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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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... which he hated, he had to forge a sort of mask. He needed that.’ Contradictory verdicts on André Malraux, from witnesses I questioned about him in Paris when making a documentary for BBC Radio 3. Whether hostile or favourable, all of them were vehement. ‘I cannot name one person, left, right, or centre,’ said the reporter and novelist Olivier ...

The Man from Nowhere

John Sturrock: Burying André Malraux, 9 August 2001

André MalrauxUne Vie 
by Olivier Todd.
Gallimard, 694 pp., frs 175, April 2001, 2 07 074921 5
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... At André Malraux’s funeral, in November 1976, two red wreaths were delivered to the cemetery: one came from the French Communist Party, an organisation to which he never belonged, the other from Lasserre, a three-rosette restaurant near the Grand Palais where he had liked to lunch – on his own should company fail ...

Chatwin and the Hippopotamus

Colin Thubron, 22 June 1989

What am I doing here 
by Bruce Chatwin.
Cape, 367 pp., £12.95, May 1989, 0 224 02634 8
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... vignettes of the art world. The section devoted to ‘Encounters’ – with Nadezhda Mandelstam, André Malraux, Werner Herzog, the architect Konstantin Melnikov and the fashion-designer Madeleine Vionnet – is balanced by odder meetings: an investigation into an Indian ‘wolf-boy’, a report on a sinister-ludicrous Boston messiah, and on a Chinese ...

The First Protest

Stephen Frears, 24 May 2018

... editor of the LRB, the head of the French Cinémathèque, Henri Langlois, was sacked – by André Malraux, the novelist turned Gaullist minister of culture. A piece in the Guardian by their great Paris correspondent, Peter Lennon, described what happened next. There had been a demonstration outside the padlocked gates of the Palais de ...

Holocaust Art

Robert Taubman, 10 January 1983

Schindler’s Ark 
by Thomas Keneally.
Hodder, 432 pp., £7.95, October 1982, 0 340 27838 2
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... In the preface to Days of Contempt, André Malraux alerted his readers to the fact that ‘it is the concentration camps that are dealt with here.’ This was in 1935, and the first of Hitler’s concentration camps had been established only two years earlier. But this preface is misleading, for the novel is neither informative nor prophetic about the concentration camps – what it mainly reveals is the conditioning power of the historical imagination ...

Hitting and running

Eugen Weber, 10 June 1993

In Search of the Maquis: Rural Resistance in Southern France, 1942-1944 
by H.R. Kedward.
Oxford, 342 pp., £35, March 1993, 0 19 821931 8
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Outwitting the Gestapo 
by Lucie Aubrac, translated by Konrad Bieber and Betsy Wing.
Nebraska, 235 pp., $25, June 1993, 0 8032 1029 9
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... among French citizens to attest that their bearers had been Voluntary Resistance Fighters. Yet André Malraux, talking to Sanche de Gramont in 1970, asserted that ‘we’ Resistants were 17,000, while ‘they’ – French members of the Waffen SS – were 40,000. That begs a question to which I know no answer, though ...

Riparian

Douglas Johnson, 15 July 1982

The Left Bank: Writers in Paris, from Popular Front to Cold War 
by Herbert Lottman.
Heinemann, 319 pp., £12.50, May 1982, 0 434 42943 0
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... shared arrondissement and their nearness to the Luxembourg Gardens be of particular significance? André Malraux lived in the Rue du Bac – for ever rendered more attractive by the remark made by the exiled Madame de Staël, that it was this street that she missed most of all – whilst Robert Brasillach lived in the more elongated ugliness of the Rue ...

