Jean-Paul Sartre and the Jewish Question: Anti-Antisemitism and the Politics of the French Intellectual

Jean-Paul Sartre and the Jewish Question: Anti-Antisemitism and the Politics of the French Intellectual

Jean-Paul Sartre and the Jewish Question: Anti-Antisemitism and the Politics of the French Intellectual

Jean-Paul Sartre and the Jewish Question: Anti-Antisemitism and the Politics of the French Intellectual

Excerpt

Will it be necessary to write in the dictionaries of the year 2000: "Intellectual: noun, masculine, category social and cultural, born in Paris at the moment of the Dreyfus affair, died in Paris at the end of the twentieth century, unable to survive the decline of the universal"?

Bernard-Henri Lévy

The funeral march began at two PM Saturday, April 19, 1980. Twenty thousand people gathered outside Broussais hospital to follow the processional as it wound past the areas of Paris that Sartre haunted. Moving solemnly through the streets, the crowd gathered the young and old, foreign and French, swelling into a cacophonous demonstration of fifty thousand. The throng walked the two-mile route surrounding the hearse with Sartre's "family," followed by a car from Les Temps Modernes, another from Éditions Gallimard, a third from L'Amicales des Algériens en Europe, one more from Libération. They moved from the fourteenth arrondissement past the cafés, the restaurants, the clubs, and the brasseries in Saint-Germain that Sartre had frequented. When the cortege passed La Coupole, the waiters came outside to bow. The stream moved into the cemetery in Montparnasse, now decorated with red flags and black flags, with some people standing atop tombstones and cheering.

The funeral reunited intellectuals of the postwar Left from several generations: those from the Resistance stood alongside those who resisted the war in Algeria, comrades and fellow travelers from the French Communist Party (Parti communiste français, PCF) mixed with New Leftists and Maoists. The surge was so intense that a human chain wound around Simone de Beauvoir . . .

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