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New Left Review 57, May-June 2009



The fortieth anniversary of May 68 in France was the occasion for much public-minded commemoration, from the open-air exhibition on the Place de la Sorbonne of Marc Riboud’s enormous photographs of scenes from barricades, to special editions of Télérama and Le Magazine Littéraire, to several hundred titles on the revolt packing the shelves of bookshops across the country. [1] Serge Audier, La Pensée anti-68: Essai sur les origines d’une restauration intellectuelle, La Découverte: Paris 2008, €21.50, paperback, 380 pp, 978 2 7071 5337 1. Among these was Serge Audier’s La Pensée anti-68, released by the publishing house which was once that of François Maspero. In 1985, the establishment philosophers Luc Ferry and Alain Renaut had produced a polemical essay, La Pensée 68, denouncing the spell of so many sinister maîtres à penser, each an enemy of humanism, on the rebels of that year—from Deleuze and Lacan, whose desiring machines and psycho-linguistic structures left the human subject helpless and alone, to Foucault and Derrida, epigones of the calamitous Nietzsche and Heidegger. La Pensée anti-68 could seem billed as a riposte. In fact, although it contains a section repeating well-known demonstrations that such influence is a myth, the book is nothing of the kind. It is conceived rather as an exercise in a much more contemporary cause.

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Alexander Zevin, ‘Revolution to Go: Reordering 68’, NLR 57: £3

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