Malraux, the Absolute Agnostic; Or, Metamorphosis as Universal Law

Claude Tannery, Author, Teresa Lavender Fagan, Translator University of Chicago Press $59 (333p) ISBN 978-0-226-78962-0
Andre Malraux's direct participation in China's revolutionary upheaval, the Spanish Civil War and the French Resistance was only a detour in his metaphysical advance, asserts Tannery. ``Tortured by a thirst for the Absolute,'' the French man of letters embraced revolution as an authentic reality, but later, we are told, he realized that only a complete metamorphosis of culture could reverse the forces of dehumanization rampant in the modern world. Malraux (1901-1976) saw those forces at work in Nazi fascism, Soviet totalitarianism and the brainwashing techniques used to make citizens passive and to mass-market politicians in liberal democracies. This lofty, richly philosophical study offers a different perspective on Malraux's life and work. Tannery, director of the French Institute in Oporto, Portugal, portrays a spiritual seeker obsessed with the absurd, an agnostic whose sense of mystery deepened as he attempted his own inner transformation. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 01/13/1992
Release date: 01/01/1992
Genre: Fiction
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