Faculty Book: Evelyn Barish

Evelyn Barish

The Double Life of Paul de Man
(Liveright, 2014)

Given the tremendous influence of the charismatic literary critic Paul de Man, shock waves resulted when it was discovered, five years after his death, that he had written for collaborationist newspapers in Belgium during World War II. After the war, he abandoned his family and fled to New York, penniless, but quickly rose again. Relying on years of original archival work and interviews with more than two hundred of de Man’s circle of friends and family, Barish explores de Man’s personal story and his meteoric rise through American academia. She traces the origins of the philosophical deconstructionism that he later created with Jacques Derrida, showing how de Man attracted followers with his attack on the hypocrisy of society that attempts to cover up the “essential alienation” of art from “the system.” Evelyn Barish is professor emerita of English at the Graduate Center and the College of Staten Island.

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Submitted on: MAR 11, 2014

Category: English | Faculty Books