The People Are Missing: Minor Literature Today

Forthcoming March 2021

“The people are missing” is a constant refrain in Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari’s writings after the 1975 publication of Kafka: Pour une litterature mineure. With the translation of this work into English (Kafka: Toward a Minor Literature) in 1986, the refrain quickly became a hallmark of political interpretation in the North American academy and was especially applied to the works of minorities and postcolonial writers. However, in the second cinema book, Cinéma 2: L’Image-temps, the refrain is restricted to third-world cinema, in which Deleuze and Guattari locate the conditions of truly postwar political cinema: the absence, even the impossibility, of a people who would constitute its organic community.

In this critical reflection, Gregg Lambert traces the “narrowing” of the refrain itself, as well as the premise that the act of art is capable of inventing the conditions of a “people” or a “nation,” and asks whether this results only in reducing the positive conditions of art and philosophy in the postmodern period. Lambert offers an unprecedented inquiry into the evolution of Deleuze’s hopes for the revolutionary goals of minor literature and the related notion of the missing people in the conjuncture of contemporary critical theory.

Praise

“Lambert’s book is mesmerizing. . . . Serious literary and political theorists will want to read this.”
—Dorothea E. Olkowski, author of Postmodern Philosophy and the Scientific Turn

The People Are Missing is a commanding intervention by one of the most original and incisive readers of Deleuze today. Lambert assuredly offers the reader what is undoubtedly the most penetrating and systematic analysis to date of this famous Deleuzian concept of ‘minor literature.’”

—Nick Nesbitt, author of Caribbean Critique: Antillean Critical Theory from Toussaint to Glissant

About the Author

Gregg Lambert is the Dean’s Professor of Humanities at Syracuse University and international scholar at Kyung Hee University in South Korea. He is the author of several books, including Philosophy after Friendship: Deleuze’s Conceptual Personae and Who’s Afraid of Deleuze and Guattari?