January 09, 2018
Trump Revisits Vichy’s Rafles
February 05, 2017
Finding Humility in Camus’ The Plague
December 25, 2016
Teaching in a Time of Trump
October 13, 2016
I Have the Best Words: On Bérengère Viennot’s “La Langue de Trump”
Robert Zaretsky reviews “La Langue de Trump” by Bérengère Viennot, the French translator of Donald Trump’s speeches.
Remaining Rogue: On Andrew S. Curran’s “Diderot and the Art of Thinking Freely”
Robert Zaretsky ponders “Diderot and the Art of Thinking Freely” by Andrew S. Curran.
From City of Blight to City of Light
Robert Zaretsky looks at the illuminating “City of Light: The Making of Modern Paris” by Rupert Christiansen.
Almost Too Sober: On the Appeal of Stoicism
Robert Zaretsky contemplates “How to Be Free: An Ancient Guide to the Stoic Life,” a selection of Epictetus’s thought translated by A. A. Long.
Nothing to Fear, but …
Robert Zaretsky tackles “The Monarchy of Fear: A Philosopher Looks at Our Political Crisis” by Martha C. Nussbaum.
Remembering Simone Weil: The Price and the Purpose of Philosophy
Robert Zaretsky considers the legacy of Simone Weil 75 years after her death.
Left Mountebanks: On Agnès Poirier’s “Left Bank: Art, Passion, and the Rebirth of Paris, 1940–1950”
Robert Zaretsky finds fault with “Left Bank: Art, Passion, and the Rebirth of Paris, 1940–1950” by Agnès Poirier.
Responding to an Emergency: On Lynn Hunt’s “History: Why it Matters”
Robert Zaretsky appreciates “History: Why it Matters,” a rallying cry for the discipline by Lynn Hunt.
“Each of Us Has His or Her Own Camus”: An Interview with Catherine Camus
Robert Zaretsky interviews Catherine Camus about her father, Albert Camus, and his correspondence with Maria Casarès.
“No Longer the Person I Was”: The Dazzling Correspondence of Albert Camus and Maria Casarès
Robert Zaretsky on the correspondence between Albert Camus and Maria Casarès.
Matters Large and Small: Reading Todd May’s “A Fragile Life” in the Wake of Hurricane Harvey
Robert Zaretsky reads “A Fragile Life” by Todd May in the wake of Hurricane Harvey.
“I Write on Human Skin”: Catherine the Great and the Rule of Law
Robert Zaretsky reflects on 250th anniversary of Catherine the Great’s Legislative Commission to propose a new code of law for the Russian Empire.
Darkness Nearly Beyond Words: On Elizabeth Kostova’s “The Shadow Land”
Robert Zaretsky plumbs the depths of “The Shadow Land” by Elizabeth Kostova.
The Fragility of Politics: What Paul Ricoeur Can Teach Us About the French Election
Robert Zaretsky explores how Paul Ricoeur’s ethics inform Emmanuel Macron’s politics.
Achtung Maybe: Reverence in the Age of Trump
Robert Zaretsky ponders reverence in the Age of Trump.
Reading “The Stranger” in Tehran: An Interview with Mohammad Hekmat
Robert Zaretsky interviews Mohammad Hekmat, an English-to-Farsi translator, about Camus, cultural differences, and censorship.
The Plague Within Us: Shlomo Sand on France and its Intellectuals
As Shlomo Sand suggests in his new book, the French intellectual was never what he was cracked up to be.
Lost in Trumpslation: An Interview with Bérengère Viennot
Robert Zaretsky interviews Bérengère Viennot, who is tasked with translating Donald Trump’s speeches into French, broken syntax and all.
Against Forgetting: Resistance Past and Present
Robert Zaretsky implores you to remember.
No Easy Answers: Susan Rubin Suleiman on “The Némirovsky Question”
Robert Zaretsky explains that there are no easy answers in “The Némirovsky Question” by Susan Rubin Suleiman.
So Long, Marianne: From the Bare Breast to the Burkini
Robert Zaretsky examines Marianne, the symbol of French Republic, and the debate over the burkini.
Biography of a Book: Zaretsky on Kaplan on Camus
Robert Zaretsky on Alice Kaplan's "Looking For 'The Stranger'."
This Is Not A Conversation: Robert Cremins and Rob Zaretsky on Denis Diderot, Malcolm Bradbury, and Why We Write
What would Denis Diderot think of a campus protest?
The Hands of a Leader: Donald Trump and Niccolò Machiavelli
What Machiavelli can tell us about Trump.
The Limits of Absurdity
Albert Camus's confusion over Americans has become our confusion, while his observations cut as deeply today as they did 70 years ago.
Paris: A Tale of Two Cities
"What strikes us today as terrifyingly new would in 1914 strike many Parisians, mutatis mutandis, as little more than déjà vu."
On Being Shocked
The mass media, it seems, will never run short of opportunities to numb us.
The View from Bodrum
Herodotus would have had much to say about both the events that led to the tragic death of Aylan Kurdi, and the way it has been treated in the media.
The Idea of Europe
Costica Bradatan and Robert Zaretsky on George Stiener and "The Idea of Europe" as a place defined more by philosophy than economics.
Insolence, Exile, and the Kingdom
The Los Angeles Review of Books interview with novelist and journalist Kamel Daoud.
It’s the Emotions, Stupid
"How did the ideals of 1789 … morph into the horrors of 1793, steeped in blood, violence, and paranoia?"
Over Here, over Here: Books on World War I Everywhere
2014 saw a bumper crop in World War I commemorations.
19th Century Paris: Terrorism's Training Ground
1894 marked an exceptional harvest of one of the most notable isms to take root in French soil: anarchism.
The 'Inevitable' World War
Was World War I, which started 100 years ago today, after all, inevitable?
On les aura!
Why the slaughter?
Reconsidering the "Good War"
Mary Louise Roberts on sex, violence, culture clash, and American soldiers in France during WWII.
Enlightenment: James MacGregor Burns’s Version
Yet another version of the Enlightenment — with some flaws, like all of them.
Camus at 100
in honor of the French novelist, essayist, and philosopher Albert Camus on the centenary of his birth
What Would Edmund Burke Say?
Edmund Burke would have hated the people who claim him as their political philosopher.
Syria and the Peace of Westphalia
The treaties constituting the Peace of Westphalia were drawn up by pragmatists as way out of sectarian violence — might it have some clues for us?
Letter to the Editor
To the Editors of The Los Angeles Review of Books: IN HIS REVIEW of The Black Count, Robert Zaretsky makes plain
Romantic History, Betrayal, and Revolution: Dumas Grandpère
LIKE TOM REISS, author of The Black Count: Glory, Revolution, Betrayal, and the Real Count of Monte Cristo, an older generation
Pandas, Professors, and Promises, or, The MOOC Will Not Set Us Free
EARLIER THIS YEAR, my daughter Louisa opened a lemonade stand and made a killing. Not only was she irresistible, but so
Hubris and Envy: The Lehrer Affair
HIS BOOK, HAILED by the critics, presents itself as a guide to human nature; it claims scientific rigor, yet is written
A Man Apart
WHILE THE MAGIC KINGDOM does not boast an Existential Land — at least not the sort that would be recognized as