Thursday, April 14, 2016

Quotes of the day – Kipling and Sartre – different paths

“The centrepiece of Kipling’s life was a refusal to look within, an aggressive ‘anti-intraception’ which forced him to avoid all deep conflicts, and prevented him from separating human problems from ethnic stereotypes. Remarkably extraversive, his work stressed all forms of collectivity, and saw the bonds of race and blood as more important than person-to-person relationships. As if their author, he hoped that the restlessness and occasional depression that had dogged him since the Southsea days could be driven off-scent by the extraversive search for cultural roots, through the service he was rendering to the imperial authority. He lived and died fighting his other self – a softer, more creative and happier self – and the uncertainty and self-hatred associated with it.” – Ashis Nandy, The Intimate Enemy: Loss and Recovery of Self under Colonialism, pp. 69-70
“That Sartre had a real influence on a generation of young people, largely but far from exclusively students, who grew up in the 1950s and 1960s, not only in France but throughout the world, seems impossible to deny. M.-A. Burnier, who was deeply influenced by Sartre before repudiating him, recalled the end of Sartre’s story ‘L’Enfance d’un chef’,* where Lucien, having found that anti-Semitism had given him a meaning in life, decided to grow a moustache. He asked: ‘Is it an exaggeration to claim that Sartre has prevented a good many Lucien Fleuriers from letting their moustaches grow?’ If even that were true, it would be no mean achievement.” – Ian H. Birchall, Sartre against Stalinism, p. 222
*I’ve discussed this work here.

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