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Julien Benda

Birthplace: Paris, Île-de-France, France
Death: June 07, 1956 (88)
Fontenay-aux-Roses, Île-de-France, France
Immediate Family:

Son of Camille Benda and Anne Caroline Benda
Husband of Micia Louise Eugénie Benda
Brother of Fanny Benda

Managed by: George J. Homs
Last Updated:

About Julien Benda

Julien Benda (December 26, 1867 Paris – June 7, 1956) was a French philosopher and novelist. Born into a Jewish family, Benda became a master of French belles-lettres. Yet he believed that science was superior to literature as a method of inquiry. He disagreed with Henri Bergson, the leading light of French philosophy of his day. Benda is now mostly remembered for his short 1927 book La Trahison des Clercs, a work of some notoriety in its day. The title of the English translation was The Betrayal of the Intellectuals, although "The Treason of the Learned" would have been more accurate. This polemical essay argued that French and German intellectuals in the 19th and 20th century had often lost the ability to reason dispassionately about political and military matters, instead becoming apologists for crass nationalism, warmongering and racism. Benda reserved his harshest criticisms for his fellow Frenchmen Charles Maurras and Maurice Barrès. Benda defended the measured and dispassionate outlook of classical civilization, and the internationalism of traditional Christianity, which he understood well. Other works by Benda include Belphégor (1918), Uriel's Report (1926), and Exercises of a Man Buried Alive (1947), an attack on the contemporary French celebrities of his time. Most of the titles in the bibliography below were published during the last three decades of Benda's long life; he is emphatically a 20th century author. Moreover, Benda survived the German occupation of France, 1940–44, and the Vichy regime despite being a Jew and having called the Germans "one of the plagues of the world". Nevertheless, Benda appears little read by English speakers -- The Betrayal of the Intellectuals is his only work translated into English currently in print. That Roger Kimball wrote the introduction to a 2006 edition of this translation suggests that Benda commands some respect among present-day Anglophone conservative thinkers. But his influence can also be felt in the works of Noam Chomsky. However the phrase 'Betrayal of the Intellectuals' or (more commonly) the 'Treason of the Intellectuals' has become a commonly used phrase to describe what happens when the intelligentsia compromise their intellectual honesty for political reasons: this may of course apply as much to intellectuals of the Right as of the Left. [edit]Bibliography

Les amorandes – 1922 Appositions – 1930 Belphégor : essai sur l'esthétique de la présente société française – 1919 Les cahiers d'un clerc, 1936-1949 – 1949 Cléanthis ou du Beau et de l'actuel – 1928 Un Régulier dans le siècle (Paris, Gallimard) 1938 La crise du rationalisme – 1949 La croix de roses ; précédé d'un dialogue d'Eleuthère avec l'auteur – 1923 Discours à la nation européenne – 1933 Du poétique. Selon l'humanité, non selon les poètes – 1946 Du style d'idées : réflexions sur la pensée, sa nature, ses réalisations, sa valeur morale – 1948 Esquisse d'une histoire des Français dans leur volonté d'être une nation – 1932 Exercice d'un enterré vif, juin 1940-août 1944 – 1945 La France Byzantine, ou, Le triomphe de la littérature pure : Mallarmé, Gide, Proust, Valéry, Alain Giraudoux, Suarès, les Surréalistes : essai d'une psychologie originelle du littérateur – 1945 La grande épreuve des démocraties : essai sur les principes démocratiques : leur nature, leur histoire, leur valeur philosophique. – 1942 La jeunesse d'un clerc – 1936 Lettres à Mélisande – 1926 Non possumus. À propos d'une certaine poésie moderne – 1946 L'ordination – 1926 Précision (1930–1937) – 1937 Properce, ou, Les amants de Tibur – 1928 Le rapport d'Uriel – 1946 Un régulier dans le siècle – 1937 Les sentiments de Critias – 1917 Tradition de l'existentialisme, ou, Les philosophies de la vie – 1947 La trahison des clercs – 1927 English translation,The Betrayal of the Intellectuals, by Richard Aldington: 1955 (1928). Beacon Press. Introduction by Herbert Read. The Treason of the Intellectuals 2006. Transaction Publishers. Introduction by Roger Kimball. Trois idoles romantiques : le dynamisme, l'existentialisme, la dialectique matérialiste – 1948 [edit]Criticism

Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: Julien Benda Nichols, Ray L., 1979. Treason, Tradition and the Intellectual: Julien Benda and Political Discourse. Univ. Press of Kansas. Niess, Robert J., 1956. Julien Benda. Univ. of Michigan Press.

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Julien Benda's Timeline

December 26, 1867
Paris, Île-de-France, France
June 7, 1956
Age 88
Fontenay-aux-Roses, Île-de-France, France