Such Is the
Melancholy Backdrop of
This Century's End
Thank you for your last letter. I will now take my turn in attempting to situate our respective views in relation to each other. I am, of course, more confident of success where my own views are concerned!
To the extent that the historian is prisoner of his time, and that the history he writes is also in History, we are the children of two different situations. In postwar France, when I was doing my studies, the intellectual atmosphere was dominated by the Marxist philosophy of History, for a variety of reasons. Some of these reasons were of an intellectual order but less influential than is generally thought. Marxism as a doctrinal body had no deep roots either in the intelligentsia or in the university, and the philosophical landscape of the Liberation period was dominated by Sartrian existentialism, which owed more to Heidegger