Charting the decline of the French intellectual, from the Dreyfus Affair to Islamophobia.
Internationally acclaimed Israeli historian Shlomo Sand made his mark with books such as The Invention of the Jewish People and The Invention of the Land of Israel. Returning here to an early fascination, he turns his attention to the figure of the French intellectual.
From his student years in Paris, Sand has repeatedly come up against the "great French thinkers." He has an intimate knowledge of the Parisian intellectual world and its little secrets, on which he draws to overturn certain myths attaching to the figure of the "intellectual" that France prides itself on having invented. Mixing reminiscence and analysis, he revisits a history that, from the Dreyfus Affair through to Charlie Hebdo, seems to him that of a long decline. As a long-time admirer of Zola, Sartre and Camus, Sand is staggered to see what the French intellectual has become today, in such characters as Michel Houellebecq, Eric Zemmour and Alain Finkielkraut. In a work that gives no quarter, and focuses particularly on the Judeophobia and Islamophobia of the elites, he casts on the French intellectual scene a gaze that is both disabused and mordant.
Shlomo Sand studied History at the University of Tel Aviv and at the Ecole des hautes etudes en sciences sociales in Paris. He currently teaches Contemporary History at the University of Tel Aviv. His books include The Invention of the Jewish People, On the Nation and the Jewish People, How I Stopped Being a Jew, The Invention of the Land of Israel, and Twilight of History.