Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Second-hand New Philospher for sale. Cheap.

To my American readers: guys, apologies for Bernard-Henri Lévy. But could you please, please, pretty please, please with sugar on top and a cherry on it - could you please keep him for a few years?

You've probably never heard of him before, so here's the story: In the early eighties a group of French so-called intellectuals calling themselves the Nouveaux Philosophes appeared suddenly in the French media. They were young, talked well on TV and were quite markedly right wing - that's what made them “new” at a time when the French inteligentsia were still predominently close to Althusserian marxism. One of them got famous, mostly for his strange first name and his open-collar shirt: that's our guy.

Years passed - they tend to do that. BHL married a famous actress (turned singer now), which gave him some little extra media exposure, but basically his 15 minutes of fame had come and gone. Hence that new scheme.

Since it is a scheme, if not a scam: the plan was to publish a book in the US, hoping it would infuriate the American “establishment” (whatever that is), and a few month later publish it in French - with a dust cover calling it "What America doesn't want to hear" or something to that effect.

And of course this scam might very well work, at least in terms of French sales. People aren't going to read it anyway, but as long as they buy it before not reading it, he's an happy man. I mean, his wife's last album tanked badly, he probably needs the money.

Anyway, by all means, do read the well-desserved scalding his book got in the NY Times. And if I ever start sounding like he does, please throw something at me.

P.S.: thanks to my wife and to our friend Chris for pointing me to that review)


Deleilan said...
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Zanni said...

Thanks for the reminder about Patterson. As a teacher of poetry, I'm regularly ashamed that I haven't read it. Perhaps I'll take it on this weekend. The long poems I was talking about were ones we (the people in my program) and I wrote ourselves. Not nearly up to Patterson, but we're working on it.

Now, if I can figure out how to do it, I'll link to your blog. I like hearing about France and I'm sure my friends here in SoCal would like to as well.

Glad to see you have Silliman's blog over there.

Le Plume said...

(note: Henhen is replying on a comm I wrote on one of her poste here)

About Silliman's blog: I've been reading it on and off for some times - since that rainy Zukofsky conference at Columbia, I guess.

I'm not half knowledgeable enough about contemporary American poetry to meke the most of it, obviously. The other half of my marriage is much, much more cometent about that than I am - which is quite natural considering she's an English professor and I'm a computer network professional... Nonetheless, I do enjoy reading Ron's blog, especially when he's being nasty like in today's entry. Which makes this comment fit nicely with the entry it's attached to, after all.

Zanni said...

Thanks for the help! I now have successfully linked to stuff, including your blog.