The End of the French Intellectual by Shlomo Sand
From Zola to Houellebecq

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I’d like to read that adventure story, but Sand doesn’t tell it. Instead, he explores the embarrassing truth that, while in the new millennium the quality of French intellectual life has plummeted
-Guardian

Synopsis

Charting the decline of the French intellectual, from the Dreyfus Affair to Islamophobia

The best-selling author of The Invention of the Jewish People, Shlomo Sand examines the troublesome figure of the French intellectual. Revered throughout the Francophile world, France’s tradition of public intellectual engagement stems from Voltaire and Zola and runs through Sartre and Foucault to the present day. The intellectual enjoys a status as the ethical lodestar of his nation’s life, but, as Sand shows, the recent history of these esteemed figures shows how often, and how profoundly, they have fallen short of the ideal.
 
Sand examines Sartre and de Beauvoir’s unsettling accommodations during the Nazi occupation and then shows how Muslims have replaced Jews as the nation’s scapegoats for a new generation of public intellectuals, including Michel Houellebecq and Alain Finkielkraut. Possessing an intimate knowledge of the Parisian intellectual milieu, Sand laments the degradation of a literary elite, but questions the value of that class at the best of times.
 
Drawing parallels between the Dreyfus Affair and Charlie Hebdo, while mixing reminiscence with analysis, Sand casts a characteristically candid and mordant gaze upon the intellectual scene of today.
 

About Shlomo Sand

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Shlomo Sand studied history at the University of Tel Aviv and at the École des hautes études en sciences sociales, in Paris. He currently teaches contemporary history at the University of Tel Aviv. His books include The Invention of the Jewish People, On the Nation and the Jewish People, L’Illusion du politique: Georges Sorel et le débat intellectuel 1900, Georges Sorel en son temps, Le XXe siècle à l'écran and Les Mots et la terre: les intellectuels en Israël. Geremy Forman teaches in the Department for Land of Israel Studies at the University of Haifa. He has most recently contributed to the collection Reapproaching Borders: New Perspectives on the Study of Israel–Palestine.
 
Published April 10, 2018 by Verso. 304 pages
Genres: Political & Social Sciences, Law & Philosophy. Non-fiction
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Guardian

Above average
Reviewed by Stuart Jeffries on May 04 2018

I’d like to read that adventure story, but Sand doesn’t tell it. Instead, he explores the embarrassing truth that, while in the new millennium the quality of French intellectual life has plummeted

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