French Books USA: Week in Review
Keeping it 100
In celebration of Roland Barthes, who would have turned 100 this week, have a look at Barthes Studies, an "open-access, independent, peer-reviewed journal for research in English on the work of Roland Barthes." The journal, despite its electronic youth, boasts some engaging essays and book reviews with the explicit aim of avoiding duplication or redundancies in Barthesian criticism.
Cannon to the Canon
Speaking of academics, allow me to let you, dear reader, in on a little secret. Despite all them there book-learnin', getting scholars to agree on anything might be about as enterprising as trying to drown a fish. Enter this week's announcement of the "most influential academic books of all time," which, as perhaps expected, favors Anglo-empiricist texts and some inclusions which might elude a strict "academic" classification, so, naturally, scholarly Twitter blew up.
The New Yorker's Adam Gopnik examaines the legacy of André Glucksmann in the wake of the French intellectual's passing on Monday at the age of 78. "If you were lucky enough to know him," Gopnik writes, "it was always still possible to imagine taking one more Métro trip to his large, book-filled bohemian apartment in the north of Paris, and, with his brilliant wife, Fanfan, engaged alongside—in an atmosphere always somehow more Chekhovian than French—taking tea and talking about the world."
Laurent Binet has won the 2015 Prix Interallié for his book on, guess who, Roland Barthes, while the Prix de Flore was awarded to Jean-Noël Orengo for La fleur du capital. With a packed award season coming to a close, Livres Hebdo has you covered with a handy guide for remembering every prize, accolade, distinction, and honorable mention of the year.
At the tender age of 27, Michel Foucault was an intern at a Swiss asylum called Münsterlingen. His experiences there would subsequently influence his studies on the history of insanity, most notably Madness in the Age of Reason. As part of a new archival project, Foucault in Münsterlingen: The origin of the History of Madness, curators have unearthed photographs, texts, and notes about Foucault's time in Switzerland and his development as a thinker. Speaking of internships which lead to fame and respect, we're looking for an upstart tyro to join our book department.
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