Françoise Gollain | André, My Teacher

by Françoise Gollain

*The author’s translation of the original article in French : ‘André, mon maître’, Entropia (Revue théorique et politique de la décroissance), No 4, Spring 2008, pp. 189-200; in a slightly abridged version: ‘André, mon maître. Hommage à André Gorz’, La Revue du MAUSS semestrielle, 18, First Semester 2008, pp. 315-327.

“Philosophy makes you crazy and it’s politics anyway!” objected my mother. It was therefore against my family that I decided at the age of 17 to register for a degree in philosophy, eventually going away from a world without books where the fascination for the book as an object was not enough to offset the derision that intellectuals were the object of because of their non-calloused hands. I was leaving behind this world that I was experiencing as essentially brutal, for the captivating world of ideas. My attraction to philosophy expressed at the same time and in a contradictory fashion, a desire for abstraction and disembodiment, and a clumsy attempt to find a place, my place, in the world that I did not know how to inhabit. This half-desire to exist concretely on my own terms naturally brought me at 19 towards more concrete pursuits: a commitment to the feminist movement and the study of Sociology thanks to Alain Caillé’s teachings at the University of Caen, a sociology cultivating its ties with moral and political philosophy. I then read Critique of the division of labour, followed by Ecology as Politics, and the other books by André Gorz, being literally drawn to them as if by a magnet from the beginning. We met 20 years later.

He is without doubt the author whose theories have had the most decisive influence on my intellectual options and my existential choices, but I have yet another debt, more personal, towards him:

At the age of 12, I made the secret plan to overtake by my academic performance those other students of the ‘bourgeois’ secondary school (as we said at the time) that I attended, and who were getting pocket money and piano lessons. I therefore pursued my trajectory of good student and became an intellectual, albeit at the end of a very long detour, because of a strong lack of a sense of legitimacy. The support shown to me by André has consequently been precious; it was a benevolent and affectionate support of my attempt to write, even when it failed. His remarks against my hypercritical attitude, based on his personal experience, often expressed a mixture of satisfaction and frustration generated by this activity: “Miracles and Mysteries of writing: It never says what we think and finally, what has been said may be better than what we thought and meant. This is to say that an author may never catches up with his publications“.[1]

Some of our exchanges, as well as my reading of his self-analytical philosophical essay, Le Traitre, [2], and Lettre à D.[3], his last book written 50 years later, also helped me to better understand some aspects and workings of intellectual activity. Obvious in these two works are, it seems to me, his conflicting drives towards integration in the world on the one hand and refusal of the world on the other – dialectic at work throughout his life – as well as his efforts to construct a place for himself, even if it was to remain a marginal one. Showing explicitly and openly the inadequacy of the intellectual, or at least of some of them, André made me accept the idea that I could be one, if I learned to develop creatively the interior monologues through which I had been forever trying to ‘sort out’ the world and which I had become accustomed to at the end of my adolescence during a highly politicized period in French history.
Although we had in common this question of our place, both in the world and as intellectuals, its origin was, as we shall see, different for André. Nevertheless, his approach has been for me a source of reflection and might prove enlightening for others. I have often thought that intellectual debates would be more relevant if those who write conveyed more clearly the “sensitive dimension of thought/thinking,” to quote the welcome phrase coined by Jean-Claude Besson-Girard.

We know that André’s sociological and economic arguments are the extension of his moral and existential philosophy; it is far less known how much this philosophy itself extends his thinking about himself. I am proposing, therefore, as a tribute to my mentor and friend, to remind the reader of the ways in which the themes of freedom and alienation, central in his works, had a personal resonance for him. His defence of the opportunity to act as a subject, and in particular his model of political ecology based upon aspirations to autonomy and self-determination, are indeed inseparable from a demanding effort at a personal level to exist as a subject. More specifically, I will try to explain where his humanistic vision of emancipation is rooted and to indicate how André’s intellectual honesty, his prophetic analyses of capitalism and his utopian constructions about changing the world, are absolutely inseparable from his demanding attempt to understand oneself, to work with and on his anxiety as a man and to construct the meaning of his life.

