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31 October 1996
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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... of French intellectuals in the Eighties and Nineties may well be condemned to structuring their narratives around the post-Marx brothers of French intellectual life, Bernard-Henri Lévy and AlainFinkielkraut. 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 Lé ...

Autumn in Paris

Musab Younis: Autumn in Paris

25 November 2019
... culture and society.’On 16 October, on his television show 9h Galzi, the journalist Olivier Galzi compared the veil to an SS uniform.On 18 October, on the television show C à vous, the philosopher AlainFinkielkraut 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 ...

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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... the French chapter of the Aids pressure group Act Up. And Leibowitz, the rather absurd rentaquote thinker who slides slowly from the radical left to the neoconservative right, is clearly based on AlainFinkielkraut, 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 ...

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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... writing about martyrs. Even Alaska is an impermanent refuge. Everywhere will always be precarious, and therefore there is no need to luxuriate in mourning. In Le Juif imaginaire, published in 1980, AlainFinkielkraut 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 ...

Taking Refuge in the Loo

Leland de la Durantaye: Peter Handke

21 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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... Milosevic’s funeral, the vector of insult was mightily reversed. It seemed that all the warmth and admiration that had fallen to Handke over the course of his career had disappeared into thin air. AlainFinkielkraut 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 ...
15 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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... that a ‘great replacement’ of the indigenous population is underway, as people from the Maghreb ‘counter-colonise’ the Hexagon. Hazareesingh has no time for him or his friend, the essayist AlainFinkielkraut, 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 ...

Greater Croatia

Mark Thompson

13 May 1993
... Voltaire’. Tudjman recently intervened to stop the budget being axed for a Krleza encyclopedia, long planned to coincide with the centenary of his birth in July. The boyish nouveau philosophe AlainFinkielkraut 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 ...

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, 978 1 5095 3457 9
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... declared it ‘compulsory reading for all political leaders’. Macron called it ‘a perfect description of Africa’s demographic time bomb’ and Smith received a prize from the foreign minister. AlainFinkielkraut, 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 ...
6 December 2012
... guiding force of reaction and racism demands vigorous rebuttal. Some efforts have been made, but less successfully than one might wish. In 1997, a powerful group of writers, including the philosopher Alain Badiou and the political theorist AlainFinkielkraut, 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 ...

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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... and populist give-and-take of global democracy, or cyberdemocracy – is more worrying than Pierre Péan’s vocabulary. International humanitarianism thus opens a terrible can of worms – what AlainFinkielkraut 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 ...
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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... insisted that their intention was not to compare the Nakba to the Holocaust, but to show the thread that links them. Outraged by this scene, Lanzmann denounced Sivan as an anti-semite, and, with AlainFinkielkraut, 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 ...
21 March 2019
... any of these. From the incident late last year when a woman in the Paris Métro was insulted by Holocaust deniers in yellow vests, through a rash of vandalism and desecration, to the abuse hurled at AlainFinkielkraut 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 ...

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