Julien Benda’s classic study of s Europe resonates today. The “treason of the intellectuals” is a phrase that evokes much but is inherently ambiguous. Julien Benda (26 December – 7 June ) was a French philosopher and novelist. He remains famous for his short book, La Trahison des Clercs (The Tr. The Treason of the Intellectuals: Julien Benda: La Trahison des clercs (; The Treason of the Intellectuals; also published as The Great Betrayal), Benda.

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They proclaim the intellectual functions are only respectable to the extent that they are bound up with the pursuit of concrete advantage. This fraud is the dirty secret that our cultural commissars refuse to acknowledge. Intellectuals are prone to politics and bennda own interests, the majority of people does not think beyond their primary needs and interests Unfortunately, it does not do so an an sufficiently metaphysically useful way. For them, the act which makes the State strong is invested with a moral character by the fact that it does so, and this trreason the act may be.

Mar 02, John rated it it was amazing. This is the undoing of thought. Vladislav Yastremsky rated it liked it Feb 10, Closing this work, Benda darkly predicts that the augmentation of the “realistic” impulse to domination of the material world, justified by intellectuals into an “integral realism”, risked producing an all-encompassing species-civilization that would completely cease “to situate the good outside the real world”. Formerly man was divine because he had been able to acquire the concept of justice, the idea of law, the sense of God; today he is divine because he has been able to create equipment which makes him the master of matter.


Views Read Edit View history. Among other things, this means that it is a brief for the idea that mankind is united by a common humanity that transcends ethnic, racial, and sexual divisions.

T here is another, perhaps even darker, result of the undoing of thought. Enlightenment looks to culture as a repository of values that transcend the self, postmodernism looks to the fleeting desires of the isolated self as the only legitimate source of value. And given the continuing echo in our own time of the problems he anatomized, the relevance of his observations to our situation can hardly be doubted.

Born into a Jewish family in ParisBenda became a master of French belles-lettres. Sign in to use this feature. In describing this process of leveling, Finkielkraut distinguishes between those who wish to obliterate distinctions in the name of politics and those who do so out of a kind of narcissism.

This article has no associated abstract. Among other things, that exhibition demonstrated the extent to which the apotheosis of popular culture undermines the very possibility of appreciating high art on its own terms. The Treason of the Intellectuals by Julien Benda.

It makes you think!

And this brings us to the question of freedom. Julien Benda 26 December — 7 June was a French philosopher and novelist.

Pavelescu Sabin-Stefan rated it really liked it Dec 30, Monthly downloads Sorry, there are not enough data points to plot this chart. However, if a clerc intends to be used by political “realists” or for practical policy, it is necessarily a failure. But the dispersal of these particular chimeras has provided no inoculation against kindred fabrications: Julien Benda 26 December — 7 June was a French philosopher and novelist. This contradiction was an honor to the human species, and formed the rift whereby civilization slipped into the world.


Human beings have always been self-centred, careerist and often nasty. They were non-materialistic knowledge-seekers who believed in a universal humanism and represented a cornerstone of civilized society.

The Treason of the Intellectuals – Julien Benda – Google Books

Radu rated it it was amazing Aug 10, Outis rated beda really liked it Jun 09, This translation is still in print from Norton. What Benda found novel was the accreditation of such cynicism by intellectuals.

Anastasia rated it really liked it Apr 01, The Frankfurt School Marxists Max Horkheimer and Theodor Adorno gave an exemplary but by no means uncharacteristic demonstration of one strain of this brand of anti-rational animus in the mids. From the time of the pre-Socratics, intellectuals were benea breed apart. According to Benda, this all began to change in the early twentieth century. Jan 12, Constantin C. Julien Benda — was a novelist and critic.

From the time of the pre-Socratics, intellectuals, considered in their role as intellectuals, had been a breed apart. Retrieved from ” https: The Treason of the Intellectuals.

The Treason of the Intellectuals

What Finkielkraut has understood with admirable clarity is that modern attacks on elitism represent not the extension but the destruction of culture. What has been said here, if it were not a work of history, could have been argued in all of 20 pages. Jul 17, Ingeborg rated it really liked it Shelves: The Betrayal of the Intellectuals.

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