Sartre, Marx and Merleau-Ponty

The interminable writing of his first manuscript for a period of ten years from 1946[4] had been a fruitless flight which expressed his fundamental desire not to exist, André admitted to himself at the beginning of Le Traitre. This admission gave him the determination to undertake “to sort oneself out rather than human beings in general”, “stop believing a problem could ever be ‘solved’ [and to] reach this certainty: A philosophy can never dispense with life”.[5] As stated by Jean-Paul Sartre in his preface, this is no strategy of exposition but a most sincere enterprise of unveiling of oneself[6] and to oneself; for Le Traitre had been conceived as practical experimentation on himself with a method of self-analysis and moral conversion through the activity of writing. His aim being to trace the original meaning of his lived experience, André dissects with total honesty what he calls his “infantile complex of nullity” and his masochism, as well as his experience of non-belonging and exile which resulted from specific historical conditions and reinforced further his original choice of nullity. [7] This combination – infantile complex and exile – produced at the end of the war a young man dominated for a long time by a taste for self-destruction and abstraction, and who simply could not identify with any nation, community or human culture, and who therefore questioned all norms.

Because of this experience André developed a strong sense of the contingency of life, a reflective distance to his own culture and language, and ultimately a distance from everything he was doing. It is therefore understandable that he was immediately receptive to Sartrean philosophy according to which, in the absence of a given meaning to our existence, we are condemned to invent ourselves as subjects, to give it meaning. His fundamental premise was that individuals are free in everything they do and that those who deny this freedom can only suffer it.[8] This philosophy provided the key to an understanding of himself and his relationship to the world and rooted in him the certainty that man is capable of self-emancipation and self-determination.[9] So, the earliest writings of Sartre not only allowed him to make sense of his own despair and anguish, they also provided him with the tools to conceive a humanistic, positive vision of Man. On this basis, André stood against Structuralist views which amounted to separating thought from human experience, eliminating the interiority of Man[10], and he was particularly concerned at the end of his life about the worrying developments of cognitive science.[11]

In affirming the autonomy of a subject who produces her/himself, he also intended to remain faithful to the philosophical anthropology of Marx, to his intuition that work is the activity through which men produce themselves and their world.[12] In Le Traitre, he interprets this Marxian idea as the idea of an embodied choice which is carried out and reiterates the requirement outlined by Marx: self-fulfilment/actualisation through positing oneself as an end. “The person totally realises her/himself and accedes to the universal by producing a human world with all humans.” [13] But – and this will remain the foundation of the gorzian critique of wage labour – this type of work is no longer possible in a professional context because of the alienation inherent to the ‘megamachine’ and to the abstract character of wage-labour. The fundamental reason for our alienation is the economic order which makes it impossible for us to want what we do. “Man is impossible in this world of ours, therefore it is this world which must be changed; imperatively”.[14] Following Marx, André’s message will be that the only possible direction of historical development is the free development of individuality and that it requires the relegation of economic values, because otherwise the world will sink into barbarism”; hence his utopian project, woven over forty years, that of a society where the separation between workers and their reified labour, and between it and its product – in other words, the heteronomous determination of needs in the market economy – would be virtually abolished, the means of production becoming potentially appropriable and open to being shared. [15]

André has produced not only a synthesis of existentialism and the Marxist theory of alienation, but also a social critique based on a conception of the subject as an autonomous and embodied individual. As established by his friend and biographer Finn Bowring, this synthesis owes much to the influence of the phenomenological theory of the rooting in the lived world (Lebenswelt), and particularly to Merleau-Ponty. Stating the primacy of perception and intersubjectivity, and the physicality of consciousness, Merleau-Ponty was reflecting upon the incarnation of the individual in the world in order to overcome the alternative between pure freedom and pure determinism. With this in mind, the individual is not the subject of History since s/he exists in a socio-cultural universe and a language which are already there, yet s/he is not the product of History either because s/he takes part in it and contributes to shaping the institutions through the use s/he makes of them.

