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Adventures on the Freedom Road: The French Intellectuals in the 20th Century 
by Bernard-Henri Lévy, translated by Richard Veasey.
Harvill, 434 pp., £20, December 1995, 1 86046 035 6
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The Imaginary Jew 
by Alain Finkielkraut, translated by Kevin O’Neill and David Suchoff.
Nebraska, 230 pp., £23.95, August 1994, 0 8032 1987 3
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The Defeat of the Mind 
by Alain Finkielkraut, translated by Judith Friedlander.
Columbia, 165 pp., $15, May 1996, 0 231 08023 9
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... narratives around the post-Marx brothers of French intellectual life, Bernard-Henri Lévy and Alain Finkielkraut. This is not a case simply of contemporary thinkers being dwarfed by the giants of the past – the familiar lament about the decline of French intellectuals is rather unfair. The problem is that Lévy and ...

It belonged to us

Theo Tait: Tristan Garcia, 17 March 2011

Hate: A Romance 
by Tristan Garcia, translated by Marion Duvert and Lorin Stein.
Faber, 273 pp., £12.99, February 2011, 978 0 571 25183 4
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... thinker who slides slowly from the radical left to the neoconservative right, is clearly based on Alain Finkielkraut, author of The Imaginary Jew and one of France’s leading public intellectuals. Like Finkielkraut, Leibowitz is the son of a working-class Polish Jew who survived Auschwitz; like ...

Autumn in Paris

Musab Younis: Autumn in Paris, 5 December 2019

... the veil to an SS uniform.On 18 October, on the television show C à vous, the philosopher Alain Finkielkraut said: ‘The hijab is not France.’On 19 October, hundreds of people demonstrated against Islamophobia at Place de la République in Paris. One of them was Clémentine Autain, a politician from La France Insoumise (‘France ...

Sashimi with a Side of Fries

Adam Thirlwell: Michael Chabon, 16 August 2007

The Yiddish Policemen’s Union 
by Michael Chabon.
Fourth Estate, 414 pp., £17.99, June 2007, 978 0 00 715039 7
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... and therefore there is no need to luxuriate in mourning. In Le Juif imaginaire, published in 1980, Alain Finkielkraut writes that ‘what transformed at one stroke Jewish life into folklore was a precise, punctual and very recent event: genocide.’ We should not underestimate the Nazis’ success: ‘They wiped from the earth a unique culture, that of ...

Moi Aussi

Lili Owen Rowlands, 22 April 2021

... who denies all wrongdoing, immediately resigned his positions and an investigation was launched. Alain Finkielkraut was fired from a TV job for suggesting that the sex may have been consensual, and others followed in a similar fashion. Thousands of stories of abuse have since accumulated under the hashtag #MeTooInceste, and the cumulative effect of the ...

Taking Refuge in the Loo

Leland de la Durantaye: Peter Handke, 22 May 2014

Versuch über den Pilznarren: Eine Geschichte für sich 
by Peter Handke.
Suhrkamp, 217 pp., £14.70, September 2013, 978 3 518 42383 7
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Peter Handke im Gespräch, mit Hubert Patterer und Stefan Winkler 
Kleine Zeitung, 120 pp., £15.36, November 2012, 978 3 902819 14 7Show More
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... admiration that had fallen to Handke over the course of his career had disappeared into thin air. Alain Finkielkraut called him an ‘ideological monster’. Salman Rushdie nominated him ‘International Moron of the Year’ for 1999. Susan Sontag said that there were many many people who would never pick up one of his books again. Presenting the matter ...

A Rage for Abstraction

Jeremy Harding, 16 June 2016

The Other Paris: An Illustrated Journey through a City’s Poor and Bohemian Past 
by Luc Sante.
Faber, 306 pp., £25, November 2015, 978 0 571 24128 6
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How the French Think: An Affectionate Portrait of an Intellectual People 
by Sudhir Hazareesingh.
Allen Lane, 427 pp., £20, June 2015, 978 1 84614 602 2
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... the Hexagon. Hazareesingh has no time for him or his friend, the essayist Alain Finkielkraut, whose 2013 bestseller, L’Identité malheureuse, bemoans the ‘self-effacement’ of the native French, a population of ‘strangers in their own land’. ‘In his drift towards this self-pitying and xenophobic ...

