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‘It didn’t need to be done’

Tariq Ali: The Muslim Response, 5 February 2015

... of unanimity have taken place at public funerals – like those of Victor Hugo, Pierre Overney, Jean-Paul Sartre, or Edith Piaf. Sunday’s demonstration is of the same order, the crowd is moved by sentiment and satisfied by coming together to express a vague desire for unity and reconciliation. As if the strength of the crowd was enough to mitigate ...

After Foucault

David Hoy, 1 November 1984

Philosophy in France Today 
edited by Alan Montefiore.
Cambridge, 201 pp., £20, January 1983, 0 521 22838 7
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French Literary Theory Today: A Reader 
edited by Tzvetan Todorov, translated by R. Carter.
Cambridge, 239 pp., £19.50, October 1982, 0 521 23036 5
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Histoire de la Sexualité. Vol. II: L’Usage des Plaisirs 
by Michel Foucault.
Gallimard, 285 pp., £8.25, June 1984, 2 07 070056 9
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Michel Foucault: Beyond Structuralism and Hermeneutics 
by Hubert Dreyfus and Paul Rabinow.
Chicago, 256 pp., $8.95, December 1983, 0 226 16312 1
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The Foucault Reader 
edited by Paul Rabinow.
Pantheon, 350 pp., $19.95, January 1985, 0 394 52904 9
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Michel Foucault and the Subversion of Intellect 
by Karlis Racevskis.
Cornell, 172 pp., £16.50, July 1983, 0 8014 1572 1
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Michel Foucault’s Archaeology of Western Culture: Toward a New Science of History 
by Pamela Major-Poetzl.
Harvester, 281 pp., £22.50, May 1983, 0 7108 0484 9
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Michel Foucault: Social Theory as Transgression 
by Charles Lemert and Garth Gillan.
Columbia, 169 pp., £8.50, January 1984, 0 231 05190 5
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Foucault, Marxism and Critique 
by Barry Smart.
Routledge, 144 pp., £5.95, September 1983, 0 7100 9533 3
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... the death of Michel Foucault the end of another era of French philosophy suddenly seems imminent. Jean-Paul Sartre died long after the Existentialist era had dwindled, and that phase of his philosophical work had been absorbed. Like Jacques Lacan’s death, however, Foucault’s comes at a point where debate has not settled the question of either the ...

Agitated Neurons

John Sturrock: Michel Houellebecq, 21 January 1999

Whatever 
by Michel Houellebecq, translated by Paul Hammond.
Serpent’s Tail, 160 pp., £8.99, January 1999, 1 85242 584 9
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Les Particules élémentaires 
by Michel Houellebecq.
Flammarion, 394 pp., frs 105, September 1998, 2 08 067472 2
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... the silicone implant business, his mother a narcissistic hippy who may as a girl have danced with Jean-Paul Sartre but has been going downhill ever since, to end as her looks fade amid the fatuities of the New Age. Bruno has begun as a boy in cruel neglect; he can only, as a defeated, no longer erectile sensualist, end in care. His ...

Noovs’ hoovs in the trough

Angela Carter, 24 January 1985

The Official Foodie Handbook 
by Ann Barr and Paul Levy.
Ebury, 144 pp., £8.95, October 1984, 0 85223 348 5
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An Omelette and a Glass of Wine 
by Elizabeth David.
Hale, 318 pp., £9.95, October 1984, 0 7090 2047 3
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Chez Panisse Menu Cookbook 
by Alice Waters, foreword by Jane Grigson .
Chatto, 340 pp., £12.95, March 1984, 0 7011 2820 8
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... should be.’ She talks as if selecting a melon were an existential choice of a kind to leave Jean-Paul Sartre stumped. This rapt, bug-eyed concern with the small print not even of life but of gluttony is, I think, genuinely decadent.Behind Ms Waters’ wincingly exquisite cuisine lies some post-hippy Platonism to do with the real and the ...

Too Much Gide

Douglas Johnson: French writers (1940-53), 15 November 2001

La Guerre des écrivains 1940-53 
by Gisèle Sapiro.
Fayard, 807 pp., frs 220, September 1999, 2 213 60211 5
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Correspondance: Marcel Arland – Jean Paulhan 1936-45 
edited by Jean-Jacques Didier.
Gallimard, 397 pp., frs 140, March 2000, 2 07 075789 7
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Dialogue des ‘vaincus’: Prison de Clairvaux, janvier-décembre 1950 
by Lucien Rebatet and Pierre-Antoine Cousteau, edited by Robert Belot.
Berg, 285 pp., frs 120, March 2000, 2 911289 22 6
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The Collaborator: The Trial and Execution of Robert Brasillach 
by Alice Kaplan.
Chicago, 320 pp., £9.50, December 2000, 0 226 42415 4
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... striking how little the correspondence varies over the war years. They give their opinion of Sartre, with Paulhan being tactfully enthusiastic and Arland tactfully less so; in 1939 there is mention of Saint Exupéry’s dislike of Malraux and hence his disapproval of Arland, Malraux’s close friend, while in 1945 Paulhan finds it ridiculous that Malraux ...

One day I’ll tell you what I think

Adam Shatz: Sartre in Cairo, 22 November 2018

No Exit: Arab Existentialism, Jean-Paul Sartre and Decolonisation 
by Yoav Di-Capua.
Chicago, 355 pp., £26, March 2018, 978 0 226 50350 9
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The Stillborn: Notebooks of a Woman from the Student-Movement Generation in Egypt 
by Arwa Salih, translated by Samah Selim.
Seagull, 163 pp., £20, April 2018, 978 0 85742 483 9
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... In the spring​ of 1961, Frantz Fanon wrote to his publisher in Paris to suggest that he ask Jean-Paul Sartre for a preface to his anti-colonial manifesto, The Wretched of the Earth. ‘Tell him that every time I sit down at my desk, I think of him.’ For revolutionary intellectuals in the Third World, Sartre seemed miraculously uncontaminated by the paternalism – and hypocrisy – that gave the white left such a bad reputation ...

