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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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... The life of Claude Lanzmann, Claude Lanzmann declares at the beginning of his memoir, has been ‘a rich, multifaceted and unique story’. Self-flattery is characteristically Lanzmannian, but its truth in this case can hardly be denied. He has lived on a grand scale. A teenage fighter in the Resistance, he became Sartre’s protégé in the early 1950s as an editor at Les Temps modernes ...


David Lan: On Jim Allen’s Perdition, 2 April 1987

... believe that the killing of the Jews actually took place. How ludicrous this is is made clear when Claude Lanzmann, director of Shoah, perhaps the most widely-acclaimed record of this particular genocide yet produced, refers to the killings in precisely the same terms. In the Jewish Quarterly he is quoted as saying: ‘The Holocaust today is legendary in ...

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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... was that his views were coloured by those of his young Jewish colleague at Les Temps modernes, Claude Lanzmann, a fervent Zionist. Sartre’s Arab admirers reasoned that if only they could show Sartre the revolution unfolding in Egypt, and the Palestinian refugee camps in the Gaza Strip, he would come to embrace the only authentically Sartrean ...


Colin Richmond: Love of Killing, 13 February 1992

... who made these things happen: the bureaucrats and clerks. Raul Hilberg, Christopher Browning and Claude Lanzmann (among others) have laid their contribution bare: such men did not care to know what they were doing; nevertheless they knew what they had to do and did it – with a dedicated efficiency which usually resulted in promotion. The other ...

Big Daddy

Linda Nochlin, 30 October 1997

American Visions: The Epic History of Art in America 
by Robert Hughes.
Harvill, 635 pp., £35, October 1997, 9781860463723
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... camps or Christ’s Passion. One might, on the same ill-taken grounds, criticise the film-maker Claude Lanzmann for not showing actual, suffering Jewish bodies in Shoah. But Hughes never deals with the larger reasons behind his choices: they are simply relegated to the realm of ‘personal taste’ and as such remain unquestionable and ...

All in the Family

Sylvia Lawson, 3 December 1992

Letters to Sartre 
by Simone de Beauvoir and Quintin Hoare.
Radius, 531 pp., £20, December 1991, 0 09 174774 0
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Witness to My Life: The Letters of Jean-Paul Sartre to Simone de Beauvior, 1926-1939 
edited by Simone de Beauvior, translated by Lee Fahnestock and Norman MacAfee.
Hamish Hamilton, 448 pp., £20, November 1992, 9780241133361
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... Ronald Hayman) over those from the Beauvoir biographies (Deirdre Bair – very much the best; Claude Francis and Fernande Gontier, Margaret Crosland). Check those against the crucial four volumes of Beauvoir’s memoirs, those translated as The Prime of Life, Force of Circumstance, All Said and Done and Adieux: A farewell to Sartre. Crosscheck against the ...

In New York

Hal Foster: Plans for Ground Zero, 20 March 2003

... pessimists glimpse a Trauma Theme Park in the making, with Libeskind a contemporary cross between Claude Lanzmann and Walt Disney, the perfect maestro for an age when historical tragedy can become urban spectacle. While the faceted towers of the design evoke the glass buildings celebrated in modern architecture, from the Crystal Palace to Bruno Taut and ...


Jenny Diski: Rape-Rape, 5 November 2009

... written by Bernard-Henri Lévy, and signed by Paul Auster, Milan Kundera, William Shawcross, Claude Lanzmann, Salman Rushdie, Mike Nichols, Neil Jordan, and, to bring up the female numbers, Diane von Furstenberg, the Isabelles Adjani and Huppert, Yamani Benguigui, Danièle Thompson and Arielle Dombasle. It reads: Apprehended like a common terrorist ...


