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Atëphobia: On Lovecraft, Deleuze and the limits of affectual geography

Olsson, Carl LU (2018) SGEM08 20181
Department of Human Geography
Abstract
Over the past two decades non-representational and affectual geographers have cited the French philosopher Gilles Deleuze to the point of exhaustion. In this thesis I read Deleuze’s interpretation of Spinoza through the weird tales written by the American horror author H. P. Lovecraft to argue for a radicalization of the former’s work within geography. To this end I examine the often recognized, but largely ignored problem of representing affect qua autonomous force: Only upon a pre-personal plane of existence can affect be grasped, meaning that a symbolic language will not suffice to describe it. Aided by an experimental writing style, I argue that affectual geographers have been unwilling to push aesthetic risk-taking far enough in their... (More)
Over the past two decades non-representational and affectual geographers have cited the French philosopher Gilles Deleuze to the point of exhaustion. In this thesis I read Deleuze’s interpretation of Spinoza through the weird tales written by the American horror author H. P. Lovecraft to argue for a radicalization of the former’s work within geography. To this end I examine the often recognized, but largely ignored problem of representing affect qua autonomous force: Only upon a pre-personal plane of existence can affect be grasped, meaning that a symbolic language will not suffice to describe it. Aided by an experimental writing style, I argue that affectual geographers have been unwilling to push aesthetic risk-taking far enough in their attempts to understand the conditions of actuality and thus inadvertently insist on articulating the inhuman from the viewpoint of human experience.

This does not mean that affectual geography should be abandoned. On the contrary, the goal of reaching an inhuman experience remains valid both within a Deleuzean ontology and may act a potential counterpoint to contemporary transcendental and needs oriented understandings of subjective worlds. Accordingly, I seek to show that the path that Lovecraft opens towards the inhuman is not one easily traversed and may require a violent escape from the Self. Affectual geographers would do well to remember what is at stake in the inherent horror of the inhuman if they are to pursue more radical forms of stylistic and aesthetic experimentation than they have done so far. (Less)
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author
Olsson, Carl LU
supervisor
organization
course
SGEM08 20181
year
type
H2 - Master's Degree (Two Years)
subject
keywords
Affect, Deleuze, Lovecraft, Non-representational theory, Aesthetics, Literary geography, Experimental writing
language
English
id
8958312
date added to LUP
2018-09-10 14:15:06
date last changed
2018-09-10 14:15:06
@misc{8958312,
  abstract     = {Over the past two decades non-representational and affectual geographers have cited the French philosopher Gilles Deleuze to the point of exhaustion. In this thesis I read Deleuze’s interpretation of Spinoza through the weird tales written by the American horror author H. P. Lovecraft to argue for a radicalization of the former’s work within geography. To this end I examine the often recognized, but largely ignored problem of representing affect qua autonomous force: Only upon a pre-personal plane of existence can affect be grasped, meaning that a symbolic language will not suffice to describe it. Aided by an experimental writing style, I argue that affectual geographers have been unwilling to push aesthetic risk-taking far enough in their attempts to understand the conditions of actuality and thus inadvertently insist on articulating the inhuman from the viewpoint of human experience. 

This does not mean that affectual geography should be abandoned. On the contrary, the goal of reaching an inhuman experience remains valid both within a Deleuzean ontology and may act a potential counterpoint to contemporary transcendental and needs oriented understandings of subjective worlds. Accordingly, I seek to show that the path that Lovecraft opens towards the inhuman is not one easily traversed and may require a violent escape from the Self. Affectual geographers would do well to remember what is at stake in the inherent horror of the inhuman if they are to pursue more radical forms of stylistic and aesthetic experimentation than they have done so far.},
  author       = {Olsson, Carl},
  keyword      = {Affect,Deleuze,Lovecraft,Non-representational theory,Aesthetics,Literary geography,Experimental writing},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Atëphobia: On Lovecraft, Deleuze and the limits of affectual geography},
  year         = {2018},
}