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Funny Old Fame

Patrick Parrinder, 10 January 1991

Things: A Story of the Sixties, 
by Georges Perec, translated by David Bellos and Andrew Leak.
Collins Harvill, 221 pp., £12.50, July 1990, 0 00 271038 2
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Parcours Peree 
edited by Mireille Ribière.
Presses Universitaires de Lyon, 162 pp., frs 125, July 1990, 2 7297 0365 9
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Women 
by Philippe Sollers, translated by Barbara Bray.
Columbia, 559 pp., $24.95, December 1990, 0 231 06546 9
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... the age of 45, and nobody in England who was not a French specialist had ever heard of him. With Philippe Sollers it was different. Editor of the avant-garde theoretical journal Tel Quel, and associate of literary and psycho-analytic thinkers such as Barthes, Kristeva and Lacan, his was a name of which no self-respecting British intellectual could ...

Return of Oedipus

Stephen Bann, 4 March 1982

Dissemination 
by Jacques Derrida.
Athlone, 366 pp., £25, December 1981, 0 485 30005 2
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... published in 1969, was a review of a recent novel by one of Tel Quel’s founder members, Philippe Sollers. Strangely enough, David Hoy’s review pays virtually no attention to this third major component of Dissemination. This may be because it is the most obviously ‘literary’ part, and indeed poses almost insuperable problems to the ...

Après the Avant Garde

Fredric Jameson, 12 December 1996

Histoire de ‘Tel Quel’, 1960-82 
by Philippe Forest.
Seuil, 656 pp., frs 180, October 1995, 2 02 017346 8
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The Time of Theory: A History of ‘Tel Quel’ (1960-83) 
by Patrick ffrench.
Oxford, 318 pp., £37.50, December 1995, 0 19 815897 1
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The Making of an Avant Garde: ‘Tel Quel’ 
by Niilo Kauppi.
Mouton de Gruyter, 516 pp., August 1994, 3 11 013952 9
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... and hastening its dissolution into Post-Modernism, the charismatic role of Tel Quel’s leader, Philippe Sollers, will confirm many dark suspicions about the relations between power and the very ideal of an avant garde (including the vanguard political parties, most notably the Bolsheviks, on which the aesthetic ones were explicitly based). And ...
Adventures on the Freedom Road: The French Intellectuals in the 20th Century 
by Bernard-Henri Lévy, translated by Richard Veasey.
Harvill, 434 pp., £20, December 1995, 1 86046 035 6
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The Imaginary Jew 
by Alain Finkielkraut, translated by Kevin O’Neill and David Suchoff.
Nebraska, 230 pp., £23.95, August 1994, 0 8032 1987 3
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The Defeat of the Mind 
by Alain Finkielkraut, translated by Judith Friedlander.
Columbia, 165 pp., $15, May 1996, 0 231 08023 9
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... his own contemporaries (aside from two pieces, dropped from the English edition, on his friends Philippe Sollers and Jean-Paul Enthoven), Lévy only engages in discussions of the political philosopher Luc Ferry and with Régis Debray, and perhaps because he suspects that this is too lowkey, he ends the book with a nostalgic touch – a flashback to ...

Episteme, My Arse

Christopher Tayler: Laurent Binet, 15 June 2017

The Seventh Function of Language 
by Laurent Binet, translated by Sam Taylor.
Harvill Secker, 390 pp., £16.99, May 2017, 978 1 910701 58 4
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... extent of Barthes’s injuries, a circumstance that struck – and still strikes – his friend Philippe Sollers as suspicious. Sollers and his wife, Julia Kristeva, swept into the hospital and made, by all accounts, a bit of a scene. Had news of Barthes’s condition been held up by a conspiracy to stop people ...

Agitated Neurons

John Sturrock: Michel Houellebecq, 21 January 1999

Whatever 
by Michel Houellebecq, translated by Paul Hammond.
Serpent’s Tail, 160 pp., £8.99, January 1999, 1 85242 584 9
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Les Particules élémentaires 
by Michel Houellebecq.
Flammarion, 394 pp., frs 105, September 1998, 2 08 067472 2
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... bits and pieces of recent cultural history. Apart from the small dance-on part allotted to Sartre, Philippe Sollers also makes an appearance in a guise he’s unlikely to find flattering, first encouraging Bruno to write ranting, even racist articles and then refusing to publish them, the best of the joke being that Bruno first of all confuses the name ...

Get out

Julian Bell: Francis Bacon, 19 October 2000

Looking back at Francis Bacon 
by David Sylvester.
Thames and Hudson, 272 pp., £29.95, June 2000, 0 500 01994 0
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... he was vastly gratified to have captured the imagination of literary Paris: Michel Leiris, Philippe Sollers, Gilles Deleuze and Milan Kundera all produced high-flown testimonies to the stature of his work as a comment on the human predicament. Nearer home, the existential fervour surrounding the paintings was kept up by Lawrence Gowing – ‘The ...