Elaine Showalter, 14 June 1990

Simone de Beauvoir: A Biography 
by Deirdre Bair.
Cape, 718 pp., £19.95, June 1990, 9780224020480
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Lettres à Sartre. Vol I: 1930-1939 
by Simone de Beauvoir, edited by Sylvie Le Bon de Beauvoir.
Gallimard, 400 pp., frs 120, February 1990, 2 07 071829 8
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Lettres à Sartre. Vol II: 1940-1963 
by Simone de Beauvoir, edited by Sylvie Le Bon de Beauvoir.
Gallimard, 443 pp., frs 120, February 1990, 2 07 071864 6
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Journal de Guerre, Septembre 1939-Janvier 1941 
by Simone de Beauvoir, edited by Sylvie Le Bon de Beauvoir.
Gallimard, 371 pp., February 1990, 2 07 071809 3
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In the Shadow of Sartre 
by Liliane Siegel, translated by Barbara Wright.
182 pp., £12.95, May 1990, 9780002153362
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... which she tried to re-create, first with Sartre and then, more successfully, with a younger lover, Claude Lanzmann. They started living together in 1950. ‘On the first morning,’ Lanzmann recalls, I thought to lie in bed, but she got up, dressed, and went to her work table. ‘You work there,’ she said, pointing ...

More than ever, and for ever

Michael Rogin: Beauvoir and Nelson Algren, 17 September 1998

Beloved Chicago Man: Letters to Nelson Algren 1947-64 
by Simone de Beauvoir, edited by Sylvie Le Bon de Beauvoir.
Gollancz, 624 pp., £25, August 1998, 0 575 06590 7
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America Day by Day 
by Simone de Beauvoir, translated by Carol Cosman.
California, 355 pp., $27.50, January 1999, 0 520 20979 6
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... was too old for love and that her body was dead, within a year Beauvoir had begun a liaison with Claude Lanzmann. This ‘incestuous’ love for a man 17 years younger than she was could never replace him, she told Algren: his failure to replace her was far more devastating. Algren already had evidence that the domesticity for which he longed was for ...

‘I am my own foundation’

Megan Vaughan: Fanon and Third Worldism, 18 October 2001

Frantz Fanon: A Life 
by David Macey.
Granta, 640 pp., £12.99, September 2001, 1 86207 458 5
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... and frustration Fanon felt at being subject to American medicine in his last weeks. His friend Claude Lanzmann reported that ‘Fanon had lived his death minute by minute and had resisted it savagely . . . he hated those American racists, and distrusted all the hospital staff. When he woke up on his last morning, he betrayed his obsessions by saying ...

The earth had need of me

Joanna Biggs: A nice girl like Simone, 16 April 2020

Becoming Beauvoir: A Life 
by Kate Kirkpatrick.
Bloomsbury, 476 pp., £20, August 2019, 978 1 350 04717 4
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Parisian Lives: Samuel Beckett, Simone de Beauvoir and Me, a Memoir 
by Deirdre Bair.
Atlantic, 347 pp., £18.99, February 2020, 978 1 78649 265 4
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Diary of a Philosophy Student, Vol. II: 1928-29 
by Simone de Beauvoir, translated by Barbara Klaw.
Illinois, 374 pp., £40, June 2019, 978 0 252 04254 6
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... press, skipping the traditional scrum at Drouant for lunch with members of the family, including Claude Lanzmann – her new lover, the first, contingent or essential, she’d moved in with. She credited Lanzmann with having ‘freed me from my age’, and he encouraged her to keep going on The Mandarins; Beauvoir ...

Where Life Is Seized

Adam Shatz: Frantz Fanon’s Revolution, 19 January 2017

Écrits sur l’aliénation et la liberté 
by Frantz Fanon, edited by Robert Young and Jean Khalfa.
La Découverte, 688 pp., £22, October 2015, 978 2 7071 8638 6
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... lost weight in Mali, and when he returned to Tunis in December he was diagnosed with leukaemia. Claude Lanzmann, who met him shortly afterwards in Tunis, remembers him as ‘already so suffused with death that it gave his every word the power both of prophecy and of the last words of a dying man’. Fanon pleaded with the FLN to send him back to ...

The Cult of Celebrity

Jacqueline Rose, 20 August 1998

... to break the hallucination which she herself has provoked.There is a comparable moment in Claude Lanzmann’s Shoah. Lanzmann is interviewing the Treblinka survivor Abraham Bomba, whose job it was to cut the hair of the victims as they were about to enter the gas chamber. Bomba is cutting hair as he is ...

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