Starting from this same premise that the concrete conditions of our existence are not opposed to our freedom, but that they are its very substance, it is a truly personal learning process that André decides to embark upon at the end of Le Traitre: “To what extent can I use what I became as a result of the education and culture that influenced me in order to become the source of my own actions?”, he asks himself. While taking into account the subject as freedom and transcendence, he recognized, like Merleau-Ponty, the irreducible character of our physical existence. He was also convinced that physical/sensory existence is a place of resistance to the alienating order of culture. This phenomenological concept of the lived world allowed him to “take the side of the Subject against society,” to use the words of Alain Touraine. [16] Some situations allow us to match our sensory experience to our bodily needs and our aesthetic or ethical aspirations while others, on the contrary, prohibit it. A project of emancipation should therefore be designed to ensure that our culture and society are in resonance with bodily values, insisted André.

In summary, Existentialism, Marxism – theories of alienation focused on the critique of the commodity form and the search for authenticity – and Phenomenology, all three argued that the experience of self-production of oneself is essential for our ability to challenge social norms. In other words, the foundation of any anti-capitalism must be the intentionality of a sentient subject able to produce meaning. Furthermore, the release of emotional and imaginative abilities in individuals is a prerequisite for social change; concretely, the re-appropriation of both production and consumption on the one hand, and the reflexive attempt to liberate ourselves from our subjective alienations on the other, are both involved in a political project of radical transformation. Dis-alienation arises both from a political and social action and from a process of personal transformation.

Indeed, intrinsically linked in his works are his radical social critique inspired from Marxism, his existentialist perspective and his phenomenological reflection upon his own personal experience. It seemed obvious to me, after reading Le Traitre, how much the project based on André’s difficulty to exist as an individual was the ’emotional fuel’ of his production of theory or, more precisely, of a practical philosophy. Naturally prone to contesting the social order and to thinking critically about all social norms and an excellent teacher, his philosophical interests were indeed inseparable from his legendary journalistic professionalism and the clarity of his writing: “I think of myself as a failed philosopher trying to smuggle in his philosophical reflections by way of ostensibly political or sociological themes,” [17] he admitted during one of his reviews of his work, explaining that, by “philosophy”, he meant dealing with the question raised by Greek philosophy, “when am I really myself, that is, not just a product externally determined by alien forces and influences but responsible for my own actions, thoughts, feelings, values and so on?”[18]

André then added that the ambition shown at the end of Le Traitre clearly remained of a literary or philosophical nature as he was attempting to show the share of silence, of the ineffable, and of loneliness present in every individual. From this viewpoint, he has since acknowledged that, from that time, he has only moved on in journalistic terms, to the extent that this part of his commitment was based on the acknowledgement that “the resolution of all the problems of existence lies outside”, in the real world. This motivated his effort to reach out to unions, students, those who did not fit in the world of work or consumption, generally via his journalistic activity through which he learned to express complex issues in simple terms. The progress made thus lies beyond the literary original intention, he concluded.[19] It can not be overemphasized in this regard that Gorz, the “builder of indispensable bridges between philosophy and political ecology”, “too discrete” of course, was animated by a practical concern, “the concern to put forward concrete alternatives, to produce a humble thinking attempting to deal with the real world”.[20] However, as we shall now see, this concrete orientation involved and was the result of a very personal struggle.

Doreen – the Singular against the Universal

André believed that by pursuing to its logical development his sense of nullity, exile and despair he had gained access to the metaphysical truth of the human condition. Whether the reader grants credit to this assertion that André has been able, from his unique personal standpoint, to grasp certain aspects of the condition of all or not, there can be no doubt that Le Traitre, then Lettre à D., give us an insight into the very dialectical process/swing between the Universal and the Singular at work in every author. As noted by Bowring, “The fact that Gorz’s work has a notably personal meaning, rooted in the idiosyncrasies of his childhood, should not allow us to underestimate its intellectual value, however. Every writer was once a child, and each book is the product of an individual’s history. What makes Gorz unique, however, is the fact that the writer himself has laboured to understand the primordial origins of his compulsion to write, has shared the results of his labour with thousands of strangers, and has, in the process, loosened the historical determinations of his original choice, personalised his project, and claimed its meaning as his own.”[21]