Greater Croatia

Mark Thompson, 13 May 1993

... long planned to coincide with the centenary of his birth in July. The boyish nouveau philosophe Alain Finkielkraut got a rousing reception in Zagreb when he came here for the launch of his new book, How Can One Be A Croat? In the darkest days of 1991, when commentators and politicians – French and British ones perhaps above all – were turning up ...

Fanning the Flames

Arun Kapil: Zemmour’s Obsessions, 24 February 2022

... he attends a synagogue, he does not speak about his religion in sentimental terms; nor – unlike Alain Finkielkraut, say – does he make claims for the uniqueness of the Holocaust or the specialness of his people. But his defence of assimilation, and his impatience with those who reject the confinement of religion to the private sphere, reflects his ...

Who’s your dance partner?

Thomas Meaney: Europe inside Africa, 7 November 2019

The Scramble for Europe: Young Africa on Its Way to the Old Continent 
by Stephen Smith.
Polity, 197 pp., £15.99, April 2019, 978 1 5095 3457 9
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... of Africa’s demographic time bomb’ and Smith received a prize from the foreign minister. Alain Finkielkraut, doyen of respectable Islamophobes, lapped up Smith’s thesis, which he took to be that ‘Europe shouldn’t become African.’ For such readers, Smith’s argument included a bonus: he laid bare the threat that millions of ...

Communiste et Rastignac

Christopher Caldwell: Bernard Kouchner, 9 July 2009

Le Monde selon K. 
by Pierre Péan.
Fayard, 331 pp., €19, February 2009, 978 2 213 64372 4
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... Péan’s vocabulary. International humanitarianism thus opens a terrible can of worms – what Alain Finkielkraut has called the ‘incitement to anti-racist hatred’. Without ever explicitly accusing Péan of anti-semitism, Kouchner and Lévy use innuendo about it to help them skate over the charges he levels. But there is no reason to believe that ...

Everybody’s Joan

Marina Warner, 6 December 2012

... successfully than one might wish. In 1997, a powerful group of writers, including the philosopher Alain Badiou and the political theorist Alain Finkielkraut, assembled in the Théâtre de l’Odéon in Paris to rescue Joan’s memory from the grip of these propagandists, chiefly by recourse to the poet who put the case ...

Charlie’s War

Jeremy Harding, 4 February 2021

... in 2014) and a growing sense that the ‘French’ are a ‘minority in their own country’ (Alain Finkielkraut in 2013).Suspicion of Muslims and their faith has built a solid ideological path to the new, racialised, anti-Islamic, anti-immigrant secularism. It has also led to a profound lack of confidence among French Muslims in the republican ...

Nothing he hasn’t done, nowhere he hasn’t been

Adam Shatz: Claude Lanzmann, 5 April 2012

The Patagonian Hare: A Memoir 
by Claude Lanzmann, translated by Frank Wynne.
Atlantic, 528 pp., £25, March 2012, 978 1 84887 360 5
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... that links them. Outraged by this scene, Lanzmann denounced Sivan as an anti-semite, and, with Alain Finkielkraut, successfully lobbied the Ministry of Culture to prevent the film being shown at a documentary festival at the Pompidou Centre. Lanzmann, Sivan said, ‘is the only intellectual in the world whom you are not allowed to quote’. Since the ...

Among the Gilets Jaunes

Jeremy Harding, 21 March 2019

... deniers in yellow vests, through a rash of vandalism and desecration, to the abuse hurled at Alain Finkielkraut in February (‘go back to Tel Aviv’), antisemitism has become the prevailing racist mode, but not the only one: a Muslim woman was forced to remove her hijab at a go-slow, a black MP was described on social media as ‘a fat Macronist ...

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