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The Virus in the Age of Madness Kindle Edition
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From the Publisher
What is a virus? A thing in itself, an essence visiting the body, something one can separate and treat in isolation? Or a dysfunction in a collection of organs? What is a body? Is it made up of silence and confinement? Or is it a set of mucuses, coughs, fears, terrors, sweat-drenched nightmares and bodies attached to other bodies?
Bernard‐Henri Lévy is a philosopher, activist, filmmaker, and the author of over thirty books, including The Empire and the Five Kings: America’s Abdication and the Fate of the World (2019), The Genius of Judaism (2017), Public Enemies: Dueling Writers Take on Each Other and the World (2012), Left in Dark Times: A Stand Against the New Barbarism (2008), American Vertigo: Traveling America in the Footsteps of Tocqueville (2006), Who Killed Daniel Pearl? (2003), and Barbarism with a Human Face (1979).
Lévy writes for The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Sunday Times, The Atlantic, Foreign Policy, Vanity Fair, CNN, Tablet Magazine, The Algemeiner, Le Point, La Repubblica, El Espanol and other international outlets.
In 2016, his documentary, Peshmerga, premiered at the Cannes Film Festival. Filmed in 2015 along the thousand-kilometer front separating the Iraqi Kurds from the forces of the Islamic State, Peshmerga was the centerpiece of the New York Jewish Film Festival in January 2017. Lévy’s second documentary on Kurdistan explored the fight to reclaim the city of Mosul from the Islamic State. The Battle of Mosul premiered in Europe in March 2017. Earlier documentaries include The Oath of Tobruk (2012) and Bosna! (1994). The Quad Cinema in New York and the Nuart Theatre in Los Angeles presented a retrospective of his four war documentaries in January 2020.
Lévy’s international activism began in Bangladesh at the age of 20 and has not ceased to this day. At the heart of the matter is an obligation to the other, the dispossessed, and the forgotten, which he has sought to embody over decades of championing “lost causes,” from Bosnia to Africa’s forgotten wars, from Libya and Ukraine to the Kurdish Peshmerga’s fight against the Islamic State.
Lévy is co-founder of the antiracist group SOS Racisme and he has served on diplomatic missions for the French government.
He is widely regarded as one of the most influential public intellectuals in the West.
About the Author
“Bernard-Henri Lévy does nothing that goes unnoticed. He is an intellectual adventurer who brings publicity to unfashionable political causes.”—New York Times
“Only France could produce a phenomenon like Bernard-Henri Lévy, . . . As celebrated as any rock star, he speaks uncomfortable truths.”—Vanity Fair
“We need Mr. Lévy’s voice—clear, unconstructed, unconstrained, real—to help us.”—Wall Street Journal
“A writer of enormous power and vitality.”—San Francisco Chronicle
“Bernard-Henri Lévy, perhaps the most prominent intellectual in France today, [speaks] truth to power.”— Boston Globe
--This text refers to the paperback edition.
- File Size : 492 KB
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print Length : 68 pages
- Language: : English
- ASIN : B08C4SH9LQ
- Publication Date : July 28, 2020
- Lending : Not Enabled
- Publisher : Yale University Press (July 28, 2020)
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Enhanced Typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Best Sellers Rank: #145,000 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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When French Philosopher, Bernard-Henri Lévy masturbates, the lettered world can’t help watching. In his new book, The Virus in the Age of Madness, he demonstrates why we watch his self-indulgence with such fascination: he is an exhibitionist. If it were anyone else, I would describe the book as a rant. But of course philosophers don’t rant, they expound, they expatiate, they pontificate. It doesn’t matter that Lévy is frustrated that he has to stay at home, that nobody cares about his favorite causes, that pantomathic brilliance of his sort has been surpassed by medical expertise as the reigning god in the mind of the people. He isn’t just throwing a tantrum, he is treating us to insights. So he reacts as he does to almost everything else: he tells us what’s on his mind, coated with a layer of cynicism, wit and searing anger.
Voyeur that I am, I was unable to put the book down once I began reading. Egoist as I am, as a writer, I was continually struck by the thought, “why couldn’t I have said it the way he did?” His imagery, his ability to relate his arguments to ideas of the ages, his facility with language, even in translation, are awesome, as we have come to expect. And he has some true insights. For at least a moment, he took my mind off our local crisis and my own concern with my health to think about the wider world, which has suffered more than I ever will, was suffering that way before the virus, and will suffer doubly so, after the virus. He’d just returned from Bangladesh when the virus arrived, and he was fresh with observations and analysis of the plight of the people there, but when he published his thoughts in the Wall Street Journal and Paris Match, he was met with the response, “What are you doing in the Gulf of Bengal when you should be at home? Didn't urgency or decency demand that you shelter in place like the rest of us?" Never mind that his actual visit to Bangladesh predated the onset of the virus. He is justifiably angry. And he extends his anger to a condemnation of a self-centered Western world that cares only about itself and not a whit about a starving child in Bangladesh. And his net grows wider, as he condemns Euro-American self-centeredness, the virus, and everything else that robbed him of his due when he wrote his penetrating article. He has a point, perhaps not about the attention he should have gotten for his article, but about our tunnel vision once the virus came into view.
Lévy admits he’s angry, but it’s not so much that the world didn’t do the right thing, for he never lets us know what the right thing might be. It’s that it did too many wrong things. He castigates those who talk about the coming of the virus in terms befitting Armageddon, but belittles the “willfully ignorant and imbecilic cynicism of the American President” who minimizes its effects. There is no way to win in his book. Doctors, who, historically, have had privileged access in the halls of influence on kings, presidents, and potentates, are excoriated as the new false gods, who, out of their depth, advise politicians and the public on a society-wide response to the virus that only takes into account its medical and epidemiological aspects and ignores the economic and social consequences of their recommendations—recommendations which he admits following, because none of us really knows what to do.
There are brilliant observations lurking within and behind his vituperativeness. That the virus is mindless, not an intentional entity that has arrived in our midst to awaken us from our torpor regarding the climate, global inequality, wanton lasciviousness or any other human sin. That hunkering down inside one’s abode out of fear is not an exhilarating voyage into self-discovery, because humans are basically social, which is why solitary confinement is the ultimate imprisonment. That a dysfunctional, me-first America has left word leadership to the Chinese. But mostly, I was struck with and unable to forget his point that the world we left to become absorbed in the Coronavirus is still there, and we still have solved a miniscule number of its current problems, most of which are more painful to more people and potentially more disastrous for our race and our planet than the Coronavirus ever will be.
I still think The Virus in the Age of Madness is an egotistical, self-absorbed, exhibit of a philosophically-tinged tantrum, but I was thoroughly captivated by it, and, as a book to shake one out of his or her virus-induced ennui, it works wonderfully.
Top reviews from other countries
Near as I can tell, he thinks the world has gone mad worrying about a virus that maybe shortens the lives of the very old, or very sick, by a couple of weeks and does little or nothing to the rest of us, all the while behaving like all the stuff we were worrying about heretofore has just gone away and won't need to be dealt with once we come to our collective senses. I'd say he's smashed it if it weren't for the amount of space he uses in this already tiny book (little more than a pamphlet) making sure we all know he doesn't have anything good to say about that horrible Donald Trump fellow. Perhaps he though the "Madiba" people would turn on him if he didn't pro-actively distance himself from Orange Man. For his next outing, he might consider a pamphlet on THAT pathology. This one wasn't worth the read.