The Wind from the East: French Intellectuals, the Cultural Revolution, and the Legacy of the 1960s

Front Cover
Princeton University Press, Jul 1, 2010 - History - 408 pages
2 Reviews

Michel Foucault, Jean-Paul Sartre, Julia Kristeva, Phillipe Sollers, and Jean-Luc Godard. During the 1960s, a who's who of French thinkers, writers, and artists, spurred by China's Cultural Revolution, were seized with a fascination for Maoism. Combining a merciless exposÚ of left-wing political folly and cross-cultural misunderstanding with a spirited defense of the 1960s, The Wind from the East tells the colorful story of this legendary period in France. Richard Wolin shows how French students and intellectuals, inspired by their perceptions of the Cultural Revolution, and motivated by utopian hopes, incited grassroots social movements and reinvigorated French civic and cultural life.

Wolin's riveting narrative reveals that Maoism's allure among France's best and brightest actually had little to do with a real understanding of Chinese politics. Instead, it paradoxically served as a vehicle for an emancipatory transformation of French society. French student leftists took up the trope of "cultural revolution," applying it to their criticisms of everyday life. Wolin examines how Maoism captured the imaginations of France's leading cultural figures, influencing Sartre's "perfect Maoist moment"; Foucault's conception of power; Sollers's chic, leftist intellectual journal Tel Quel; as well as Kristeva's book on Chinese women--which included a vigorous defense of foot-binding.

Recounting the cultural and political odyssey of French students and intellectuals in the 1960s, The Wind from the East illustrates how the Maoist phenomenon unexpectedly sparked a democratic political sea change in France.

 

What people are saying - Write a review

Review: The Wind from the East: French Intellectuals, the Cultural Revolution, and the Legacy of the 1960s

User Review  - Dustin Kurtz - Goodreads

A solid source of gossip, but be ready to wade through an ocean of disdain. Read full review

Review: The Wind from the East: French Intellectuals, the Cultural Revolution, and the Legacy of the 1960s

User Review  - Vincent - Goodreads

reactionary bullshit! Read full review

Contents

The Maoist Temptation
1
Showdown at BruayenArtois
25
France during the 1960s
39
The Triumph ofLibidinal Politics
70
Who Were the Maoists?
109
On the Sectarian Maoism ofAlain Badiou
155
The Hour of the Intellectuals
177
Tel Quel in CulturalPolitical Hell
233
Biopolitics
288
From Cultural Revolution
350
Bibliography
371
Index
385
Copyright

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2010)

Richard Wolin is Distinguished Professor of History, Comparative Literature, and Political Science at the City University of New York Graduate Center. His books, which include Heidegger's Children and The Seduction of Unreason (both Princeton), have been translated into ten languages. His articles and reviews have appeared in Dissent, the Nation, and the New Republic.

Bibliographic information