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By D. Drake

What did French intellectuals need to say approximately Gaullism, the chilly struggle, the women's stream, colonialism, and the occasions of may possibly 1968? David Drake examines the political dedication of intellectuals in France from Sartre and Camus to Bernard-Henri L?vy and Pierre Bourdieu. during this available examine, he explores why there has been an intensive reassessment of the intellectual's position within the mid-1970s to the Eighties and the way a brand new iteration engaged with Islam, racism, the Balkans conflict, and the moves of 1995.

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As early as March 1946, while France was still struggling to establish new constitutional arrangements, Britain’s wartime leader, Winston Churchill, in his now famous speech at Fulton, Missouri, had identified an ‘iron curtain’ descending across Europe from Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic. On 12 March 1947, the US President Harry Truman successfully appealed to Congress for $400 million in aid for Greece and Turkey by insisting that American interests were at stake in a struggle that pitched democracy and freedom against oppression and tyranny.

For some in the PCF this was pure prevarication and typical of the petite bourgeoisie whence he came. 69 In response to the Communists’ charge that existentialism dwelt in the sordid, and was more willing to reveal the wickedness and base facets of humanity rather than its positive sides, Sartre replied that while he recognised that there was nothing better than heroism, greatness, generosity and selfishness which were ultimately the very sense of human action, he remained suspicious of people who called on literature to paint a glowing picture of life made up of goodness and purity because of their need to believe that it was easy to do the right or good thing.

However, just as the intellectuals were excluded from any participation in the formulation of the Party’s political strategy and tactics, so were they also banned from formulating the Party line in cultural matters – even in areas of their own expertise. For example, the biologist Marcel Prenant, who was elected to the Central Committee in 1945, was appalled in 1948 when the Party had embraced the ‘materialist’ theories of biologist Trofim Lysenko in opposition to the ‘idealist’ theories of Gregori Mendel.

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