall of China illustrates this [I have read this, it is an interesting story of how the Wall was deliberately left incomplete, the point being to rally local communities to build their own sections of the Wall as a form of social bonding.  Incidentally, I have heard this sort of account also used to explain isolated massive earthworks in bronze age Britain, perhaps even Stonehenge].  These discontinuities however indicate the presence of some transcendental [even 'reified' (72)] or abstract machine.  Transcendent authority imposes itself in this form of blocks with spaces between them [to stop the blocks getting together].  This is 'an astronomical construction'.  The only final unity of the fragmented Wall is found in the imperial tower.

There's another construction as well, however, discovered through the novels, a matter of unlimited deferral, schizo law, another assemblage, belonging to nomads.  This is reflected in the division between the limited and discontinuous short stories compared to the continuous and unlimited structure of the novels.  There are still blocks, however, but this time they are aligned to form a segment.  They also change their form, 'that the very least by moving from one point of view to another three), often turning into openings into corridors, sometimes with backdoors that join them together.  This is 'the most striking topography in Kafka's work'.  We see some of these connections in The Trial, say where there is a door in the room of the artist which opens onto a further office of the court.  It is often these back doors that represent contiguity, although there are other connections as well.  [Then the diagram, which works equally well as a model of transcendent levels (State 1) and of immanent levels (State 2)]:


These 'two states of architecture' (75) are both distinct and interpenetrated.  They represent different bureaucracies, the old imperial form and the new capitalist or socialist form, and the mixtures between them [old forms are sometimes given contemporary makeovers].  Thus Kafka works in a modern insurance company, but it is also contained in an older capitalism.  He was probably also thinking about constructivism in the Russian revolution, including the Tatlin tower, 'a paranoiac avant-garde'[incorporating the people, but also capable of serving as a panoptican?  The actual example is another construction by Moholy-Nagy].  Modern organizations are therefore divided into 'archaisms with a contemporary function and neoformations' with mixed forms between these poles.  Kafka was among the first to recognize this as a problem [some Russian constructivists are cited as well].  The Castle is a classic mixed case, with both towers and contiguous offices.  This architecture also explains why Orson Welles was interested in Kafka [discussed as influencing infinite stairways high angle shots, wide angle and depth of field, contiguous traversals, page 76 -- Welles is much discussed in Cinema 2].

We see from the diagram that the contiguous and the faraway are aligned, as are the distant and the close in the first example [philosophically or socially faraway and distant, that is].  This arises from 'experimentation and concepts'.  [And then some weaseling about how even the close blocks in the transcendental diagram are still far away in the sense that the gaps between them can never be closed, and similarly that the tower is infinitely distant in social and political terms, yet always ready to supervise closely the blocks.  More wordplay and weaseling ensues].  Overall, both distant and close refer to the dimension of height, while contiguous and faraway refer to the dimension of length: hence elements can be both close and distant.  Usually, the 'two functioning architectural groups' (77) are found in specific linkages: 'infinite - limited - discontinuous - close and distant' vs.  'Unlimited - continuous - finite - far away and contiguous'[models one and two respectively].

Blocks persist in both, however, blocks of words 'unities of expression' or 'unities of content', sometime given a positive virtue, where all the powers are preserved, but also some time showing artificiality or stereotypicality [Kafka did not like the stereotypes in Dickens—blocks here seem to refer to characterizations].  Kafka makes his blocks change nature and function in a way that is 'increasingly sober and polished' (78)—blocks of the Great Wall distributed in 'discontinuous arches of the circle'; segments on a straight line with variable intervals.  The Trial perfects the methods in the contiguity of the offices, connected through the back doors even though on the surface they are separated, having shifting functions, producing overall a continuous segmentation [of the apparatus].  In The Castle, the spatial dimension is replaced to some extent by an intensive one, a 'map of intensities', with the frontiers as thresholds: [apparently illustrated best in the first chapter -- I think it is described better more than halfway through --p.190 in my edition --  by Olga,and then in only a page or two.].  There is an underlying language of intensity producing contents that can take flight on this map.

