The Betrayal of the Intellectuals: (La Trahison Des Clercs)

The Betrayal of the Intellectuals: (La Trahison Des Clercs)

The Betrayal of the Intellectuals: (La Trahison Des Clercs)

The Betrayal of the Intellectuals: (La Trahison Des Clercs)

Excerpt

The Betrayal of the Intellectuals, though it was written nearly thirty years ago, remains the most important work of a prolific writer--a philosopher who has been opposed to most of the fashionable trends in literature and politics, and is still today a solitary and embittered representative of values that are neither shallowly progressive nor obtusely reactionary. In order to appreciate his significance it is necessary to give a general account of his position in French criticism and to trace the development of his ideas leading up to The Betrayal of the Intellectuals.

M. Benda, who is a Jew by birth (b. 1867), began his career by writing some philosophical reflections on the Dreyfus affair, and these were published as long ago as 1898 (Dialogues à Byzance). Then came a long silence. His next book appeared in 1910 in the famous series of pamphlets known as Les Cahiers de la Quinzaine. It is called Mon Premier Testament, and, like the Dialogues à Byzance, is a legacy of the Dreyfus affair. It takes for . . .

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