Revisiting a Scholar Unmasked by ScandalBreaking News
tags: World War II, Holocaust, collaboration
When the Yale literary theorist Paul de Man died in 1983, he was hailed as a brilliant teacher who had helped turn deconstruction, the critical approach originated by Jacques Derrida, into an insurgent force in American intellectual life.
Four years later, though, the discovery that as a young man in Nazi-occupied Belgium de Man had written some 200 literary articles for a collaborationist newspaper — including a 1941 essay musing on the impact on European literature if the Jews were relocated to an isolated colony — landed like a bombshell.
De Man’s photograph appeared in Newsweek, juxtaposed with images of Nazis on the march. And critics of deconstruction, inside and outside the academy, pounced, arguing that a school of thought long dismissed as cultish “critical terrorism” was something even more sinister.
Those battles may seem like a distant memory. But now, the first full-length biography of de Man threatens to reopen the debate over his legacy, weaving together old and new charges to paint him not just as a collaborator, but also as a swindler, forger, bigamist and deceiver whose philosophical ideas grew out of “lifelong habits of secrecy.”...
comments powered by Disqus
- Trump Angled for Soviet Posting In the 1980s
- Places That Are Actually Worth Visiting
- JFK’s last birthday: Gifts, champagne and wandering hands on the presidential yacht
- Bozeman schools prefer kids in class on MLK Day
- Universities across the country are facing up to their past association with slavery
- Historian David Kaiser says the most exciting day of his life was JFK’s election
- Michael Bliss, Historian Who Dispelled Myths of Insulin’s Discovery, Dies at 76
- Jill Lepore: Americans Aren't Just Divided Politically, They're Divided Over History Too
- AHA joins protest of Trump’s plan for drastic cuts to the NEH
- Diane Ravitch says the Democrats paved the way for the education secretary's efforts to privatize our public schools