Drawn to the Universal for the best but also the worst reasons, it appears that his life has indeed been a long journey towards acceptance of his singularity. To denounce, in Le Traitre, his propensity to exist in his interiority did not prevent him from carrying on doing so, he has since recognized. His re-integration into reality thanks to the discovery that writing could be a path towards others was therefore conditioned by three factors: his work as a journalist, of course; his encounter with Sartre in 1946 who, he writes, considered life as “this search by which a man tries to create a path for himself,”[22] and accused the young man to despise the concrete and to be essentialist; last but not least, his encounter with Doreen, his future wife in 1947, which marked the “major turning point” of his life because this encounter with love made him want to exist.

His desire to rise above his unique and personal situation however, including the banality of a love story, had led him in Le Traitre to truncate the story of this love, to the point that his commitment to Doreen[23] appeared like a formal oath made in the name of abstract universal principles. His Lettre à D. written 50 years later was intended as a corrective to Le Traitre and, like it, was designed as a ferocious self-critique as well as a celebration of the one who was so absent from his publications. “This flight from life which had led me to theoretical thinking […] locked me in it like in a bubble. Le Traitre represented a work of self-liberation, but I left no room in it for love, and I even betrayed it”[24], he was able to admit long afterwards.

And what a treason! Having broken with their families and their countries, both of them felt “the need to recreate together, and through each other, a place in the world that [had] been originally denied to them” [25] throughout their long union which lasted until they quit life together on 22 September 2007. Yet, while André was clearly introverted, Doreen was sociable and “fully immersed in life”[26] and did not need anyone to make her place in the world,[27] he admitted. She had, he explained, made him love nature and, more generally, made him discover that one can accept the world in detail while condemning it as a whole, and thus act in the direction of its transformation; failing that, one remained stuck in a position of uncompromising but ineffective rebellion. There is more. Doreen accompanied him in almost all of journalistic trips in which he questioned, on the ground, not only the many forms that exploitation and alienation take, but also reported on many social experiments/alternatives. Besides, the comprehensive dossiers that she compiled made possible his work as a journalist. She was also his first reader before any piece of writing was communicated to the publisher.

Lettre à D. repeated for me the shock felt on my reading of Le Traitre. A shock made of mixed feelings. Disappointment on the one hand: behind my favourite author – André Gorz, the influential theorist of liberation alias Michel Bosquet, the brilliant Grand Reporter – had all this time stood an intelligent and strong woman, thus illustrating a traditional male-female relationship: a public figure supported by a female presence who was for him the body; the practical, emotional, social realms; the real; in a word: the Singular.[28] Strong emotion on the other hand, because I was confronted with his incredible and unusual honesty on the original existential position that had motivated the impersonality of his theoretical discourse, with his effort to come to existence, and with his admission of the crucial role played by another subject in his ability to overcome a refusal to exist.

“He was someone unbearable during the years before Le Traitre but, after writing it, he became more human”, confirmed Doreen. [29] André himself was dismayed to read again his work many years later and he admitted to himself “his obsessive need to systematically rise over what he was experiencing, feeling and thinking, in order to theorize it, to intellectualise it, to be a pure transparent spirit”[30]. “As long as I can remember, I have always tried not to exist. You have been working for many years to make me accept my existence. And this work, I believe, has never been completed.”[31] During his last years, he did talk about the feeling that he had observed his life at a distance, despite moments during which he took with a sense of urgency the resolution to really live in the present. Lettre à D., whose writing entailed a “liberation of emotion” eventually taught him, he confided, “to let go a bit more.” “It’s one of the rare moments when I am accepting myself as a sensitive being, as a subject.” […] In my philosophical texts, I invested some passion into defending the subject, but did I accept myself as a subject? In the abstract, yes, but in practice little.” [32]

