Academic journal article Anarchist Studies

Les Paraboles Cyniques

Academic journal article Anarchist Studies

Les Paraboles Cyniques

Article excerpt

Han Ryner, Les Paraboles Cyniques, (foreword by Pierre-Yves Ruff and Marie-France David de Palacio) Saint-Martin de Bonfossé: Théolib, Collection Liber***, 2013; 200pp; ISBN 9-782365-000581

It is a most welcome initiative to propose anew to the public of the twenty-first century this book of philosophical parables originally published for the first time in 1913 and rarely reprinted since. Han Ryner's fifty-two parables, in many ways akin to the short stories so typical of the symbolist movement of the late nineteenth century, seem nonetheless not to have aged, and that is most likely because they were never of any given time and place. Indeed, the voice that speaks through the supposedly ancient Greek character of Psychodore, the cynic philosopher, belongs not to its remote epoch but to the eternal individualist urge that lives within the reader.

Han Ryner (pseudonym of Henri Ner) was one of the most significant figures of the French anarchist movement in the period of the entre deux siècles, from the 1890s to his death, aged seventy-seven, in 1938. An extremely prolific writer, he published dozens of novels, collections of short stories, theatrical plays and articles of literary criticism, and was a well-known and respected signature in practically all of the many newspapers that tried to spread the anarchist word amongst the French public, including La Revue Anarchiste and L'Anarchie, and pacifist publications such as La Patrie Humaine and Par Delà la Mêlée. Some of his work is of a more clearly philosophical nature, such as his La Sagesse Qui Rit (Laughing Wisdom) and his Petit Manuel Individualiste. A number of novels and short stories, including Les Voyages de Psychodore and Le Fils du Silence, as well as Les Paraboles Cyniques, present in fictional form the author's reflection on the continuing validity of Stoic and Cynic philosophy, often understood within a syncretistic vision that includes elements of the Christian scriptures interpreted in an anarchist individualist fashion. …

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