Glucksmann, André 1937–
Glucksmann, André 1937–
PERSONAL: Born 1937, in Boulogne, France.
ADDRESSES: Agent—c/o Author Mail, Plon-Perrin, 76, rue Bonaparte, 75006 Paris, France.
CAREER: Philosopher and writer.
Le discours de la guerre (title means "The Discourse of War"), l'Herne (Paris, France), 1967, published as Le discours de la guerre, précédé de, Europe 2004, B. Grassett (Paris, France), 1979.
Stratégie de la révolution, introduction, C. Bourgois (Paris, France), 1968.
(With Jean Ipoustéguy) Ipoustéguy, marbres (exhibition text), Galerie Claude Bernard (Paris, France), 1968.
Violence on the Screen: A Report on Research into the Effects on Young People of Scenes of Violence in Films and Television, translated by Susan Bennett, foreword by Paddy Whannel, afterword by Dennis Howitt, British Film Institute (London, England), 1971.
La cuisinière et le mangeur d'hommes; essai sur les rapports entre l'État, le marxisme et les camps de concentration (title means "The Cook and the Devourer of Men: An Essay on the Relationships between the State, Marxism, and the Concentration Camps"), Éditions du Seuil (Paris, France), 1975.
Les Maîtres penseurs, B. Grasset (Paris, France), 1977, translation by Brian Pearce published as The Master Thinkers, Harper & Row (New York, NY), 1980.
Cynisme et passion (title means "Cynicism and Passion"), B. Grasset (Paris, France), 1981.
La force du vertige (title means "The Force of Vertigo"), B. Grassett (Paris, France), 1983.
Le Bétise, B. Grassett (Paris, France), 1985.
(With Thierry Wolton) Silence, on tue (title means "Quiet, One Is Killing"), B. Grassett (Paris, France), 1986.
Descartes, c'est la France (title means "Descartes, That's France"), Flammarion (Paris, France), 1987.
Le XIe commandement (title means "The Eleventh Commandment"), Flammarion (Paris, France), 1992.
La fêolure du monde: éthique et SIDA (title means "The Wound of the World: Ethics and AIDS"), Flammarion (Paris, France), 1994.
De Gaulle òu es-tu? (title means "De Gaulle, Where Are You?"), J.C. Lattès (Paris, France), 1995.
Le bien et le mal: letters immorales d'Allemagne et de France (title means "Good and Evil: Immoral Letters from Germany and France"), R. Laffont (Paris, France), 1997.
La troisième mort de Dieu (title means "The Third Death of God"), Nil (Paris, France), 2000.
Doestoïevski à Manhattan (title means "Dostoevsky in Manhattan"), Laffon (Paris, France), 2002.
L'Ouest contre ouest (title means "The West versus the West"), Plon (Paris, France), 2003.
Le discours de la haine, Plon (Paris, France), 2004.
Also author of Tché, le déshonneur russe, 2004. Contributor to books, including Debakel einer Utoopie, Union Verlag (Berlin, German), 1990; Tchétchénie: la guerre jusqu'au dernier, under the direction of de Frédérique Longuet Marx, Mille et une nuits (Paris, France), 2003; and Open Wound: Chechnya, 1994 to 2003, by Stanley Greene, Trolley (London, England), 2003.
SIDELIGHTS: André Glucksmann is a French writer who specializes in philosophical and political topics. He is a member of a group of French writers called les nouveaux philosophes ("the new philosophers"), a term that denotes these writers' rejection of the Communist fealties of their youth and pays homage to Enlightenment philosophers such as Voltaire. Born to German refugee parents in Boulogne, France, Glucks-mann helped found the newspaper J'accuse, which became a forerunner of the left-wing paper Libération. His writings, many of which concern different manifestation of violence, include Le discours de la guerre; Stratégie de la révolution, introduction; Les Maîtres penseurs; and La force du vertige.
Glucksmann's first book, Le discours de la guerre, deals with theories associated with war and the use of military force, and also includes a study of the military aspects of Mao Zedung's philosophy. Stratégie de la révolution, introduction offers a political analysis of the student and worker uprisings in the spring of 1968 that stopped just short of revolution. The book draws on Marx's writings on France, particularly his criticism of French statism. Glucksmann rejects the idea that the consumer culture was the enemy. Instead, he bemoans the domination of French society by the state, and suggests a highly decentralized approach to revolution. "In a society ripe for socialism," he wrote in Stratégie de la révolution, introduction, "counter-power is created by the multiplication of centres first of contestation and then of decision which paralyze the central State power." In an essay for the New York Review of Books, George Lichtheim praised Glucks-mann's analysis as "original … though a trifle perverse."
By the early 1970s, Glucksmann was associated with a Maoist group called La Gauche Prolétarienne, which supported resistance against the state. Eschewing a politics of class, the group trained its focus on individual resistors, including farmers, immigrant workers, slum dwellers, and prisoners, and saw some of its members imprisoned. Over time, Glucksmann was also influenced by French philosopher and social critic Michel Foucault, who focused on the diffusion of power throughout society.
