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When the beam of light has gone

Peter Wollen: Godard Turns Over, 17 September 1998

The Films of Jean-Luc Godard 
by Wheeler Winston Dixon.
SUNY, 290 pp., £17.99, March 1997, 0 7914 3285 8
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Speaking about Godard 
by Kaja Silverman and Harun Farocki.
New York, 256 pp., $55, July 1998, 0 8147 8066 0
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... a discussion of the Algerian war with students sitting round a dinner table (including the young Régis Debray), a wrenching, first-person soul-baring direct to camera by an employee at Cahiers du Cinéma and, in one of the great sequences of cinema, a survivor’s account of her experience in a concentration camp, spoken into the Nagra that she carries ...

An Unfinished Project

Fredric Jameson, 3 August 1995

The Correspondence of Walter Benjamin 1910-1940 
edited by Theodor Adorno and Manfred Jacobson, translated by Evelyn Jacobson.
Chicago, 651 pp., £39.95, May 1994, 0 226 04237 5
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T.W. Adorno/Walter Benjamin: Briefwechsel 1928-40 
edited by Henri Lonitz.
Suhrkamp, 501 pp., DM 64, April 1994, 3 518 58174 0
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... But any serious discussion of the matter clearly needs to address changes in the media; Régis Debray has charted this transformation in France, where writers have given way to professors, and journalists to television personalities. These are features of the systemic changes in capitalism, along with its technologies and the enlargement of its ...

Après the Avant Garde

Fredric Jameson, 12 December 1996

Histoire de ‘Tel Quel’, 1960-82 
by Philippe Forest.
Seuil, 656 pp., frs 180, October 1995, 2 02 017346 8
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The Time of Theory: A History of ‘Tel Quel’ (1960-83) 
by Patrick ffrench.
Oxford, 318 pp., £37.50, December 1995, 0 19 815897 1
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The Making of an Avant Garde: ‘Tel Quel’ 
by Niilo Kauppi.
Mouton de Gruyter, 516 pp., August 1994, 3 11 013952 9
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... from a print to a television culture, from writers to celebrities (classically anatomised by Régis Debray), substituting high-cultural talk shows for laboriously meditated philosophical tomes, interviews for novels, cultural fashions for old-fashioned literary movements, famous names for unknown masterpieces (unless it is that the discovery of the ...

Unhappy Yemen

Tariq Ali: In Yemen, 25 March 2010

... thought it had won and boasted that ‘the organisers of the 14 May Movement, having read a lot of Régis Debray, imagined that they were carrying out “a revolution within the revolution”.’ But within a year the left had triumphed. The 1970 constitution proclaimed the country a socialist republic – the People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen ...

Whose Egypt?

Adam Shatz, 5 January 2012

... is not over, but the heady days of the Arab Spring have come to an end. The counter-revolution, Régis Debray once observed, is revolutionised by the revolution. And so it has been. In Syria, protests have degenerated into sectarian warfare, fomented by a thuggish ruling clique that seems ready to bring the entire country down with it. In ...

Not in the Mood

Adam Shatz: Derrida’s Secrets, 22 November 2012

Derrida: A Biography 
by Benoît Peeters, translated by Andrew Brown.
Polity, 629 pp., £25, November 2012, 978 0 7456 5615 1
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... came to power, Derrida had friends in the administration, including the president’s adviser Régis Debray, a former student at the Ecole Normale. These connections soon came in handy: in December 1981, Derrida undertook his most daring political mission, a trip to Prague to help Czech dissidents. As he was about to leave for Paris, he was arrested ...


E.P. Thompson: On the NHS, 7 May 1987

... not always compatible intellectual spices thrown together: Bella Akhmadulina and Chinua Achebe, Régis Debray and Mulk Raj Anand, President Bok of Harvard and Mr Yuri Zhukov, Chairman of the Soviet Peace Committee, Simone Veil and Germaine Greer. Interesting and able people all ... well, some. But thrown together without preparation and in pompous ...