Beyond Textualism

Christopher Norris, 19 January 1984

Text Production 
by Michael Riffaterre, translated by Terese Lyons.
Columbia, 341 pp., $32.50, September 1983, 0 231 05334 7
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Writing and the Experience of Limits 
by Philippe Sollers, edited by David Hayman, translated by Philip Barnard.
Columbia, 242 pp., $31.50, September 1983, 0 231 05292 8
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The Reach of Criticism: Method and Perception in Literary Theory 
by Paul Fry.
Yale, 239 pp., £18, October 1984, 0 300 02924 1
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Blindness and Insight: Essays in the Rhetoric of Contemporary Criticism 
by Paul de Man, edited by Wlad Godzich.
Methuen, 308 pp., £7.50, November 1983, 0 416 35860 8
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Displacement: Derrida and After 
edited by Mark Krupnick.
Indiana, 198 pp., £9.75, December 1983, 0 253 31803 3
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Authoritarian Fictions: The Ideological Novel as a Literary Genre 
by Susan Rubin Suleiman.
Columbia, 299 pp., £39, August 1983, 0 231 05492 0
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... to take on board. By an odd quirk of circumstance, Columbia have also brought out a translation of Philippe Sollers’s Writing and the Experience of Limits, a collection of essays first published in the heady mid-Sixties. Nothing could demonstrate more plainly the gulf between Riffaterre’s conservative structuralism and the other, more ...

Not in the Mood

Adam Shatz: Derrida’s Secrets, 22 November 2012

Derrida: A Biography 
by Benoît Peeters, translated by Andrew Brown.
Polity, 629 pp., £25, November 2012, 978 0 7456 5615 1
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... closest intellectual comrade in the late 1960s and early 1970s was the writer and editor Philippe Sollers, who published a number of Derrida’s early essays in Tel Quel. But the friendship soured. Sollers wanted Tel Quel to become the cultural journal of the French Communist Party (PCF) and enforced ...

You could catch it

Greil Marcus, 25 March 1993

Panegyric. Vol. I 
by Guy Debord, translated by James Brook.
Verso, 79 pp., £29.95, January 1993, 0 86091 347 3
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The Most Radical Gesture: The Situationist International in a Post-Modern Age 
by Sadie Plant.
Routledge, 226 pp., £40, May 1992, 0 415 06222 5
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... self-portrait as can be found anywhere. In his Le Monde review of the French edition of Panegyric, Philippe Sollers jumped up and down (‘the most original and the most radical thinker of our time’), clapped his hands, waved his arms, and finally all but grabbed passers-by by the throat: ‘I bought this book of 92 pages for 80 frs, and I read it ...

Time of the Assassin

Michael Wood, 26 January 1995

Proust and the Sense of Time 
by Julia Kristeva, translated by Stephen Bann.
Faber, 103 pp., £20, July 1993, 0 571 16880 9
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Le Temps sensible: Proust et l’expérience littéraire 
by Julia Kristeva.
Gallimard, 451 pp., January 1995, 2 07 073116 2
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The Old Man and the Wolves 
by Julia Kristeva, translated by Barbara Bray.
Columbia, 183 pp., £15, January 1995, 0 231 08020 4
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... moved to Paris in 1966. She worked with Lucien Goldmann, was close to Roland Barthes, married Philippe Sollers. Barthes wrote an article about her called ‘L’étrangère’, playing on the name Balzac gave to the Polish countess he finally managed to marry. Being a stranger (or a foreigner) became part of Kristeva’s legend and identity, in spite ...

Presence of Mind

Michael Wood: Barthes, 19 November 2009

Carnets du voyage en Chine 
by Roland Barthes.
Christian Bourgois, 252 pp., €23, February 2009, 978 2 267 02019 9
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Journal de deuil 
by Roland Barthes.
Seuil/Imec, 271 pp., €18.90, February 2009, 978 2 02 098951 0
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... 1974 with his friends from the Seuil publishing house and the magazine Tel Quel (François Wahl, Philippe Sollers, Julia Kristeva, Marcelin Pleynet), and of his so-called diary of mourning, a set of jottings made in the immediate aftermath of his mother’s death in the autumn of 1977. The persistence of Barthes’s reputation might seem ...

Just a Devil

Michael Wood: Kristeva on Dosto, 3 December 2020

Dostoïevski 
by Julia Kristeva.
Buchet/Chastel, 256 pp., €14, March, 978 2 283 03040 0
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At the Risk of Thinking: An Intellectual Biography of Julia Kristeva 
by Alice Jardine.
Bloomsbury, 400 pp., £19.99, January, 978 1 5013 4133 5
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... Mikhail Bakhtin to the French, and became closely associated with the magazine Tel Quel. She met Philippe Sollers within months of her arrival and they were married in 1967. After two books on semiotics (1969-70), she published the influential Revolution in Poetic Language in 1974. In 1979 she became a practising psychoanalyst. Among her later ...

Who Whips Whom

Leland de la Durantaye: Sade, 19 February 2015

Justine et autres romans 
by D.A.F. de Sade, edited by Michel Delon and Jean Deprun.
Gallimard, 1152 pp., €60, October 2014, 978 2 07 014669 7
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... on him, from Beauvoir to Foucault, to Blanchot, to Lacan, to Bataille, to Barthes, to Deleuze, to Philippe Sollers. These national celebrations have been surprising for several reasons. Sade was jailed by all three French governments under which he lived and each of his erotic works was banned by the authorities on publication: an interdiction so serious ...

Nothing he hasn’t done, nowhere he hasn’t been

Adam Shatz: Claude Lanzmann, 5 April 2012

The Patagonian Hare: A Memoir 
by Claude Lanzmann, translated by Frank Wynne.
Atlantic, 528 pp., £25, March 2012, 978 1 84887 360 5
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... reception in France when The Patagonian Hare was published three years ago by Gallimard; Philippe Sollers called it a ‘metaphysical event’. It’s an unbridled piece of self-celebration, dictated to his assistant editor at Les Temps modernes in what Lanzmann calls his ‘naturally epic’ style. There is a lot of name-checking, but no real ...

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