Trips

Graham Coster, 26 July 1990

In Xanadu: A Quest 
by William Dalrymple.
Collins, 314 pp., £14.95, July 1989, 0 00 217948 2
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The Gunpowder Gardens 
by Jason Goodwin.
Chatto, 230 pp., £14.95, March 1990, 0 7011 3620 0
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Silk Roads: The Asian Adventures of André and Clara Malraux 
by Axel Madsen.
Tauris, 299 pp., £14.95, April 1990, 1 85043 209 0
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At Home and Abroad 
by V.S. Pritchett.
Chatto, 332 pp., £14.95, February 1990, 0 7011 3620 0
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Great Plains 
by Ian Frazier.
Faber, 290 pp., £14.99, March 1990, 0 571 14260 5
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... forced on you with the tacit smugness of ‘I’ve been there, and you haven’t!’ Theroux’s André Parent, like Theroux himself, opts in his own travel narrative for ‘the effect of people talking ... their exact words. Nothing was more human than direct speech. It could be very simple, the place making it extraordinary.’ This is one option: allow ...
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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... Jewish version of the Catholic François Mauriac, while Lévy had dreamed of being Mitterrand’s André Malraux (unfortunately for him, Régis Debray got there first – just as, Lévy notes in Le Lys et la cendre, he had ‘stolen the part’ of the intellectual as adventurer when he was jailed in Bolivia for joining Che Guevara). More ...

Diary

Robert Walshe: Bumping into Beckett, 7 November 1985

... to the same television studios where he held forth before the cameras in a way that would have put André Malraux to shame. Gary was probably better in the talk department than Isaiah Berlin: the Carl Lewis, one might say, of talkers. One can admire Carl Lewis as an athlete, however, without being overcome by any great desire to run against him. On the ...

Diary

Michael Wood: In the City of Good Air, 20 November 2003

... this posture, if we can, from simple denial of the facts or a too warm embrace of magical realism. André Malraux said ‘Buenos Aires is like the capital of an empire that never existed,’ and this is true in a sense that takes us well beyond the way the city looks, with its banks and monuments, boulevards and grand spaces. Buenos Aires was never a ...

A Few Pitiful Traitors

David Drake: The French Resistance, 4 May 2016

Fighters in the Shadows: A New History of the French Resistance 
by Robert Gildea.
Faber, 593 pp., £20, September 2015, 978 0 571 28034 6
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Occupation Trilogy: ‘La Place de l’etoile’, ‘The Night Watch’, ‘Ring Roads’ 
by Patrick Modiano, translated by Caroline Hillier, Patricia Wolf and Frank Wynne.
Bloomsbury, 336 pp., £18.99, August 2015, 978 1 4088 6790 7
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... passionate speech at the ceremony, which was broadcast to the nation, the late-in-the-day resister André Malraux reiterated the myth that de Gaulle alone had been able to unite the Resistance. But de Gaulle’s reputation was seriously dented by the revolts of 1968. He resigned the following year, having failed to win a referendum on regional reform, and ...

Happy you!

Rosemary Dinnage, 21 July 1994

Intimate Letters: Leoš Janáček to Kamilá Stösslová 
edited and translated by John Tyrrell.
Faber, 397 pp., £25, January 1993, 0 571 14466 7
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Pirandello’s Love Letters to Marta Abba 
edited and translated by Benito Ortolani.
Princeton, 363 pp., £24.95, June 1994, 0 691 03499 0
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Significant Others: Creativity and Intimate Partnership 
edited by Whitney Chadwick and Isabelle de Courtivron.
Thames and Hudson, 256 pp., £14.95, June 1993, 9780500015667
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... And ‘there was that business of triggering energies,’ Johns said. At worst, there is André Malraux saying to Clara Malraux: ‘Better to be my wife than a second-rate writer.’ The talented Clara Malraux did cling onto him as sole ‘significant other’ long after ...

The Women of ‘Guernica’

Anne Wagner, 16 August 2017

... painter of themes. Themes, not subjects or ‘subject matter’: he pointed out the difference to André Malraux in 1937, just before Guernica left his studio for the Paris World’s Fair. Malraux had remarked that though neither of them put much stock in ‘subject matter’, on this occasion, in painting the great ...

Homage to Spain

Douglas Johnson, 22 May 1986

Homage to Catalonia 
by George Orwell.
Secker, 260 pp., £12.95, April 1986, 0 436 35028 9
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The Spanish Civil War 
by Hugh Thomas.
Hamish Hamilton, 1115 pp., £20, March 1986, 0 241 89450 6
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The Triumph of Democracy in Spain 
by Paul Preston.
Methuen, 274 pp., £14.95, April 1986, 0 416 36350 4
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... was able to read similar accounts of the dignity and humanity of those who fought against Franco. André Malraux, in his novel l’Espoir, told how one of the planes in his squadron was brought down in the mountains, behind the Loyalist lines. There were no roads, only mule paths, and the entire population escorted the stretcher-bearers as they brought ...

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