New Alain Website (in French)

Ronald Collins read

The following content is offered by bythe Friends of Alain Association, founded by his relatives after his death.

Re Alain and Simone Weil — this from the Alain website (Google Translate):

“The general meeting of the association of friends of Alain will be held, as every year in Vésinet, on Saturday June 10th. We will have the pleasure of hearing the best connoisseur of the work of Simone Weil, that is to say Robert Chenavier, on the theme ‘Simone Weil and Alain, inseparable and at odds.'”


Re Alain & his Propos (also from Alain website)

 “This is an introduction to Alain’s propos, 24 of which are translated here, most of them for the first time in English.

What is a propos ? The French word is both plain and ambiguous: a suggestion, a comment, a proposition, remarks, notes? Perhaps ‘proposal’ comes closest as a translation. With Alain we can be more specific. It’s a short column, drafted on two pages of letter paper, and, at the beginning, published in a local newspaper. From 1906 he wrote them daily and only ceased with the outbreak of war in 1914; he began again in 1921 and continued to 1936, to make a total of around five thousand. At first they were mainly political commentary, but Alain’s philosophy and very wide interests soon entered in. The brevity of the form brought out a vivid, pithy and forceful style, free of jargon, that soon attracted readers and would lead to republication as several books. They are short essays with the freshness of improvisation. As Alain put it, he found that he had a taste for firing arrows at passers-by to get them to look up from their path in life – provocations in short. And, as he wrote later, by not thinking that philosophy was too good for journalism, he invented a genre of journalism – to which I would add: he also invented a genre of philosophy.”



Alain (Émile-Auguste Chartier): Entry # 2

Allen G. Wood read

“Alain’s career was closely connected with the educational system in France, since he served as professor of rhetoric at the Lycée Henri IV from 1909 until 1933, and bad a profound influence on the thinking of a generation of French intellectuals. In his essays he often adopted a professorial position, providing insights and stimulating thought in a concise, meditative prose style. As with so many French essayists, Alain was a philosopher in the style of Montaigne rather than of Descartes. He did not leave a systematic philosophy, nor a major opus, but a large and disparate collection of personal observations that are both penetrating and amusing. The substance of his thought, however, was profoundly influenced by rigorous Cartesian logic. . . .”

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