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Douglas Johnson, 20 May 1982

La Cérémonie des Adieux 
by Simone de Beauvoir.
Gallimard, 559 pp., £9.25, November 1981
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Mes Années Sartre 
by Georges Michel.
Hachette, 217 pp., £6.15
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Oeuvres Romanesques 
by Jean-Paul Sartre, edited by Michel Contat and Michel Rybalka.
Bibliothèque de la Pléiade, 2174 pp., £22.50, January 1982
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... last collaborator, with whom he was working on important projects in the months before his death. Georges Michel, a communist watchmaker who wrote plays and, through them, became linked with Sartre and Les Temps Modernes, also condemns Paul Victor (who published an interview with Sartre in which the latter made some untypical remarks) and cries ...

At the National Gallery

Peter Campbell: French Landscape Painting, 27 August 2009

... teatime and no one stayed out if rain threatened. The stormy landscapes by Théodore Rousseau and Georges Michel, a sunset by Daubigny and, in Courbet’s 1874 beach scene, red clouds on the horizon to the left and what looks like rain on the right are records of more adventurous excursions (always assuming that they were painted out of doors – even ...

At Turner Contemporary

Eleanor Birne: ‘Curiosity’, 18 July 2013

... of agates, alabaster, quartz and jasper put together by Roger Caillois, a collaborator of Georges Bataille and Michel Leiris, to a vitrine displaying tiny artworks made from split lengths of human hair, collected by the artist Susan Hiller, to Richard Wentworth’s snapshots of traffic cones or abandoned gloves or ...

At Tate Modern

Jeremy Harding: Giacometti, 17 August 2017

... of brilliant commentary. There are many entries here for the writers who took up with him – Georges Bataille, Michel Leiris, Sartre and Beauvoir, Jean Genet and others – though none under B for Beckett, and none for John Berger, who was cool at first, then much warmer, coming under fire from David Sylvester ...

A loaf here, a fish there

Roy Porter, 15 November 1984

Science and Medicine in France: The Emergence of Experimental Physiology 1790-1855 
by John Lesch.
Harvard, 276 pp., £20, September 1984, 0 674 79400 1
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Georges Cuvier: Vocation, Science and Authority in Post-Revolutionary France 
by Dorinda Outram.
Manchester, 299 pp., £25, October 1984, 0 7190 1077 2
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... Not the least of the debts we owe to the late Michel Foucault is that he directed our attention to the revolutions which transformed the life sciences around the dawn of the 19th century. On the one hand, traditional discourse about animals and plants, centred on such criteria as visible character and structure and geared to classification within the Great Chain of Being, was replaced by a science of form and organisation, concentrating on function and the internal subordination of parts, and directed to the problem of life itself ...

Before Foucault

Roy Porter, 25 January 1990

The Normal and the Pathological 
by Georges Canguilhem, translated by Carolyn Fawcett and Robert Cohen.
Zone, 327 pp., £21.95, June 1989, 0 942299 58 2
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... were being analysed, with great perspicacity, by the French philosopher and historian of science, Georges Canguilhem, in a work written in 1943 and now gratifyingly back in print in an English translation. In a nutshell, The Normal and the Pathological is a sustained protest against what Canguilhem saw as medicine’s pernicious drive to reduce the notions of ...

May ’88

Douglas Johnson, 21 April 1988

Les Sept Mitterrand 
by Catherine Nay.
Grasset, 286 pp., frs 96, September 1988, 2 246 36291 1
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France Today 
by John Ardagh.
Secker, 647 pp., £22.50, October 1987, 0 436 01746 6
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Jacques Chirac 
by Franz-Oliver Giesbert.
Seuil, 455 pp., frs 125, April 1987, 2 02 009771 0
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Monsieur Barre 
by Henri Amouroux.
Laffont, 584 pp., frs 125, June 1986, 2 221 04954 3
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The Workers’ Movement 
by Alain Touraine, Michel Wieviorka and François Dubet, translated by Ian Patterson.
Cambridge/Editions de la Maison des Sciences de l’Homme, 322 pp., £35, October 1987, 0 521 30852 6
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The State and the Market Economy: Industrial Patriotism and Economic Intervention in France 
by Jack Hayward.
Wheatsheaf, 267 pp., £32.50, December 1985, 0 7450 0012 6
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France under Recession 1981-86 
by John Tuppen.
Macmillan, 280 pp., £29.50, February 1988, 0 333 39889 0
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... charge of research, had urged the French to become the Japanese of Europe; in 1980 the Communist Georges Marchais had accused the opponents of modernisation of being agents of American economic imperialism; for years before that, Michel Rocard had been urging French socialists to imitate the West Germans and forget about ...

