So re-posting this because I sent off and received back the essay and made the changes as per reviewers’ suggestions, and sent it off again. Nothing was wrong with the essay, one reviewer just wanted more about what I call the ‘materiality’ of romance.
I follow Badiou’s definition of love (“What is Love?” essay) and then shift the focus to what I call the material process of romance. Badiou says there is an absolute disjunction between the (nominal) Two. I say hullabaloo to that and point out that the Two shares the contingency of the event of love. From this contingency Badiou argues that love is a process, which I agree with, but I call this heterogeneous material process ‘romance’ and save ‘love’ for the event itself. Romance is an â€œaleatory enquiryâ€ (45) of â€œthe world from the point of view of the Two, and not an enquiry of each term of the Two about the otherâ€ (49). The event of love itself is differentially repeated, and thus the wonder at the heart of love is also repeated. Differential repetition from Deleuze, etc, so repeating the conditions of wonder; that is, the problematic conditions of the event of love. The ‘complex’ side of things comes in due to the attention to contingency and the problematic conditions of the event. I also posit that romance is evidence of a creative material time of systems (ie duration).
I do all this through an exploration of the film Punch-Drunk Love (and this works surprisingly well, but I also introduce the other major transformative plot arc involving Barry Egan [Adam Sandler]) and I open the essay with the opening lines from Snow Patrol’s song which captures exactly what I am talking about:
For once I want to be the car crash,
Not always just the traffic jam.
Hit me hard enough to wake me,
And lead me wild to your dark roads.
My implicit goal is to provide the basis for a non-heteronormative reading of Badiou’s philosophy of love. To do this first I slip in a litte line about how the ‘Two’ is what Deleuze would call the quasi-cause (LoS, 33) of the event of love, for Badiou it is the â€œnoemenal possibility [virtualite]â€ (51). It does not pre-exist the event, but is immanent to itself. Therefore, redefined as quasi-cause, the possibility of the Two opens up. Secondly, the main focus shifts from the post-evental turth procedure (of the truth of the Two encountering the world), to the differential repetition of the event by way of the maintenance of contingency and the wonder of this contingency. The wonder may be experienced as subjective, but the contingency itself is purely cosmic.
To expand on the materiality of romance I have added some of Badiou’s ideas from the Handbook of Inaesthetics regarding dance and theatre — to make a distinction between love (dance, virtual movement) and romance (theatre, assemblage) — and Deleuze’s The Fold regarding harmony — to draw a similar distinction regarding melody and harmony in light of the function harmonium in the film to reference the ‘infinite’ through the coalescence of the diegetic and nondiegetic soundtracks.