In , the French essayist Julien Benda published his famous attack on the intellectual corruption of the age, La Trahison des clercs. I said “famous,” but. “In , the French essayist Julien Benda published his famous attack on the intellectual corruption of the age, La Trahison des Clercs. [He used] “clerc” in “the . Before the appearance of the English translation of La Trahison des clercs in ,1 Julien Benda had been known only to restricted groups of. American.

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This translation is still in print from Norton. There are many sides to this phenomenon. The attack on the universal went forward in social and political life as well as in the refined precincts of epistemology and metaphysics: Retrieved from ” https: When the distinction between culture and entertainment is obliterated, high art is orphaned, exiled from the only context in which its distinctive meaning can manifest itself: What Benda found novel was the accreditation of such cynicism by intellectuals.

Such ideals have not fared well in the twentieth century: Eddy – – Modern Philosophy 4: He disagreed with Henri Bergsonthe leading light of French philosophy of his day. Science Logic and Mathematics.

Of course, the attack on distinctions that Finkielkraut julisn takes place not only among cultures but also within a given culture. Nor did he believe that intellectuals, as citizens, necessarily should abstain from political commitment or practical affairs. Whether working in the academy or other cultural institutions, they bring us the same news: Enlightenment looks to culture as a repository of values that transcend the self, postmodernism looks to the fleeting desires of the isolated self as the only legitimate source of value.

And Finkielkraut, like Benda and, indeed, like Montaignetends to proceed more by collage than by demonstration. This article includes a list of referencesbut its sources remain unclear because it has insufficient inline citations.


Please help to improve this article trhison introducing more precise citations. This is the undoing of thought. Who knows if in centuries to come there will not be universities for re-establishing trrahison former ignorance?

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The litany that Finkielkraut recites is familiar:. Benda is now best remembered for his short book La Trahison des Clercsa work of considerable influence. Nationalism in Social and Political Philosophy. Most of the titles in the bibliography below were published during the last three decades of Benda’s long life; he is emphatically a 20th-century author.

Inintellectuals still had something definite to betray. Julien Benda – – G. In this sense, the book is a trahison des clercs for the post-Communist world, a world dominated as much by the leveling imperatives of pop culture as by resurgent nationalism and ethnic separatism. The multiculturalists wave the standard of radical politics and say in the words of a nineteenth-century Russian populist slogan that Finkielkraut quotes: Academics and journalists, pundits, moralists, and pontificators of all varieties are in this sense clercs.

What about those cultures in which the testimony of one man counts for that of two women? T he Treason of the Intellectuals is an energetic hodgepodge of a book. This, more than any elitism or obscurity, is the real threat to culture today.

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trahison des clercs – Wiktionary

It was republished in as The Treason of the Intellectuals with a new introduction by Roger Kimball. The process of disintegration has lately become an explicit attack on culture. From the time of the pre-Socratics, intellectuals, considered in their role as intellectuals, had been a breed dex.

The Betrayal of the Intellectuals. This article has no associated abstract. Julien Benda – – Gallimard.


To a large extent, the abdication of reason demanded by multiculturalism has been the result of what we might call the subjection of culture to anthropology. According to Benda, however, this situation was changing.

From the savage flowering of ethnic hatreds in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union to the mendacious demands for political correctness and multiculturalism on college campuses across America and Europe, the treason of the intellectuals continues to play out its unedifying drama.

Julien Benda

Views Read Edit View history. Today we are trying to spread knowledge everywhere. When hatred of culture becomes itself a part of culture, the life of the mind loses all meaning. Sign in to use this feature.

What Finkielkraut has understood traihson admirable clarity is that modern attacks on elitism represent not the extension but the destruction of culture. The Undoing of Thought resembles The Treason of the Intellectuals stylistically as well as thematically.

January Learn how and when to remove this template message. The disintegration of faith in reason and common humanity leads not only to a destruction julieh standards, but also involves a crisis of courage. And given the continuing echo in our own time of the problems he anatomized, the relevance of his observations to our situation can hardly be doubted.

Multiculturalism, as Cllercs points out, requires that we respect such practices. This entry has no external links. By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. Historically, the Enlightenment arose as a deeply anti-clerical and, perforce, anti-traditional movement.