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The central feature of Éric Marty’s long-term work is its crossing over of at least three inquiries, developed via distinct types of writings. In chronological order, the first of these is a reflection upon the role and the place of the writer, as evidenced by his works on André Gide, René Char, and his long proximity to Roland Barthes; then comes a radical critique of the “master thinker” (Althusser and Badiou in particular), which does not consist in accusing certain authors of being responsible for the evils of the twentieth century (beginning with Marx) as was the case with André Glucksmann’s Master Thinkers. These two points overlap, since it is the strength of literature not to objectivate that of which it speaks, but to exhibit it and bear witness to it. Claude Lefort has insisted upon this literary dimension of the critique of power in one of his works, entitled Écrire. Un homme en trop [Writing: One Man Too Many], a book dedicated to Solzhenitsyn’s The Gulag Archipelago and to the zeks who were imprisoned there, which is subtitled An Essay in Literary Investigation. As to the third inquiry, it focuses on the passage toward violence of the 1970s leftists of France and Italy: why is a master thinker a terrifying trigger for terror? What went for Mao yesterday goes for Mohammed today, and is not without connections to the Sadean leitmotif of perversion, which Marty puts under the microscope in his work on the successive interpretations of Sade over the twentieth century…


Literature allows us to tackle philosophical and political questions while still affirming subjectivity, which shows itself in writing. This is what led Éric Marty to take an interest in Gide, Char and Barthes, and to analyze in his latest book the way in which intellectuals of the 70s (Klossowski, Bataille, Blanchot, Lacan, Deleuze, Barthes) approached the works of Sade, and what their rereadings of the “Divine Marquis” reveal about their vision of the twentieth century.finnnn!!

Éric Marty
Interview conducted by
Alice Béja
Michaël Fœssel
Olivier Mongin
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