Frederic Raphael

The New Bullshit

The Death of French Culture

By

Polity Press 200pp £12.99 order from our bookshop

Everybody has a certain idea of France. During the war, France was everything that England was not: defeated. Soon after the liberation, Jean-Paul Sartre, the instant spokesman of French culture, told the British: ‘Everything that you lived in pride, we lived in shame.’ But he and France soon got over it, superficially at least. The French Right, which had mostly supported Vichy, was reupholstered in Gaullist colours; the Parti Communiste Français, which had been defeatist until the USSR was invaded in 1941, wrapped itself in a blood-stained red flag and flaunted itself as ‘Le parti des 50,000 fusillés’. In fact it is doubtful if 50,000 resisters were ever shot, and by no means all of the victims were communists; but the Left in general went along with the PCF, Sartre not least. If he had any rival in post-war Paris, it was Albert Camus, who had done some practical resisting while Sartre sat in the Café Flore and thought about it.

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • ‘At every waking moment Barbara Hepworth was aware of herself as a woman paving the way in a man’s world’ From the… ,
    • The entertaining Howard Jacobson is in conversation with Prof John Mullan at the Queen’s Park Book Festival on Sund… ,
    • 'A modest and retiring man, Thompson spent his life describing apple varieties and recommending the best – Ribston… ,
    • 'Macfarlane is a poet with the instincts of a thriller writer, an autodidact in botany, mycology, geology and palae… ,
    • 'Some scholars attribute Shakespeare’s pre-eminence to four centuries of propaganda and not to the fact that Hamlet… ,
    • RT : We would appreciate any retweets ,
    • We've just stumbled on a gem from the LR archive. The emoluments page from May 1995, in which one reviewer asked to… ,