Quotes of the Day

I absolutely have to share these great quotes from Clive James’s book where he pokes merciless fun at Sartre. James hates Sartre, among many other things, for being the progenitor of the French school of criticism and its signature incomprehensible style of writing:

Those of us unfettered by being either professional philosophers or patriotic Frenchmen can surely suggest that even Sartre’s first and most famous treatise shows all the signs not just of his later mummery, but of the mummery of other pundits who came to later fame. Foucault, Derrida and the like shouldn’t have needed scientific debunking to prove them fraudulent: the pseudo-scientific vacuity of their argufying was sufficiently evident from the wilful obfuscation of their stylistic hoopla: and the same could have been said of their progenitor.

One thing is certain, the people James ridiculed couldn’t have written such a beautiful sentence to save their lives.

In Sartre’s style of argument, German metaphysics met French sophistry in a kind of European Coal and Steel Community producing nothing but rhetorical gas.

And more:

The infection of pseudo-scientific casuistry was not peripheral to the main fields of humanist speculation, but central: exalted balderdash was their common property.

So good.

2 thoughts on “Quotes of the Day”

  1. Sounds like an interesting read. I’ve been wanting to get into some good criticism of postmodernism and this seems right up my alley.


    1. It’s a long book but it’s so enjoyable. To quote Hugo Chávez, “it’s like swimming in a sea of pleasure.” Of course, Chávez was referring to his relationship with Fidel Castro and not his favorite books but still.


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