When I met André, almost 10 years before his death, he had made undeniable progress towards greater humanity and immediately appeared to me in his complexity as a real person and somebody who paid particular attention to the material dimension of daily life. This is not unrelated to the simplicity with which the couple received its visitors. It was also obvious that he had come to put down some roots and was by then, in his own words, “more French than anything else.”[33]

André has made – even if incompletely – the journey from the rejection of his determination to the acceptance of this determination. “This is the price to pay to get somewhere. We must accept to be determined/actualised: to be here only and nowhere else, to do this and not anything else, now and not never or always; here only, this only, now only, to have this life only.” This is the conviction that concludes Le vieillissement,[34] a fragment published in Les Temps Modernes in December 1961 and January 1962, and reproduced as the epilogue to the reissue of Le Traitre in 2005 together with a short introductory paragraph which ends with this question: “Forty years later, the question which is explored with intransigence in this text remains: ‘How is it possible to enter this society without renouncing the potential and the desires that one carries?’ “[35]. He responded, if only in part, to this question by getting involved in and through writing. While as a very young man he chose to write under terror of identification,[36] all determination by others, by history, for the committed intellectual that he would become, happened through writing also. This is the point that I would like make in conclusion.

Ambivalence of writing and place of the intellectual

Initially a tool for the neutralization of life through writing/written narrative, Le Traitre ends with a determination to use writing as a tool of engagement with the world and with existence. Adopting a mere chronological perspective, however, would prevent us from perceiving the fundamental ambivalence of the written word[37] which has to do with both ownership and non-mastery.

Already, for the exiled student in a German-speaking boarding school in Switzerland who, not belonging to anything, had decided to ‘make himself French’, writing became a way to exist by imitating the style of French authors in order to capture “the substance” of their writing. Thus, he built up a dictionary with whole parts of sentences taken from each author he was reading so as to learn the language. Particularly keen on pursuing interior monologues, he was constantly working on language. [38] Later, his first published work played a crucial part he summed up in these words: “Its publication changed my situation. It gave me a place in the world, it gave some reality to what I thought, a reality that exceeded my intentions, which forced me to continuously redefine myself and move beyond myself so that I would become a prisoner neither of the representation that others had of me nor of a product which had become other than me in its objective reality. Magic of literature: it gave me access to existence through the very process of putting in writing my refusal to exist. This book [Le Traitre] was the product of my refusal, was this refusal, but because of its publication that refusal prevented me from persevering in this direction. This is precisely what I had hoped and that only publication could allow me to obtain: to be forced to commit myself further than I could on the basis of my own solitary will and to ask myself questions, to pursue ends that I had not defined on my own “.[39]

If the reclaiming of language through inventiveness turns it into a tool of dis-alienation and self-appropriation, it is clear that, paradoxically, also at play is a process of dis-appropriation in someone who writes to be published. In particular, it is about giving up on her/his desire to have said everything, to have the last word, or as André stated, to accept that others and historical conditions lend to the writer an intent which lies beyond her/his original intention: “We must want action to exceed its intention, for this is the price of its reality. We must want to be engaged by others more deeply than we thought or could be by ourselves.”[40] This is an excellent definition of aesthetic and political commitment realised through writing and a humble appreciation of the part played by the individual who chooses it.

“We write to bring order and meaning into the world – to recreate or (what amounts to the same thing) to destroy what is in our imagination and in so doing to bear what is not tolerable, including our own existence […] in order to recreate, through the medium of language, the world and yourself. Militancy does not come first. Intellectual militants are not militant intellectuals,” he would write to me. His personal experience had indeed convinced him that writers, and intellectuals in general, are ill-adapted, they are those “for whom the world remains questionable and is there to be continually reinvented.” Being on the side/out of step is something that the intellectual has in common with active minorities, he would explain to me, and this is where the seeds of another world are found.[41] Intellectuals, however, can only feed the discussion that will lead to political action if there is also a pressure of events, if there are people who are committed and politically active. [42]

Thanks to his experience of nullity and exile, André had naturally taken the side of the “little people”,[43] of the oppressed and the marginalized. “It is through those who have lost all places that we will be given a place,” he would write to me, paraphrasing Walter Benjamin, quoted by his friend Herbert Marcuse at the end of One-Dimensional Man. My humble origin has brought me to spontaneously choose the same camp. My encounter as a student with the wider conceptualisation of alienation developed by the Frankfurt School as well as with the assessment of wage-labour according to the norm of autonomy as proposed by André presented me from the outset with alternatives to Labour ideology and the myth of the working class.

