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Stamp Scams

Walter Benjamin, translated by Jeffrey Mehlman, 8 September 1994

... I want to speak about a domain which the most learned and cleverest experts in philately have yet to exhaust: the subject of fraud. Fraud involving stamps. Ever since 1840, when Rowland Hill, a simple schoolmaster, was knighted, granted a stipend of some 400,000 marks, and appointed Postmaster General by the British Government in recognition of his invention of the stamp, millions upon millions have been made thanks to that little scrap of paper ...

On the Verge of Collapse

John Sturrock, 19 August 1982

The Siren’s Song 
by Maurice Blanchot, edited by Gabriel Josipovici and Sacha Rabinovich.
Harvester, 255 pp., £20, June 1982, 0 85527 738 6
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... someone has bothered: and in the latest (Summer 1982) number of Tel Quel, an American professor, Jeffrey Mehlman, gives an extremely revealing analysis of Blanchot’s ideology and its sources, derived from his forgotten articles in Combat. Forty-five years ago, Blanchot was capable of writing with a crudeness and topicality it would now pain him ...

Their Affair and Our Affair

R.W. Johnson, 23 April 1987

The Affair: The Case of Alfred Dreyfus 
by Jean-Denis Bredin, translated by Jeffrey Mehlman.
Sidgwick, 628 pp., £20, March 1987, 0 283 99443 6
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Neither Right nor Left: Fascist Ideology in France 
by Zeev Sternhell, translated by David Maisel.
California, 416 pp., £38.25, December 1986, 0 520 05207 2
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... John Weightman, reviewing Jean-Denis Bredin’s monumental work in the Observer, wrote of the Dreyfus Affair that ‘it was perhaps a good thing for France that the abscess burst when it did, because this brought tensions out into the open and revealed the “undeclared civil war” which would need to be resolved in the 20th century.’ It is, perhaps, a curious notion that there could be any time when it would be ‘a good thing’ for a country to experience a racking political scandal which, over a 12-year period, led to the unparalleled expression of group hatreds, brought about suicides, the ruination of careers and the fall of governments, and which produced anti-semitic riots without number in which Jews were robbed, vilified and killed ...

Dynasty

Sherry Turkle: Lacan and Co, 6 December 1990

Jacques Lacan and Co: A History of Psychoanalysis in France, 1925-1985 
by Elisabeth Roudinesco, translated by Jeffrey Mehlman.
Free Association, 816 pp., £25, December 1990, 9781853431630
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... Freud believed that psychoanalysis was so deeply subversive of people’s most cherished beliefs that only resistance to psychoanalytic ideas would reveal where they were being taken seriously. In 1914 he wrote that ‘the final decisive battle’ for psychoanalysis would be played out ‘where the greatest resistance has been displayed’. By that point it was already clear that it was in France, the country of Mesmer, Bernheim, Charcot, Bergson and Janet, France with its long literary tradition of exquisite sensitivity to the psychological, that resistance to psychoanalysis was greatest ...

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