Pascal Bruckner (2009)
15 December 1948 |
Pascal Bruckner (French: [bʁyknɛʁ]; born 15 December 1948 in Paris) is a French writer. One of the "New Philosophers" who came to prominence in the 1970s and '80s, much of Bruckner's work has been devoted to critiques of French society and culture.
After studies at the university Paris I and Paris VII Diderot, and then at the École Pratique des Hautes Études, Bruckner became maître de conférences at the Institut d'Études Politiques de Paris, and collaborator at the Nouvel Observateur.
Bruckner began writing in the vein of the so-called "nouveaux philosophes" and is counted among their best known French proponents. He published Parias (Parias), Lunes de Fiel (adapted to film by Roman Polanski) and Les voleurs de beauté (The beauty stealers) (Prix Renaudot in 1997). Among essays, La tentation de l'innocence (Temptation of innocence) (Prix Médicis in 1995) and, famously, Le Sanglot de l'Homme blanc (The Tears of the White Man), an attack on narcissistic and destructive policies intended to benefit the Third World, and more recently "La tyrannie de la pénitence" (2006), an essay on the West's endless self-criticism, translated as "The Tyranny of Guilt" (2010).
From 1992 to 1999, he was an active supporter of the Croatian, Bosnian and Kosovar causes against Serbia. He supported the 1999 NATO bombings of Serbia. In 2003, he supported the toppling of Saddam Hussein by the US forces but later criticized the mistakes of the American army and the use of torture in Abu Graib and Guantanamo.
Criticism of multiculturalism
Bruckner's polemic stance against multiculturalism has kindled an international debate. In an article titled "Enlightenment fundamentalism or racism of the anti-racists?", he defends in particular Ayaan Hirsi Ali by criticizing other articles by Ian Buruma and Timothy Garton Ash. According to Bruckner, modern philosophers from Heidegger to Gadamer, Derrida, Max Horkheimer and Theodor Adorno have mounted a broad attack on the Enlightenment, claiming that "all the evils of our epoch were spawned by this philosophical and literary episode: capitalism, colonialism, totalitarianism." Bruckner agrees that the history of the twentieth century attests to the fanaticism of modernity, but argues that the modern thought that issued from the Enlightenment proved capable of criticizing its own errors, and that "Denouncing the excesses of the Enlightenment in the concepts that it forged means being true to its spirit."
Le Sanglot de l'Homme blanc
Le Sanglot de l'Homme blanc (The White Man's Tears), published by the Éditions le Seuil in May 1983, subtitled "Third World, culpability and self-hatred", was a controversial opus. The author describes what he sees as the anti-Western and pro-Third-World sentimentalism of some of the Left in the West. The essay had an influence on a whole trend of thought, especially on Maurice Dantec and Michel Houellebecq. The name is a variation on Kipling's "White Man's Burden".
- Parias: roman, Seuil, 1985, ISBN 978-2-02-008732-2.
- Lunes de fiel: roman, Seuil, 1981, ISBN 978-2-02-005856-8.
- Evil angels: a novel, Grove Press, 1987, ISBN 978-0-394-54138-9.
- Les voleurs de beauté: roman, B. Grasset, 1997.
- Le divin enfant: roman, Seuil, 1992, ISBN 978-2-02-013215-2.
- The Divine Child, Rupa & Co., 2005, ISBN 978-81-291-0302-4.
- La tentation de l'innocence, Grasset, 1995, ISBN 978-2-253-13927-0.
- Temptation of innocence. Algora Publishing. 2000. ISBN 978-1-892941-56-5.
- Le Sanglot de l'Homme blanc, Éditions du Seuil, 1983; Simon & Schuster, 1986, ISBN 978-0-02-904160-4.
- The Tears of the White Man: Compassion As Contempt, The Free Press, 1986, ISBN 978-0-02-904160-4.
- La tyrannie de la pénitence, Grasset, 2006, ISBN 978-2-246-64161-2.
- The Tyranny of Guilt. Translator Steven Rendall. Princeton University Press. 2010. ISBN 978-0-691-14376-7.
- Perpetual Euphoria: On the Duty to Be Happy. Translator Steven Rendall. Princeton University Press. 2011. ISBN 978-0-691-14373-6.
- The Fanaticism of the Apocalypse: Save the Earth, Punish Human Beings, ISBN 9780745669762.
Notes and references
- Bruckner, Pascal (2013). Against Environmental Panic," The Chronicle of HIgher Education, 17 June 2013, accessed 29 June 2013
- Pascal Bruckner, Enlightenment fundamentalism or racism of the anti-racists?, appeared originally in German in the online magazine Perlentaucher on 24 January 2007. (English)
- The Asterix complex, interview with Pascal Bruckner at signandsight.com
- Pascal Bruckner at perlentaucher.de – das Kulturmagazin (German)
- Boycot Durban II By Pascal Bruckner, 16 June 2008
- Philosophy: Pushing the Limits. An Interview with Pascal Bruckner. Listen or download Bruckner interviewed by JK Fowler on February 26, 2011.