Although he was proud to be free of some bias/faults displayed by those with an academic status, the question of his concrete place – on the outside – on the intellectual scene was nonetheless for André a source of discomfort, as I discovered with some surprise. Thus, this self-taught genius, who had fertilized the political and utopian imagination of many thinkers and activists in France and abroad, seemed, at times at least, to envy the thin legitimacy conferred by a PhD!: “Without legitimacy, it is difficult to be taken seriously.” He also knew the truth however: “Aren’t the true impostors those who have the authority to utter any stupidity by virtue of their title and notoriety?” and, most importantly, “The truth is that I am a DIY enthusiast, a maverick[44], […] to belong to, to integrate myself into a movement is the least of my worries. I am incapable of doing this.”

Not interested in founding his own school of thought, André was nonetheless disappointed with the reception given to his Immatériel in France and, in the last two years, had shared with me his feeling of having been forgotten. In truth, he leaves behind a handful[45] of former colleagues, friends and readers, admittedly scattered, but who know that his writings are among those too rare ones that we desperately need to keep us on the course of truly radical thinking, because they help us think beyond the common assumptions, prejudices and thought patterns of our time. It is my hope that these individuals will continue to draw upon his work as an essential source of nourishment and inspire new readers to discover it.

Françoise Gollain


[1] In English in the text. Extract from a letter addressed by André and which is part of a fairly regular correspondence that we pursued from December 1998 until a few days before his death.

[2] Original edition: 1964, Re-edition followed by the essay: Le Vieillissement, Folio essais, Gallimard, 2005. English translation: The traitor (1989)

[3] Subtitle : Histoire d’un amour, Galilée, 2006. English translation : Letter to D : A Love Letter (2009).

[4] Published by Galilée in 1977 only, Fondements pour une morale presents his philosophy that can be summed up as follows: ideally, each individual should be able to find fulfilment on the three planes of vital, aesthetic and practico-moral values.

[5] This quote is taken from the English edition: The Traitor, 1989, p. 36.

[6] Ibid., p.5.

[7] Very briefly: born in 1923 in Vienna in a petit-bourgeois and conformist milieu from a Jewish father and a catholic, dominant and demanding mother, Gérard Horst (André’s real name) experienced the rise of Nazism and the annexation of Austria by the Third Reich, followed by war, spent on his own in Switzerland. He emigrated to France in 1949 and experienced the precarious situation of those who only hold temporary residence permits until he was granted French nationality in 1954.

[8]  “A dialogue with André Gorz”, postface à: LODZIAK Conrad & TATMAN Jeremy, André Gorz. A Critical Introduction, Pluto Press, Londres et Chicago, 1997, p. 119.

[9] André Gorz. A Critical Introduction, op. cit., p. 17.

[10] Against Claude Levi-Strauss for instance who thought that ‘the task of philosophy is to abolish the Human, in other words, to abolish to contingency, the factuality of human existence’, « Autour de Lettre à D. avec André Gorz et D. » : interview by Béatrice Leca, broadcast on radio France Culture on 20 December 2006, and again on 26 September 2007.

[11] See in particular his last theoretical work: L’Immatériel, Galilée, 2003, Chapter IV: « … Ou vers une civilisation post-humaine », pp. 105-150. English translation: The Immaterial: Knowledge, Value and Capital (2010).

[12] See The German Ideology as well as the last works – Grundrisse and chapter 4 of the Capital, – in which Marx develops his theory of alienation.

[13] Le Traitre, op. cit., p. 50. I have modified the English translation.

