chapter  6
23 Pages

André Malraux

ByJohn McCormick

In this chapter, the author insists on Andre Malraux's historical vision, because French criticism deriving from phenomenology has induced miscomprehension of Malraux that far exceeds the linguistic or the political. Such criticism was long fashionable in France and abroad; it remains powerful despite its inaccuracies long after its vogue has passed. As with Hemingway and Montherlant, it is hardly necessary to argue the case for Malraux's position as a post-Romantic writer. Malraux's prophetic instinct for the typological violence of the twentieth century led him to Indochina a generation before the United States' involvement. He worked for the Communist party from about 1926 to the Russo-German pact in 1939, but all the while he was under attack as a dilettante, as an individualist, too subject, in Trotsky's words, to aesthetic caprice. Novelists of Malraux's acknowledged power and originality always run the risk of being misunderstood by readers and critics alike.