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This report is taken from PN Review 27, Volume 9 Number 1, September - October 1982.

Letter from Paris Stephen Romer
January 1982
There is a horrid new word abroad on the streets. We owe it to two enterprising gentlemen, Messieurs Hamon and Rotman, who are eager to persuade us that the proverbial sacred monster of the left bank has become less sacred and more monstrous. Therefore, it must go under another name-and who among us could meet it with impunity? I mean, the Intellocrate. It is a species not unrelated to the run-of-the-mill brilliant intellectual, but outshines him by far. At first sight, it seems that these intellocrates are in fact not people at all; rather, like some insidious agglomerate, they constitute a 'phenomenon'. However, we soon discover they do have different names-a great many as it happens. Indeed, Hamon and Rotman are the most conscientious name-droppers I've ever come across-nearly every page of their document is liberally sprinkled with them. It is perhaps not their fault that so many names seem entirely interchangeable. . . . But let me decode. The book in question, published before Christmas, is called Les Intellocrates, with the sub-title Expédition en haut intelligentsia. Seeing that, the more squeamish might well have left it on the shelf. But its authors well know, to their considerable profit, that the Parisian appetite for intellectual comedy cannot be sated. And with the recent publication of Les Intellocrates, La Rive Gauche and Chez Lipp-three books all treating of life and lives within the sixth arrondissement-there has been quite an orgy of self-regard. Alas! The flickering interest aroused by a ...


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