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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... by half-madmen.’ ‘He wore masks, and he was always changing them,’ said his mentor Georges Dumézil, the great specialist 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 ...

Je sui uns hom

Tom Shippey, 1 June 1989

Medieval Civilisation 400-1500 
by Jacques Le Goff, translated by Julia Barrow.
Blackwell, 393 pp., £19.95, November 1988, 0 631 15512 0
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The Cambridge Illustrated History of the Middle Ages. Vol. I: 350-950 
edited by Robert Fossier, translated by Janet Sondheimer.
Cambridge, 556 pp., £30, February 1989, 0 521 26644 0
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The Medieval Imagination 
by Jacques Le Goff, translated by Arthur Goldhammer.
Chicago, 293 pp., £21.95, November 1988, 0 226 47084 9
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Concepts of Cleanliness: Changing Attitudes in France since the Middle Ages 
by Georges Vigarello, translated by Jean Birrell.
Cambridge/Editions de la Maison des Sciences de l’Homme, 239 pp., £25, October 1988, 0 521 34248 1
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Medieval Iceland: Society, Sagas and Power 
by Jesse Byock.
California, 264 pp., $32.50, October 1988, 0 520 05420 2
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... of The Cambridge Illustrated History of the Middle Ages, also a translation from the originals of Michel Rouche, Evelyne Patlagean and others. This, too, is a most engaging volume, with particularly brilliant and unfamiliar illustrations: the Roman officer’s cavalry helmet found in a peat-bog, together with a purse and coins dating ‘the accident’ to ...

Hungry Ghosts

Paul Connerton, 19 April 1990

Fragments for a History of the Human Body, Parts I-III 
edited by Michel Feher, Ramona Naddaff and Nadia Tazi.
Zone, 480 pp., £35.95, May 1989, 0 942299 25 6
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... body is socially constructed he has been followed more recently by, among others, Norbert Elias, Michel Foucault, Pierre Bourdieu and Mary Douglas. To these we must now add Fragments for a History of the Human Body, a collection edited by Michel Feher, with Ramona Naddaff and Nadia Tazi. The book is in three ...

Short Cuts

Jeremy Harding: Depardieu in Belgium, 24 January 2013

... There is no hiding place in France for anyone who wants time off from Gérard Depardieu, or Georges, the insidious, attractive fortysomething we remember in Peter Weir’s Green Card (1990). The idea that Depardieu has gone or is going anywhere is endlessly tantalising: he has never been more insistent, more palpably at home or preposterous than he is now, as he promises the French he’ll be waddling off in blue-and-white striped pantaloons as a traduced Obelix (1999, passim) lugging a menhir of tax-free earnings ...

Dirty’s Story

Mark Polizzotti, 28 November 1996

The Collected Writings 
by Laure, translated by Jeanine Herman.
City Lights, 314 pp., $13.95, August 1995, 0 87286 293 3
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... for her tortured, inspired relationships with several prominent French intellectuals, most notably Georges Bataille. And although this edition of her collected writings seeks to correct that impression, its ultimate effect is only to reinforce it. By the time one emerges from this compilation of autobiographical and biographical sketches by and about her, of ...

John Sturrock

Mary-Kay Wilmers, 21 September 2017

... line in oxymorons. Who else would have found Céline’s sarcasm ‘refreshing’? How often was Michel Houellebecq’s first novel, Whatever, praised for being ‘impressively bleak’, and his next for being ‘boldly out of tune with the times’? Would anyone else have thought to describe the Dreyfus Affair as ‘that inspirational episode of ...


Daniel Soar: Harry Mathews, 21 July 2005

My Life in CIA: A Chronicle of 1973 
by Harry Mathews.
Dalkey Archive, 203 pp., £8.99, July 2005, 1 56478 392 8
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... and Tlooth (1966); he was trying hard to find a publisher for the third. He had been befriended by Georges Perec and become a member of the Oulipo, the Ouvroir de littérature potentielle, whose monthly meetings to discuss mathematical or combinatorial writerly inventions kept him going but whose fierce criticism could be discouraging. He went to parties, he ...

Le Roi Giscard

Emmanuel Le Roy Ladurie, 16 April 1981

La Saga des Giscard 
by Pol Bruno.
Ramsay, 264 pp., May 1980, 2 85956 185 4
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... for the monarchy. The son, Jacques, married into another upper-middle-class French family, the Georges-Picots; in 1920, his journalistic activities brought him into close touch with the heavy industry employers’ association (the Comité des Forges), and with the iron and steel-making lineage of the de Wendels. In 1922, the granddaughter, May ...

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