In turn, this reveals a method both of procedure/expression and content, coming to fruition in The Castle, where blocks appear 'as childhood blocks'.  These are not simply memories of childhood because that would be 'incurable oedipal' and about the management of desire, 'a reterritorialization of childhood'.  The childhood block is different, deterritorializing, capable of reactivating desire, making new connections.  It is intensive [with a mystifying aside that 'It is the only real life of the child'].  Examples would be incest with the sister, and homosexuality with the artist.  [There's also an example from The Castle, when K somehow recalls 'the deterritorializing bell of his native land' (79). It might refer to K adversely comparing the Castle's happy-sounding bell with its foreboding appearance If so, this is a sentence or two at most!].  Children do not live as adult memories would suggest, nor even as their own memories [again because these are oedipalised and familialised]: the highest intensities are produced by relations with sisters, friends, projects and toys, and these are used to deterritorialize parents [argued in AO].  Freud does not explain childhood sexuality at all well when he insists that it is or projected back on to parents [or photos of them].  The child is better understood through the figure of the deterritorialized and deterritorializing 'Orphan' [a reference to a Freudian term?].  This figure can reanimate adults, and provide new living connections.  [So another socially detached figure, like the bachelor?]

This processes cross chronological time 'injecting the child into the adult, or the superficial adult into the real child'.  This is displayed in Kafka in a 'strange mannerism'.

[I have had to look up artistic, painterly mannerism before, but I have forgotten where. I only knew it through the work of Arcimboldo, who made portraits out of objects like vegetables, mimicked in the surrealist animations of Swankmajer, especially in Dimensions of Dialogue, whom I much admire. Encyclopaedia Britannica defines artistic mannerism thus:

Mannerist artists evolved a style that is characterized by artificiality and artiness, by a thoroughly self-conscious cultivation of elegance and technical facility, and by a sophisticated indulgence in the bizarre. The figures in Mannerist works frequently have graceful but queerly elongated limbs, small heads, and stylized facial features, while their poses seem difficult or contrived. The deep, linear perspectival space of High Renaissance painting is flattened and obscured so that the figures appear as a decorative arrangement of forms in front of a flat background of indeterminate dimensions. Mannerists sought a continuous refinement of form and concept, pushing exaggeration and contrast to great limits. The results included strange and constricting spatial relationships, jarring juxtapositions of intense and unnatural colours, an emphasis on abnormalities of scale, a sometimes totally irrational mix of classical motifs and other visual references to the antique, and inventive and grotesque pictorial fantasies.

Literary mannerism seems to involve a technical emphasis on exaggerated etiquette or possibly personal mannerisms, to show their artificiality?]

This does not involve symbolism or allegory, nor imitating children or representing them.  It is 'a mannerism of sobriety without memory', produced by the irruption of a childhood block in an adult who does not cease to be an adult [it seems that adult blocks can also be activated in children].  It is not so much an exchange of roles, but 'the strict contiguity of two far away segments', akin to becoming-animal.  This is becoming-child of an adult, and the becoming-adult of the child.  Lots of scenes in The Castle apparently illustrate the process : men roll about in the bath while the children watch, while little Hans [sic—not the Little Hans though] develops very serious stances. [I looked these up -- there is a paragraph on K seeing men in the bath playing about, and we are told it is comic, especially the contrast between a bearded elder and his behaviour, trying to be dignified while starkers in the bath -- but it is hardly gripping or conclusive].  In The Trial, where the warders are being punished, a childhood block is used in the treatment of the sequence—'these are children who are getting whipped and who are crying out, even if they are only half serious'.  This is why 'children, according to Kafka, [that is, as depicted by Kafka? Not real children.] go farther than women' in deterritorialization, because they are more intense, and also because they are mannerist [that is artificial?  We are told that their assemblages are more machinic as well, citing the scenes with the little girls outside the artist's apartment].  There is another 'worldly mannerism' (80) too in the artificial politeness of the two people who come to kill K, and how he responds by donning his new gloves, then the strange way they pass the knife over his body.  The 'mannerism of politeness tends to separate that which is contiguous', and can also be used to mock authority with excessive politeness [Mods mocked bourgeois standards of neatness by taking it to extremes, said Hebdige once] .  'The mannerism of childhood works in an inverse way' [being deliberately childish and naive?].  Using both shows a 'schizo buffoonery', 'a way of deterritorializing social coordinates'.  Apparently, Kafka also liked in his personal life to develop the mannerisms of a marionette!