[14] Ibid., p. 51.

[15] See my brief presentation: “André Gorz ou le refus de la domination du travail emploi”, Entropia, issue 2, Spring 2007, p. 63-79. English translation : André Gorz: wage labour, free time and ecological reconstruction (2016):

[16] André had explained to me that this closeness which may surprise the reader resulted from the fact that Touraine was one of the rare contemporary thinkers to acknowledge a debt towards Jean-Paul Sartre. On this aspect of his work see: GORZ André,  Misères du présent, richesse du possible, Galilée, 1997, Digression 2 : « Alain Touraine ou le sujet de la critique », p. 199-226; in English translation: Reclaiming Work. Beyond the Wage-Based Society (1999), Digression 2: Alain Touraine and the Subject of Criticism, p. 127-147.

[17] JANDER Martin & MAISCHEIN Rainer, The Traitor, Verso, 1989, Postface : “A Discussion with André Gorz on alienation, freedom, utopia and himself », p. 273. Interview conducted in German in 1983.

[18] Ibid., p. 274.

[19] Ibid., p. 306.

[20] These three short quotes are extracts from a homage written by Jean Zin which, amongst the ones published to this date, encapsulates the most accurately, in my opinion, both the person and the writer, and in particular his effort towards authenticity and his involvement in the history of his time: « André Gorz, la richesse du possible »,, published online on 8 October 2007, and in the journal Multitudes, issue 31, Winter 2007.

[21] Bowring Finn , André Gorz and the Sartrean Legacy, Macmillan, Basingstoke, 2000, p. 85.

[22] Le Traitre, op. cit., p. 215.

[23] Under the pseudonym of Kay and who then became ‘Dorine’ in France/French.

[24] From the interesting and moving text by his friend Michel Contat written after his interview with André for the release of Lettre à D. : « André Gorz, le philosophe et sa femme », Le Monde des livres, 27 October 2006.

[25]Lettre à D., op.cit., 2006, p. 19.

[26] Ibid.., p. 72.

[27] Ibid., p. 26.

[28] Furthermore, this is a pattern of exclusion of women from French academic circles which is definitely current, and which adds a feeling of gender exclusion to my own feeling of class exclusion. For instance, women are often only present as wives or partners of contributors to conferences and other seminars and they remain clearly in a minority as contributors.

[29] « Autour de Lettre à D. avec André Gorz et D. », op. cit.

[30] Lettre à D., op. cit., p. 53.

[31] Ibid., p. 25.

[32]These fragments are drawn from: « Philosophie en situations : André Gorz, philosophe d’avenir » : interview with François Noudelmann, broadcast on France Culture on 14 October 2005 and again on 28 September 2007.

[33] Ibid.

[34] This quote is the final sentence, p. 405.

[35] Le Traitre, op. cit., p. 375.

[36] As he was himself perfectly aware, the need to use pseudonyms primarily for professional reasons gave him at the same time the opportunity to multiply his fake identities to reject his own even more.

[37] This comment would probably apply to his oral expression. André was not a born speaker. His voice was also the scene of this process of dis-incarnation-incarnation : soft, low, muffled – nearly inaudible at the beginning of a conversation, after this initial period of ‘timidity’ it then conveyed an almost violent passion once he had ‘warmed up’ ..

[38] Details given in « Philosophie en situations : André Gorz, philosophe d’avenir » , op. cit.

[39] Lettre à D., op. cit., p. 47.

[40] Le Traitre, op. cit., p. 272.

[41] Already in Le Traitre, he had no doubt that the intellectual objectively stands on the side of ‘negativity’, of ‘revolutionary forces’.

[42] The quoted in this paragraph as well as in the following two paragraphs are taken from letters that André wrote to me.

[43] To quote the words of my great grand-mother, and in opposition to what she called the ‘big people’.

[44] In English in the text.

[45] Three years on, I fully accept what was point to me after publishing this text, i.e. that ‘handful’ is not appropriate because André’s notoriety has remained significant and possibly grown since his death.