Glucksmann's evolving politics were also deeply affected by the works of preeminent Russian critic Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, who was a survivor of the Soviet prison camps that he described in The Gulag Archipelago. In 1975, in La cuisineère et le mangeur d'hommes; essai sur les rapports entre l'État, le marxisme et les camps de concentration, Glucksmann attacked the Soviet state and Lenin himself, exploring their links to the Gulag. Two years later, Les Maîtres penseurs, a widely reviewed work that was translated into English as The Master Thinkers, marked Glucksmann's final break with Marxism. It was published in France the same year as Bernard-Henri Levy's Barbarism with a Human Face, which expresses similar concerns. Les Maîtres penseurs is a dissection and critique of such philosophers as Johann Gottlieb Fichte, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, Marx, and Friedrich Nietzsche, all condemned by Glucksmann for their universalistic thinking. Reviewing the English translation for the New York Times Book Review, Werner J. Dannhauser wrote: "At his best Mr. Glucksmann forces us to reconsider the most cherished foundations of modernity—such as the collapse of the traditional distinction between theory and practice—and questions them in a sober, sobering spirit." In the National Review, Arnold Beichman took Glucksmann to task for seeming to blame German idealism for the great crimes of the twentieth century; for neglecting the influence of other major thinkers, including Sigmund Freud and Max Weber, on French intellectuals; and for being guilty of "too little too late" in his renunciation of Marxism.
In La force du vertige, Glucksmann takes up the subject of the arms race and the European peace movement, which he criticizes as a form of moral abdication and zealotry. The work marks a further distancing from his past positions. It treats the Soviet Union and its nuclear weapons as an imminent threat to the West, worth fighting against at the risk of death. Times Literary Supplement reviewer Michael Ignatieff credited the book with making "useful points" about Europe's vulnerability to nuclear attack.
Silence, on tue, which Glucksmann wrote with Thierry Wolton, demonstrates how political expediency, and in particular the tactics of Colonel Mengitsu Haile Mariam, had worsened the mass famine in Ethiopia. The coauthors describe how similar tactics had been used by past regimes to turn the natural disaster of famine into an even greater man-made one. In his Encounter review, Jean-François Revel called the book "unassailable in its documentation, irrefutable in its arguments, and implacable in its tone." He also credited the authors with having the "moral courage" to ask: "Why does a crime against humanity cease to be a crime against humanity when it is Blacks who are killing other Blacks?"
In other works, Glucksmann has tackled the subject of AIDS (La fêlure du monde: éthique et SIDA); good and evil (Le bien et le mal: letters immorales d'Allemagne et de France); and such figures as René Descartes, Fe-dor Mikhailovich Dostoevsky, Charles De Gaulle, and even God. Since the 1980s, his writings have reflected a preoccupation with questions of morality.
In L'Ouest contre ouest, which means "The West versus the West," Glucksmann addresses the issue of European criticism following the American invasion of Iraq in 2003. For the most part, the author stands up for President George W. Bush and the United States and writes about the failure of many groups to realize just how evil the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 were. The author also notes that the United States, more than any other country, represents the whole of mankind. "In equating America with civilization, Glucksmann says the term has a double sense: the state of being civilized and the act of civilising," noted David Lawday in the New Statesman, adding that the author notes that the duty of civilizations sometimes lies in waging war.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Glucksmann, André, Stratégie de la révolution, introduction, C. Bourgois (Paris, France), 1968.
Booklist, December 15, 1994, review of La fêlure du monde: éthique et SIDA, p. 741.
Commonweal, June 6, 1969, Staughton Lynd, "Almost Making It: One View on the Meaning of France's Revolution," pp. 345-347.
Critic, September 1, 1980, review of The Master Thinkers, p. 2.
Encounter, July, 1971, Roger Manvell, "The Explosion of Film Studies," pp. 67-74; April, 1987, Jean-François Revel, "Famine, and the School for Dictators," pp. 39-40.
Human Events, March 1, 1980, review of The Master Thinkers, p. 7.
Journal of Politics, August, 1981, review of The Master Thinkers, p. 923.
Kirkus Reviews, February 1, 1980, review of The Master Thinkers, p. 181.
L'Express International, April 21, 1994, Luc Ferry, review of La fêlure du monde, pp. 58-59; March 23, 1995, Michel-Antoine Burnier, review of De-Gaulle òu es-tu?, p. 63.
Library Journal, May 1, 1980, review of The Master Thinkers, p. 1086.
Nation, January 12, 2004, Stephen Sartarelli, "Where Did Our Love Go?," review of Doestoïevski à Manhattan p. 29.
Netional Review, August 8, 1980, Arnold Beichman, "Jacquerie," pp. 970-972.
New Statesman, September 22, 2003, David Lawday, "Now French Intellectuals Love America," p. 32.
New York Review of Books, January 30, 1969, George Lichtheim, "A New Twist in the Dialectic," pp.33-38.
New York Times, December 26, 1984, John Vinocur, "With Socialist Theory Discredited, French Left Looks for a 'New Frontier,'" p. 6.
New York Times Book Review, September 28, 1980, Werner J. Dannhauser, "A Frenchman Says No to Marx," pp. 12, 40.
New York Times Magazine, April 29, 1984, John Vinocur, "Europe's Intellectuals and American Power," pp. 60-69.
Publishers Weekly, January 25, 1980, review of The Master Thinkers, p. 334.
Reflections, spring, 1984, review of La force du vertige, p. 18.
Times Literary Supplement, June 1, 1984, Michael Ignatieff, "The Threat of Destruction," pp. 603-604.
Virginia Quarterly Review, autumn, 1980, review of The Master Thinkers, p. 148.
Dropping Knowledge, http://www.droppingknowledge.org/ (March 3, 2006), profile of author.
Independent Media Center, http://www.indymedia.org/ (May 7, 2002), Hichem Karoui, "14 Days That Changed France," includes brief discussion of author.
Signandsight, http://www.signandsight.com/ (November 15, 2005), "Integration through Negation," interview with author.