Chapter 9

[Fussy philosophical elaborations of distinctions and qualities etc of an obsessive kind that we know from, say, AO on the syntheses. Spells out some implications for assemblages, largely what they are not.  Finally notices two senses of the term 'abstract', as about the only useful clarification for me anyway. Still struggling to use the vocabulary of desire in AO, eg via the desiring machine]

Assemblages have two characteristics that are particularly suitable for novelists: they are collective assemblages of enunciation, and machinic assemblages of desire.  Kafka's combination provides his distinctive style.  For example, in Amerika, the first scene involves the stoker in a boiler room, but the technical machinery is also a social machine, 'having men and women as part of its gears along with things' (81).  The background lives of those men and women are also part of the machine.  So the machine becomes social, but only by breaking 'into all its connected elements'.  The machine of justice is also a machine 'metaphorically'[sic], coordinating things like offices and books with personnel, and the human figures who also 'make up an indeterminate material' (82).  There's also an erotic charge between these personnel, but desire is 'desire of the machine'[back to the point about desire meaning the power to operate with or in machines?], becoming a new gear, even if this opposes existing gears.  Technical machines presuppose a social assemblage, 'and that alone deserves to be called machinic'.

[We can also fit in a few terms we've used before].  Because the assemblage of desire is also the 'collective assemblage of enunciation'[the 'evidence' {my sneer quotes} here is all the enunciations the stoker makes about his superior, so enunciations can also include those involving protest or submission].  Statements have to follow rules [they are 'always juridical'] which acts as instructions for the machine.  The statements actually do make a difference on the surface, but their real function is to undo the assemblage of which the machine is a part [then some very confusing bits about how the statements form other machines which either help the first ones to function or modify or even destroy them: this is the trouble when everything is a machine].  Thus K can be interested in combating or reforming the various systems, but he has to do this by following the rules, and as a result, it is really hard to tell if this is submission or revolt.  In practice, the character of K takes on a number of roles, an engineer tending the machine, or a legal investigator following the statements of the assemblage.  Overall, all machinic assemblages are social assemblages of desire, and they in turn are always collective assemblages of enunciation.

Kafka is at the margins, between old and new bureaucracies, or between the role of engineer and jurist.  He certainly sees a wider implications of these activities, which furnish 'the model of the form of content that is applicable to the whole social field', and 'a form of expression applicable to any statement' respectively (83).  Kafka exploits these connections between machines of statement and desire in the novels, and this removes him from the world of the books alone, and also allows him to speculate about the future [asking for example whether it is possible to generate a new statement or produce a new assemblage].  [All these arguments are supported by isolated quotes, both direct and indirect].

Statements are always collective, however, even if uttered by solitary singularities.  They never refer back to a subject, not even a double subject, as in the discussion about subjects of enunciation and subjects of the statement.  There are more complexities in modern linguistics, but they do not succeed in always connecting statements to subjects.  We can see this particularly when considering new subjects and minor literatures: here, a singularity, appearing as a bachelor or artist serves as 'a function of a national political and social community' (84), even if this does not exist objectively.  In particular, Kafka sees his literature as 'a watch that moves forward', and 'a concern of the people'.  Enunciations can appear to be individual, but they are 'taken up' by these collective spokespeople, the bachelors and artists.  There is no argument that somehow the denunciation itself produces a subject, because that would be 'a sort of science fiction'.  The collectivity also is not the subject of enunciation or the statement.  Instead, it is that the 'actual bachelor and the virtual community—both of them real—are the components of the collective assemblage'.  The assemblage here is not acting like a subject, producing a statement, but is itself 'an assemblage of enunciation in a process that leaves no assignable place to any sort of subject'[by definition?]: statements are instead best seen 'as the gears and parts of the assemblage (not as effects or products)'.

