Book Launch and Kvetchfest /
“The Trouble with Pleasure,” with Aaron Schuster

Date: Wednesday, 20 April 2016, 7–9 pm
Location: Cabinet, 300 Nevins Street, Brooklyn (map and directions here)
FREE. No RSVP necessary

Listen to an audio recording of this program, or download here.
00:00 / 00:00

Please join us to celebrate the publication of Aaron Schuster’s new book The Trouble with Pleasure: Deleuze and Psychoanalysis (MIT Press, 2016). The evening will feature a half-hour presentation by Schuster on the book’s opening chapter—“Critique of Pure Complaint.” This theoretical investigation will be immediately followed by practical exercises in kvetching.

Is pleasure a rotten idea, mired in negativity and lack, which should be abandoned in favor of a new concept of desire? Or is desire itself fundamentally a matter of lack, absence, and loss? This is one of the crucial issues dividing the work of Gilles Deleuze and Jacques Lacan, two of the most formidable figures of postwar French thought. Though the encounter with psychoanalysis deeply marked Deleuze’s work, The Trouble with Pleasure—which focuses on drive and desire, the strange, convoluted relationship of human beings to the forces that move them from within—is the first critical account of the very different postures he adopted toward psychoanalysis, and especially Lacanian theory, throughout his career. The result is neither a Lacanian reading of Deleuze nor a Deleuzian reading of Lacan but rather a systematic and comparative analysis that identifies concerns common to both thinkers and their ultimately incompatible ways of addressing them.

The evening will begin with a presentation by Schuster on complaining in which he will consider topics ranging from Freud’s theory of neurosis and the truth of kvetching to Spinoza’s intellectual complaint of God and the Deleuzian “great complaint.”

This discussion will be followed by a practicum of sorts; free drinks will be offered only to attendees who are willing to use an open mike to air a complaint of one minute or less. Meta-complaints are, of course, encouraged in this portion of the evening.

About the Author
Aaron Schuster is a writer and philosopher based in Amsterdam. He has written on such subjects as the history of levitation, sex and anti-sex, corruption, tickling, the politics of laziness, the comedy of Ernst Lubitsch, and Kafka’s philosopher-dog. He directs the Theory Program at the Sandberg Institute in Amsterdam, and will be a visiting professor at the University of Chicago in 2016.

Beer for this event has been lovingly provided by Brooklyn Brewery. Refreshments courtesy of Sprizz-O.