Made in Algiers

Jeremy Harding: De Gaulle, 4 November 2010

Le mythe gaullien 
by Sudhir Hazareesingh.
Gallimard, 280 pp., €21, May 2010, 978 2 07 012851 8
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The General: Charles de Gaulle and the France He Saved 
by Jonathan Fenby.
Simon and Schuster, 707 pp., £30, June 2010, 978 1 84737 392 2
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... for those who deny that history is shaped by great human beings.’ In his homage to De Gaulle, Régis Debray agrees that democracy is supposed to do away with the idea of greatness, but recalls Rousseau’s remark that only ‘ignoble souls do not believe in great men.’ ‘What a dispiriting wilderness it would be,’ ...

Nation-States and National Identity

Perry Anderson, 9 May 1991

The Identity of France. Vol. II: People and Production 
by Fernand Braudel, translated by Sian Reynolds.
Collins, 781 pp., £25, December 1990, 0 00 217774 9
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... it. Diagrammatically, the opposite political response to the Allied expedition came from Régis Debray, the writer on the left whose theoretical vision of the future of nations and of Europe forms the most striking antithesis to Enzensberger’s. Pointing out how venerable is the tradition of comparing Middle Eastern dictators with Hitler (it ...

Union Sucrée

Perry Anderson: The Normalising of France, 23 September 2004

Le Rappel à l’ordre: Enquête sur les nouveaux réactionnaires 
by Daniel Lindenberg.
Seuil, 94 pp., €10.50, November 2002, 2 02 055816 5
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Esquisse pour une auto-analyse 
by Pierre Bourdieu.
Raisons d'Agir, 142 pp., €12, February 2004, 2 912107 19 9
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La République mondiale des lettres 
by Pascale Casanova.
Seuil, 492 pp., €27.50, March 1999, 2 02 035853 0
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... most original thinkers of the left, at odds with every surrounding orthodoxy. In the early 1980s, Régis Debray was already advancing a theory of politics as founded on the constitutive need, yet inability, of every human collectivity to endow itself with internal continuity and identity, and in consequence its dependence on an apex of authority – by ...

Confronting Defeat

Perry Anderson: Hobsbawm’s Histories, 17 October 2002

... In direction, they can be ranged together with the suggestions first adumbrated on the Left by Régis Debray, and then developed by Mark Lilla on the Right, that the hedonistic libertarianism of the period sprang from the same moral soil as the unbridled neo-liberalism of its successor – in the casting off of all restraints, first of sex and then of ...

On Complaining

Elif Batuman: How to Stay Sane, 20 November 2008

Philosophy in Turbulent Times: Canguilhem, Sartre, Foucault, Althusser, Deleuze, Derrida 
by Elisabeth Roudinesco, translated by William McCuaig.
Columbia, 184 pp., £15.50, November 2008, 978 0 231 14300 4
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... a ‘mystic monk’: ‘Is there such a great distance between a criminal and a saint?’ he asks. Régis Debray describes the murder as ‘an altruistic suicide’: ‘a beautiful proof of love … that one can save one’s skin while sacrificing oneself for the other, only to take upon oneself all the pain of living.’ Ironically, this is the same ...
The Age of Terrorism 
by Walter Laqueur.
Weidenfeld, 385 pp., £17.95, March 1987, 9780297791157
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The Baader-Meinhof Group: The Inside Story of a Phenomenon 
by Stefan Aust, translated by Anthea Bell.
Bodley Head, 552 pp., £12.95, June 1987, 0 370 31031 4
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... revolutionaries). After 14 months in jail the two skipped bail and went underground, staying in Régis Debray’s flat in Paris while Debray was detained at the pleasure of the Bolivian authorities. After a good deal of stealing and smashing up of cars in Italy and Austria, Baader ended up in jail again before being ...

Europe at Bay

Jeremy Harding: The Immigration Battle, 9 February 2012

... about how it’s regulated.In Europe, the most startling communitarian defence of the border is Régis Debray’s Eloge des frontières (2010), a grumpy, spirited attack on the liberal vogue for anything ‘sans frontières’. In France the list is long. It includes doctors, pharmacy staff, architects, librarians, lawyers, journalists and firemen. For ...

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