Bernard-Henri Lévy

Bernard-Henri Lévy is a provocative French philosopher and public intellectual famous for his polemical attacks on the French Left and his robust views on Islam. He came to prominence for his role in the ‘New Philosophers’ movement of the 1970s alongside thinkers such as Pascal Bruckner. These figures broke with their Marxist past and developed a trenchant critique of the role of Marxism and poststructuralism in contemporary French thought. Lévy’s book The French Ideology was an important text in this movement, controversially arguing that the dominant leftist thinkers of post-war France Left had encoded a totalitarian mind-set into the basis of French intellectual culture. He has recently contended that such totalitarian dangers also lurk within contemporary Islamist thought, and has robustly argued for recognizing the dangers of modern antisemitism and the importance of Jewish culture and ethics in French society. Polity has published his Sartre: The Philosopher of the Twentieth Century.