A Philosopher’s Life: Deleuze at Lyon


While he was in Lyon, Deleuze developed another important theme from his work on Nietzsche: the eternal return as the return of difference, implying a valorized affirmation and a critique of the logic of resentment and negativity. “That’s the heart of what he transmitted to us in Lyon and which took a somewhat different shape later.” His students in Lyon were dazzled at how scrupulous he was about remaining close to the texts he was reading and how profoundly he examined their particular logic. Deleuze kept apart from most of his colleagues in Lyon, but he attracted the very largest student audiences for his classes. He lectured to two hundred students, and when he spoke, “he was so charismatic that you could hear the flies buzzing.” Even then, many students from other disciplines were coming to his classes and, as was his habit, he gave the impression of improvising. In fact, he had prepared so carefully that he never had to refer to his notes during his classes. “We were all holding our breath because he was such a great storyteller. He was both very intimate and very distant, very much the dandy. He never played favorites and he never changed his bearing.”1

  1. Dosse, Francois (2010-06-22). Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari: Intersecting Lives (European Perspectives: A Series in Social Thought and Cultural Criticism) (p. 137). Columbia University Press. Kindle Edition.

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