March 02, 2005


In the new issue of the quarterly review Logos, there is a fascinating interview by Danny Postel with Ronald Aronson--the scholar who is our foremost intellectual interpreter of the work and life of Jean-Paul Sartre--about Aronson's last book, Camus and Sartre: The Story of a Friendship and the Quarrel That Ended It, which was published in the Winter of 2004 by the University of Chicago Press (they are issuing a paperback edition of the book in April, which is the occasion for this interview.) Sartre has fallen into disfavor in intellectual circles in recent years, but he still has much to tell us, as Aronson for years has helped us to understand.

I've been a great admirer of Aronson's work for a long time, and his book on Sartre and Camus is nothing short of superb; it is an important contribution to modern intellectual history that should also be of great interest to anyone who is seriously interested in the question of political engagement by intellectuals. It was the nature and contours of that engagement which gave birth to the friendship between these two great writers--and which also was central to the breakup of that friendship. The book is, moreover, a helluva read--Aronson's prose is clean, evocative, and infinitely superior to the wooden language in which too many academics write.

In the interview, Aronson lays out the role the Cold War played in shaping the relations between Sartre and Camus, and discusses how his own view of both men evolved and changed over the years. I would hope that this interview would encourage you to pick up Aronson's book when it appears in paperback next month--you can read the transcript of this captivating Q & A by clicking here.

Also, in The Nation two weeks ago, Aronson had a brilliant review-essay on the occasion of the reissue of Isaac Deutscher's monumental biographical trilogy on Leon Trotsky that re-evaluates Deutscher's work and politics in the light of subsequent history and the fall of Communism. This Aronson essay, too, is a significant contribution to the debate about the intellectual history of the left--you can read it by clicking here.

Finally, Aronson has written a fascinating dissection of how George Bush misused and misquoted Camus in a speech in Brussels during his European trip. Read Aronson's commentary, written for UPI, by clicking here.

Posted by Direland at 02:38 AM | Permalink


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference SARTRE AND THE QUESTION OF POLITICALLY ENGAGED INTELLECTUALS:

» Mourning: Heat Must Have Sense of Urgency from DETROIT NEWS
NEWS writes, Alonzo Mourning is a veteran who has seen it all in the NBA. That is why after the [Read More]

Tracked on Jun 11, 2006 6:26:21 AM

» Video: Afghanistan - War Without End from Tags:
Tags: Afghanistan | Documentary | History | Video | War [Read More]

Tracked on Jun 12, 2006 2:09:31 AM

» CULTURE: Newsflash! Teenagers Lie, Lie, Lie!!! To Themselves and to Others! from sexually active
sex education programs unreliable." Sure enough, the statistics seem to back this up: "virginity pledgers" do, in fact, prove to be somewhat [Read More]

Tracked on Jun 15, 2006 12:35:14 PM

» Little Evidence Multivitamins Prevent Chronic Diseases from Their conclusions
disease, according to a study by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the Johns [Read More]

Tracked on Jun 18, 2006 8:33:51 AM

» Chest X-rays 'may up breast risk' from may increase
x-rays may increase the chances of breast cancer in women with high risk genes, [Read More]

Tracked on Jul 1, 2006 9:13:08 AM

» Olbermann dons O'Reilly mask at TV meeting (AP) from Olbermann was
was eagerly anticipating his first meeting with Bill O'Reilly. It didn't happen. [Read More]

Tracked on Jul 24, 2006 2:47:41 PM

» Players Hope to Convince Riley to Stay from at AmericanAirlines
Sarah Rothschild of the MIAMI HERALD. Riley is vacationing in Africa, but that didn't stop several Heat players from weighing in on his [Read More]

Tracked on Jul 25, 2006 3:55:25 AM

» CELEB: Elizabeth Hurley Is the Marrying Kind from to take the plunge
off with her four-year-old son, Damian. The newest face - or rather, bum - of Jordache Jeans had the child from [Read More]

Tracked on Aug 7, 2006 7:52:53 PM

» Wizards Have Three Reasons for Hope from addition. Or
to that notion. They like where the Wizards are. They like the team's relative youth. They like its upside. [Read More]

Tracked on Aug 8, 2006 8:26:49 PM


The comments to this entry are closed.