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These are intolerable

Richard Mayne: A Thousand Foucaults, 10 September 1992

Michel Foucault 
by Didier Eribon, translated by Betsy Wing.
Faber, 374 pp., £25, August 1992, 0 571 14474 8
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... in Indo-European mythology. But it was more than a matter of masks. ‘No doubt,’ writes Didier Eribon, ‘there are several Foucaults – a thousand Foucaults, as Dumézil said.’ At all events, Eribon’s biography is a masterly effort to fuse them into one.‘Writing a biography of Michel Foucault,’ he ...

The People of the Village

Tash Aw: ‘The End of Eddy’, 16 February 2017

The End of Eddy 
by Edouard Louis, translated by Michael Lucey.
Harvill Secker, 192 pp., £12.99, February 2017, 978 1 84655 900 6
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Histoire de la violence 
by Edouard Louis.
Editions du Seuil, 230 pp., £22, January 2016, 978 2 7578 6481 4
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... of French writers like Annie Ernaux, in her trio of slim autobiographical novels, and, especially, Didier Eribon (to whom The End of Eddy is dedicated), whose influential memoir Retour à Reims involves a now celebrated writer revisiting the tough working-class childhood in which he struggled with sexuality, education and the weight of France’s social ...

Episteme, My Arse

Christopher Tayler: Laurent Binet, 15 June 2017

The Seventh Function of Language 
by Laurent Binet, translated by Sam Taylor.
Harvill Secker, 390 pp., £16.99, May 2017, 978 1 910701 58 4
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... to interviewers that although he’d done a lot of reading and quizzed Eric Marty on Barthes, Didier Eribon on Foucault and so on, he depicted his real-life characters by way of their ‘mythologies’. His Foucault is a figure of prodigious energy and charisma who’s forever popping up to unsettle the two investigators. He’s shown gliding through ...


Edward Said: My Encounter with Sartre, 1 June 2000

... been so unwilling to say anything to me about Middle Eastern politics. In their biographies, both Didier Eribon and James Miller reveal that in 1967 he had been teaching in Tunisia and had left the country in some haste, shortly after the June War. Foucault had said at the time that the reason he left had been his horror at the ...

The Palimpsest Sensation

Joanna Biggs: Annie Ernaux’s Gaze, 21 October 2021

by Annie Ernaux, translated by Tanya Leslie.
Fitzcarraldo, 74 pp., £8.99, September, 978 1 913097 68 4
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... is in the attention she pays to ordinary things, linking her work to that of Édouard Louis and Didier Eribon as well as Flaubert and Maupassant (who wrote about the part of Normandy she is from), and also to all those, the Gilets Jaunes among them, who are fed up of hearing about the Left Bank as if it were the centre of the country, if not the ...

Jottings, Scraps and Doodles

Adam Shatz: Lévi-Strauss, 3 November 2011

Claude Levi-Strauss: The Poet in the Laboratory 
by Patrick Wilcken.
Bloomsbury, 375 pp., £30, November 2011, 978 0 7475 8362 2
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... born in 1908, he felt the impact of the Dreyfus Affair. In a series of interviews conducted with Didier Eribon in the late 1980s and collected in De près et de loin, he spoke of being bullied at school, and of his embattled sense of difference as a member of a national community that didn’t fully accept him. It’s tempting to imagine that this ...

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