Radical French Thought and the Return of the "Jewish Question"

Radical French Thought and the Return of the "Jewish Question"

Eric Marty, foreword by Bruno Chaouat, edited by Eric Marty, translated by Alan Astro
Distribution: Global
Publication date: 05/22/2015
Format: Hardback
ISBN: 978-0-253-01672-0
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For English-speaking readers, this book serves as an introduction to an important French intellectual whose work, especially on the issues of antisemitism and anti-Zionism, runs counter to the hostility shown toward Jews by some representatives of contemporary critical theory. It presents for the first time in English five essays by Éric Marty, previously published in France, with a new preface by the author addressed to his American readers. The focus of these essays is the debate in France and elsewhere in Europe concerning the "Jew." The first essay on Jean Genet, one of postwar France’s most important literary figures, investigates the nature of Genet’s virulent antisemitism and hatred of Israel and its significance for an understanding of contemporary phenomena. The curious reappearance of St. Paul in theological and political discourse is discussed in another essay, which describes and analyses the interest that secular writers of the far left have shown in Paul’s "universalism" placed over and against Jewish or Israeli particularism. The remaining essays are more polemical in nature and confront the anti-Israeli attacks by Alain Badiou and Gilles Deleuze.

Author Bio

Éric Marty is Professor of Contemporary French Literature at the University of Paris VII - Diderot. He is author of many books including Pourquoi le XXe siècle a-t-il pris Sade au sérieux? (Why did the 20th century take Sade seriously?) Roland Barthes: La littérature et le droit à la mort (Roland Barthes: Literature and the right to death) Une querelle avec Alain Badiou, philosophe (A quarrel with Alain Badiou, philosopher), Bref séjour à Jérusalem (A short stay in Jerusalem), and most recently the novel Le Cœur de la jeune Chinoise (The heart of the young Chinese). Marty is the editor of the Œuvres Complètes of Roland Barthes and the Journal of André Gide, 1887-1925.

Alan Astro is Professor of Modern Languages at Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas. He has translated from French (writers such as Henri Raczymow and Cyrille Fleischman) and Yiddish (in Yiddish South of the Border: An Anthology of Latin American Yiddish Writing).


“Both important and timely, it will be a notable contribution to the ongoing public and intellectual discussion . . . of contemporary antisemitism and [the animus of intellectuals] toward the state of Israel.”
 — Elhanan Yakira, author of Post-Zionism, Post-Holocaust: Three Essays on Denial, Forgetting, and the Delegitimation o

“Represents a significant contribution to our understanding of both the phenomenon of the ‘new antisemitism’ and a certain strain of French critical theory over the last several decades.”
 — Maurice Samuels, Yale University

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Table of Contents

Foreword by Bruno Chaouat
To My American Readers
1. Jean Genet’s Anxiety in the Face of the Good
2. Alain Badiou: The Future of a Denial
3. Saint Paul among the Moderns
4. On Giorgio Agamben’s State of Exception
5. Foucault, Deleuze, the Jews and Israel