Out of the jiffybag

Frank Kermode, 12 November 1987

For Love and Money: Writing, Reading, Travelling 1969-1987 
by Jonathan Raban.
Collins Harvill, 350 pp., £11.50, November 1987, 0 00 272279 8
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Original Copy: Selected Reviews and Journalism 1969-1986 
by John Carey.
Faber, 278 pp., £9.95, August 1987, 0 571 14879 4
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... them come the writer nobs: Jack Kerouac, ‘babbling on with the fluency of a jammed beer-tap’, Jean-Paul Sartre, whose ‘demand that intellectuals should “integrate with the masses” seems even more unreal than it would otherwise, coming from a man who could not bear to face an orange’. It does seem a bit doubtful that plain bread-earners share ...

Meg, Jo, Beth and Me

Elaine Showalter, 23 March 1995

Little Women 
directed by Gillian Armstrong.
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... She wrote; in order to imitate her more completely, I composed two or three short stories.’ What Jean-Paul Sartre thought of Little Women has gone unrecorded. The BBC has filmed Little Women once; Hollywood twice. The 1933 version starring Katharine Hepburn as a coltish, high-spirited Jo, won the Oscar for Best Screenplay Adaptation, and is still a ...

Sisterly

A.N. Wilson, 21 October 1993

Love from Nancy: The Letters of Nancy Mitford 
edited by Charlotte Mosley.
Hodder, 538 pp., £20, September 1993, 0 340 53784 1
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... contemporaries. But if Tony Powell took himself a bit seriously in 1958, what did she make of Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Bcauvoir, Barthes? Her absurd Francophilia was undiminished even by the événements of 1968, which she ‘covered’ for the Spectator. Everyone pays tribute to her pluck when, for the last four years of her life, she was ...

On (Not) Saying What You Mean

Colm Tóibín, 30 November 1995

... writers were bought any time anyone from the family went to Dublin. My sister became addicted to Jean-Paul Sartre. I remember a book called Words which began ‘I loathe my childhood’; this was an astonishing idea in Enniscorthy at that time. Not long afterwards another sister decided to build a house. There were no architects in Enniscorthy, but lots ...

Unmasking Monsieur Malraux

Richard Mayne, 25 June 1992

The Conquerors 
by André Malraux, translated by Stephen Becker.
Chicago, 198 pp., £8.75, December 1991, 0 226 50290 2
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The Temptation of the West 
by André Malraux, translated by Robert Hollander.
Chicago, 122 pp., £8.75, February 1992, 0 226 50291 0
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The Walnut Tree of Altenburg 
by André Malraux, translated by A.W. Fielding.
Chicago, 224 pp., £9.55, April 1992, 0 226 50289 9
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... joining forces for the purpose with his ideological opponents in the shape of Louis Aragon and Jean-Paul Sartre. Paradoxically, a thin hidden thread of influence linked Malraux with Sartre and Camus. It was Malraux, in The Conquerors, who first gave expression in Prance to that sense of ‘the absurd’ which later ...

The Unpredictable Cactus

Emily Witt: Mescaline, 2 January 2020

Mescaline: A Global History of the First Psychedelic 
by Mike Jay.
Yale, 297 pp., £18.99, May 2019, 978 0 300 23107 6
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... Alcohol, Cocaine, Peyote, Morphine and Ether (1932). Walter Benjamin, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Jean-Paul Sartre and Antonin Artaud all gave it a try. In her memoirs Simone de Beauvoir described Sartre being haunted by visions of scuttling crabs for days after his experiment, but Jay writes that ...
The Life and Lies of Bertolt Brecht 
by John Fuegi.
HarperCollins, 732 pp., £25, July 1994, 0 00 255386 4
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... not only did it do splendidly at the box office, but it also won the endorsement of both the young Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir, with Sartre (whose life is strikingly similar to that of Brecht) learning the catchy tunes by heart.’ As an approach, this is about as discriminating as the ducking-stool, and ...

Just How It was

Anne Hollander: The work of Henri Cartier-Bresson, 7 May 1998

Tête à Tête: Portraits by Henri Cartier-Bresson 
edited by E.H. Gombrich.
Thames and Hudson, 144 pp., £32, February 1998, 9780500542187
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Henri Cartier-Bresson: Europeans 
edited by Jean Clair.
Thames and Hudson, 231 pp., £29.95, January 1998, 0 500 28052 5
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... sofa-cushions (Jean Renoir, 1967), or it may harshly contend with the serene dome in the distance (Jean-Paul Sartre, 1946). The volume entitled Europeans is full of children and adolescents, with just enough ancients to spice the vast mixture. Everybody here is nameless, but everybody has a nationality and a date. The panorama shows its subjects carefully ...

How not to be disgusting

Anne Hollander, 6 December 1990

Coco Chanel: A Biography 
by Axel Madsen.
Bloomsbury, 388 pp., £20, October 1990, 0 7475 0762 7
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... with well-mannered elegance. Axel Madsen has also written biographies of Yves St Laurent, Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir, and a book about the love-affair between Joseph Kennedy and Gloria Swanson. He seems always to write about various kinds of star, presumably so as to reveal their secrets to their adoring fans in the usual sensational ...

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