We can see this by asking a more specific question, about whether K is the same subject in all three novels.  In the letters, Kafka uses the split subject as above, but 'only for a game', exploiting their ambiguity.  In the stories, the assemblage is already in place rather than subjects, but here it is 'a transcendental reified machine', with the same form of a transcendental subject.  Becoming-animal partly 'suppresses' the problem of the subject [is that its function in ATP as well?], but only points to the assemblage, or, at best, develops into a 'a molecular becoming - collective', which still acts as a collective subject.  Kafka apparently saw this construction in the stories as a way of dealing with as the 'persistent trap of subjectivity' in the letters, but the novels are where we will find 'the final and really unlimited solution'.  K is not a subject but rather 'a general function that proliferates' across the segments.  'General' here does not mean the opposite of individual, because solitary individuals can operate with general functions, connecting to all the terms of the series: in The Trial, K as a banker is able to connect with all sorts of bureaucrats, clients, women, all the operatives of the system of justice, and the artist.  As a result, this function is 'inseparably social and erotic'.  We can still find doubled subjects, but they are no longer central or self sufficient.  The function is so well developed, that we can read K as 'a polyvalent assemblage of which the solitary individual is only a part'(85), linking to the 'coming collectivity'.  That coming collectivity could be revolutionary or fascist: 'we don't know, but we have ideas about all of these—Kafka taught us to have them'.

[In this novel?] the juridical aspects of enunciation takes over from the machinic aspect of enunciation, and K comes to see American capitalism, Stalinist justice, or the 'fascist machine of the castle'[see—there are allegories, and they are involved when Kafka is teaching us something concrete and political] in terms of rules of enunciation and their necessities, and this is why he cannot be read as submitting to them, merely respecting them.  The assemblage itself makes the enunciation precede the statement, as a kind of first gear to connect to subsequent gears [in other words, it sets the conditions for specific statements and constructions of subjects?].  In the novels, we find initial enunciations, 'even if rapid or allusive' that are both 'especially asignifying' and 'immanent to the whole series [that is, initial orientations that cannot be understood outside of the series itself?].  The example is 'a series of phrases or gestures' that 'don't form statements but only enunciations that play the role of connectors'[in the first chapter of The Castle, which, incidentally seems to be about as far as D and G got.  Presumably, they mean that initially mysterious utterances, including gestures, will make sense according to things that have not yet been revealed, a bit like when all the peasants in a vampire movie exchange significant looks if someone mentions garlic? It takes ages to reveal the hopelessness of K's quest in The Castle,and we are treated to page after page of discussion of how people misunderstand each other].  Again we see some characteristics of minor literature, where expressions come first, before contents, either producing forms which constrain contents, or making contents 'take flight' and transform [take on subversive meanings, say].  Idealism is denied here, because these expressions are determined by the assemblage just as much as are contents: 'one and the same desire, one and the same assemblage' produces content and enunciation, the first one machinic, the second one collective.

