Past imperfect : French intellectuals, 1944-1956 / Tony Judt.Material type: TextSeries: JSTOR eBooksPublisher: New York : New York University Press, ©2011Description: 1 online resource (x, 348 pages)Content type: text Media type: computer Carrier type: online resourceISBN: 9780814743577; 0814743579; 9780814743928; 0814743927Additional physical formats: Print version:: Past imperfect.DDC classification: 305.5/52094409044 LOC classification: DC33.7 | .J842 2011Online resources: Click here to view this ebook.
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Includes bibliographical references and index.
pt. 1. The force of circumstance? -- Decline and fall : the French intellectual community at the end of the Third Republic -- In the light of experience : the "lessons" of defeat and occupation -- Resistance and revenge : the semantics of commitment in the aftermath of liberation -- What is political justice? : philosophical anticipations of the Cold War -- pt. 2. The blood of others -- Show Thais : political terror in the East European mirror, 1947-1953 -- The blind force of history : the philosophical case for terror -- Today things are clear : doubts, dissent, and awakenings -- pt. 3. The treason of the intellectuals -- The sacrifices of the Russian people : a phenomenology of intellectual Russophilia -- About the East we can do nothing : of double standards and bad faith -- America has gone mad : anti-Americanism in historical perspective -- We must not disillusion the workers : on the self-abnegation and elective affinities of the intellectual -- pt. 4. The Middle Kingdom -- Liberalism, there is the enemy -- On some peculiarities of French political thought -- Gesta Dei per Francos : Theú Frenchness of French intellectuals -- Europe and the French intellectuals -- The responsibilities of power -- Conclusion: Goodbye to all that?
Print version record.
Reviews provided by Syndetics
Library Journal ReviewJudt argues that while most intellectuals were not Communists, they did act as apologists for a system that terrorized the very masses it purported to liberate. Judt's thesis is based on the indifference of French intellectuals toward the atrocities committed primarily by Stalin's Soviet Union under the guise of communism. Anti-Semitism, colonialism, capitalism, existentialism, and fascism are analyzed in their relation to communism and placed into historical context. The infighting and power struggles among the intellectuals (i.e, established writers, artists, philosophers) are also discussed at length. The concluding chapter, exploring the role of the intellectual in modern society, includes some harsh words about the influence of French intellectualism on American academics. Biased but convincing; strongly recommended for academic libraries.-- Janice Braun, Oakland, Cal. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
CHOICE ReviewJudt (New York Univ. and The Hoover Institution) excoriates French leftists, Marxist and Catholic, for moral blindness toward Stalinism. Sartre, for the secularists, and Mounier, for the Catholics, come in for the most lashing. Judt's argument is that the Resistance opposition to Nazism and Vichy has been exaggerated, particularly in the case of Sartre and Mounier, and that the postwar purge of collaborators was shamefully overdone. The Left, having thus reduced justice to mere ideology, was morally bankrupt and ripe for toadying to Stalinism during the period of the purge trials in East Europe, the first revelations concerning the Soviet gulag, and the 1956 repression in Hungary. Judt claims that the danger would persist (given that French radicals still ape the relativism of German thinkers) save for the decline of intellectuals' influence and the emergence of sane revolutionaries such as Vaclav Havel. Central to understanding this work is Judt's assertion that any "neutral historicist account" is itself as grave a moral lapse as neutrality toward Nazism, so that he has been obliged to produce "an essay on intellectual irresponsibility." The flavor of the 1940s and '50s the ideological tangle occasioned by moving from World War to Cold War, the materialism unleashed during Europe's reconstruction, the agonies involved in beginning decolonization is simply missing. Figures and movements are therefore more caricatured than criticized despite the deep erudition displayed. Graduate; faculty. T. J. Knight; Colorado State University
Author notes provided by SyndeticsTony Judt was born in London, England on January 2, 1948. He was educated at King's College, Cambridge University and the École Normale Supérieure, Paris. He taught at numerous colleges and universities including Cambridge University; St. Anne's College, Oxford; the University of California, Berkeley and New York University. He was the author or editor off over fifteen books including Ill Fares the Land, Reappraisals: Reflections on the Forgotten Twentieth Century, and Postwar: A History of Europe Since 1945, which won the Council on Foreign Relations Arthur Ross Book Award. He was also a frequent contributor to numerous journals including The New York Review of Books, the Times Literary Supplement, The New Republic, and The New York Times. He was diagnosed with ALS in 2008. He died on August 6, 2010 at the age of 62.
(Bowker Author Biography)