Leland de la Durantaye

Leland de la Durantaye teaches modernism at Claremont McKenna College, in Claremont, California.

Who Whips Whom: Sade

Leland de la Durantaye, 19 February 2015

On 2 July​ 1789, a man whose official designation in the prison fortress of the Bastille was ‘Monsieur Six’ addressed the people of Paris. He spoke – or shouted – from his cell in the Tour de la Liberté, and in no uncertain terms. The officials holding him, and the regime they served, were villains, devils, criminals and worse. What’s more, they had...

Taking Refuge in the Loo: Peter Handke

Leland de la Durantaye, 22 May 2014

Peter Handke​ began his career insulting his audience, and it long seemed that he would end it with his audience insulting him. In Insulting the Audience (1966), the play that brought him fame at the age of 23, he called the audience ‘dirty Jews’, ‘Nazi pigs’ and many things besides. Thirty years later, after he took up the cause of Serbian independence, condemned...

Sedan Chairs and Turtles: Benjamin’s Baudelaire

Leland de la Durantaye, 21 November 2013

On a spring day in 1940 Walter Benjamin gathered together the thousands of pages comprising his work of the last decade and carried them to his favourite place in Paris, the Bibliothèque nationale. When he got there he gave them to Georges Bataille, a head librarian there, for safekeeping. Hours before the German army entered Paris with an order to arrest him, Benjamin left the city...

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