The Silence of the Left Intellectuals in Mitterrand’s France

  • Martyn Cornick


In July 1983 a series of over thirty articles appeared in the pages of Le Monde on what was labelled ‘the silence of left intellectuals’. It was remarked at the time that this title seemed odd, and indeed it represents something of a misnomer, because the otherwise thin and arid summer pages of Le Monde were filled with chatter from the French intellectual class. If this was a silence, then it was a deafening one.1 Examined with the luxury of hindsight, this so typically French debate provides an arresting case study, particularly when situated in the context of recent French political history. The articles in question have not escaped attention: Keith Reader refers to them in his book Intellectuals and the Left in France since 1968,2 while George Ross considers the debate as a symptom of decline in the status, if not the very existence, of left-wing intellectuals in France.3


Socialist Government Grand Narrative Universal Subject Popular Front Inventive Thinking 
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© M. Maclean 1998

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  • Martyn Cornick

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