André Malraux: Tragic Humanist

André Malraux: Tragic Humanist

André Malraux: Tragic Humanist

André Malraux: Tragic Humanist

Excerpt

With General de Gaulle's return to power in the spring of 1958, history brought André Malraux back before the public in the role of a man deeply involved in the great events of our time. From the relative seclusion in which Malraux had been preparing his books on art, he emerged to plunge full force into the French political crisis. This was the latest, but probably not the last, of a series of moves from action to art and vice versa, by a man who has, as have few others, associated himself closely and vitally with both. It would be difficult to find a more dramatic illustration of this dual activity than that encompassed in the period from the end of 1957 through the first months of 1958. When the first volume of The Metamorphosis of the Gods (La MÉtamorphose des Dieux)1 appeared in the closing weeks of 1957, interest in it was so great that the first edition, in spite of its high price, was bought up as soon as it reached the bookstores. With a few notable exceptions, French critics were extreme in their praise of the work, many seeing in it, even though it was incomplete, one of the greatest works of all time on art. According to one of Malraux's closest friends, he intended it to be a climax in his literary production. Nevertheless, when the events that led to De Gaulle's reappearance as prime minister took place, Malraux dropped all work on the second volume of his book to become: first, Minister of Information; then, Minister Delegate; and finally, . . .

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