Mona Lisa's Escort: André Malraux and the Reinvention of French Culture

Synopsis

Malraux's cabinet position was created in 1959 by Charles de Gaulle, who entered his presidency deeply concerned over unraveling social cohesion at home and the nation's weak standing abroad. To help him address these problems, he turned to a paragon of the engage French intellectual. Malraux was an acclaimed novelist, a daring adventurer, a flamboyant anti-colonialist and onetime leftist, a courageous resistance leader, and an inspired commentator on art. In his ten years as a cabinet minister, Malraux sought to "marry" the French people to their historic culture and to restore France to her place as artistic center of the West. Lebovics examines the successes and failures of Malraux's remarkable career and the reactions of artists, the political class, and the public to the French state's new engagement with the national culture.