Assemblages not only have two sides but are segmental, extending over segments or dividing into segments, some of which can become assemblages themselves.  The process can be rigid or supple, but sometimes even supple ones are constraining, as when offices have movable barriers between them, meaning that we can never manage them.  The segments are both 'powers and territories' (86) and territorialization can involve fixing something in place, photographing it, dressing in tight clothes, giving it a mission, or 'extracting from it an image of transcendence'.  This clearly involves power and desire, and this is often seen as 'regulated by the abstraction of a transcendental law'['over coded' in the terminology of AO].  However, there are always points of deterritorialization, lines of flight ['always' because of the formal characteristics of assemblages, or always in the sense that there is always hope? And see below].  Enunciations and expressions can take flight and disarticulate, just as contents can deform or metamorphose [but why? In what circumstances?]. Assemblages can extend into 'an unlimited field of immanence' that make segments melt and that liberates desire, or at least resist concretizations and abstractions.  We've seen examples, where the field of justice opposes transcendental laws, where blocks can escape segmentation, where expressions can become deterritorialized [photos turn to sounds], and when contents can be turned head over heels [a handy phrase which helps them bring in all this stuff about bent heads again—incidentally, a note suggests that this metaphor is found developed in Kafka's letters].  Singularities can be 'active and creative', assemble and form a machine [and 'assemble' is translated as s'agencement here, implying somehow undergoing a process which ends with them being an agent?].  However, this is part of collective conditions, even if minor ones, even if we have to discover ourselves as 'intimate' minorities.  [Note the many assertions here, that there must be lines of flight, or that singularities must be part of collectivities, or that we must all be composed of minorities.  There also seems to be a systematic uncertainty about subjectivity, which can be possessed by singularities, which magically become in dependent of all the regulatory mechanisms described above, just in time to rescue the creativity of novelists, especially Kafka].

We now have to reconsider what we mean by an abstract machine.  It is something that presides over concrete machinic assemblages, something 'transcendent and reified', operating through symbol or allegory, regulating 'the real assemblages...that operate in an unlimited field of immanence'.  However, there is another sense of 'abstract' which suggests the reverse, an abstract which is 'nonfigurative, nonsignifying, nonsegmental'.  This is what they mean by abstract machines operating in fields of immanence, following the movement of desire.  Here, the abstract machine does not represent something transcendental, given existence by the necessity of the variety of concrete machines [my gloss here, thinking of Bhaskar and transcendental deductions], but rather secures the reality of the concrete assemblages, in particular in providing them with a power to undo their segments, develop lines of flight, deterritorialize.  This abstract machine is the 'unlimited social field' and 'the body of desire'.  We can see this at work in Kafka's entire oeuvre, in the form of intensities, connections and polyvalences [so what's going on exactly?  The machine is speaking through Kafka?  Kafka is discovering the machine as a kind of active literary philosophy?].  The examples here are the different assemblages, like those of the letters, becoming-animal, becoming-female, female blocks, the large assemblages found in banks or bureaucracies, the bachelor assemblage, or 'the artistic machine of the minority'(87).

These assemblages tried to the best of their ability to do without 'the mechanism of transcendental law'.  For example, familial assemblages attempt to operate without the oedipal triangle, conjugal ones without the necessary duality that involves them as subject to legal constraints as well as functioning.  Each assemblage offers a different kind of segmentalization, more or less supple, more or less rapid in proliferation, both of which increase the possibility of following lines of escape and deterritorializing.  [So now we have empirical conditions for lines of escape, not just formal possibilities?].  Some assemblages achieve less than a real concrete existence, and never 'rejoin the field of immanence', and thus will open themselves to recapture [interesting, implying that some assemblages exist in name only, or at the level of ideas but not practices, and that only concrete practical ones will recapture immanent possibilities?  The examples are becoming-animal, especially in Metamorphosis, which never fully develops].  Apparently, becoming-female is more supple and liable to proliferation, but becoming-child even more so [for Kafka or for D and G?].  Certainly childhood blocks or childish mannerisms functioned to escape and deterritorialize in a more intense [emotionally intense? more energetic?] way. 

Sometimes an  assemblage can 'overflow its own segments'[accelerate? into immanence], but sometimes supple and proliferating ones can still be oppressive, not even needing to appear to be despotic, becoming 'really machinic'(88) [fully hegemonic?], resegmenting the field.  Thus the 'false ending' of The Trial retriangulates [restores hierarchy and authority], but even without this, the assemblages in The Trial and The Castle might not open into a field of unlimited immanence, and move towards the abstract machine in the second and good sense [their capacity to do so is left as an open question].  Finally, there is a question over the ability of the literary machine, 'an assemblage of enunciation or expression' to become an abstract machine 'insofar as it is a field of desire', to become a minor literature.  Kafka can be seen as continually attempting to achieve these goals.

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