Richard Mayne

Richard Mayne is the author of The Recovery of Europe. He was awarded the Scott Moncrieff Prize for his translation of Jean Monnet’s Memoirs. He has worked for the European Community since 1956.

These are intolerable: A Thousand Foucaults

Richard Mayne, 10 September 1992

Dryden’s gibe at the brilliant but wayward second Duke of Buckingham could be applied, with reservations, to Foucault:

A man so various, that he seemed to be

Not one, but all Mankind’s Epitome.

Stiff in Opinions, always in the wrong;

Was everything by starts, and nothing long.

He was certainly just as volatile. In his twenties a Stalin-quoting Communist, he later blamed the CP for...

Unmasking Monsieur Malraux

Richard Mayne, 25 June 1992

‘He’s the one great epic novelist of the revolution to come that never came.’ ‘All of a sudden, after the war, his novels seemed to me to have no literary value whatsoever,’ ‘I find them naff.’ ‘In L’Espoir he is immersed in the action and that makes his art great,’ ‘He was a fake: he always pretended to be what he was not.’ ‘He was in love with danger, with adventure,’ ‘He was one of the most religious men I ever met.’ ‘He was always speaking about fraternity, about the masses, but no – he was an aristocrat: he was deeply an aristocrat, a man of the élite.’ ‘I think probably from his childhood, which he hated, he had to forge a sort of mask. He needed that.’’’



26 March 1992

Anne Deighton (Letters, 23 April) asks why I use the term ‘Euro-Heresies’ to describe seven British objections to ‘ever closer union’ in Europe. Partly, I admit, to provoke: but mainly because they echo, in a plausibly contemporary form, some of the fictions about European unity that were peddled in the Fifties, usually but not exclusively in Britain.Take the ‘heresy’ which Anne Deighton...

Seven Euro-Heresies

Richard Mayne, 26 March 1992

A French friend, puzzled by Britain’s behaviour in the European Community, recently resorted to an alarming metaphor. ‘It’s as if you had boarded the plane without checking where it was bound for – and now you keep trying to divert it, or jump out in mid-air.’’


Big Wheel

17 May 1984

SIR: A printer’s gremlin made my piece on gangsters (LRB, 17 May) unfair to Dashiell Hammett’s record, or his imagination. The stolen property he claimed to have recovered when working as a Pinkerton detective was not a Ferrari wheel, but a Ferris wheel – a more spectacular haul, or boast.

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