Remembering François Maspero (1932-2015)


Shaping the Intellectual Terrain: On François Maspero | Salar Mohandesi

The 1950s-1970s are famil­iar to many as a time not only of intense polit­i­cal strug­gle, but of glob­al intel­lec­tu­al fer­ment – in France, anti-impe­ri­al­ism stirred the imag­i­na­tion of young rad­i­cals, Marx­ism was hot­ly debat­ed, and new styles of thought were elab­o­rat­ed. Less famil­iar, no doubt, are the high­ly mate­r­i­al – although now large­ly for­got­ten – net­works that col­lect­ed, edit­ed, refined, cir­cu­lat­ed, and pop­u­lar­ized those ideas. At the cen­ter of this dynam­ic nexus stood the often hid­den labor of François Maspero. Eas­i­ly one of the most impor­tant French edi­tors and pub­lish­ers of the 1950s, 60s, and 70s, he helped shape an entire intel­lec­tu­al ter­rain.

Publisher and Revolutionary (1969) | François Maspero

The most press­ing prob­lem for me is know­ing whether pub­lish­ing is a means of rev­o­lu­tion­ary activ­i­ty.

The Long Struggle of François Maspero  (1976) | François Maspero

This is what inter­ests me, more than ever, in the books that I pub­lish: not the emp­ty ges­ture of an iso­lat­ed indi­vid­ual, but the out­come of a long col­lec­tive process that opens onto anoth­er.

An Interview with Maspero: “A Few Misunderstandings” | François Maspero

I only crossed the authors’ paths, I was a lit­tle like a sponge absorb­ing some­thing and then let­ting it out again. As it hap­pened, I pro­vid­ed some for­mat for their work – but noth­ing more.

François Maspero: Publisher, (P)artisan | Julien Hage

Edi­tions Maspero pub­lished an impor­tant part of the rev­o­lu­tion­ary resur­gence, fol­low­ing a pro­duc­tive form of rev­o­lu­tion­ary plu­ral­ism that Maspero became very attached to, and which could also deter­mine the con­tent of the book­shop shelves. It served as a lab­o­ra­to­ry and a favored tri­bune for a far left in for­ma­tion dur­ing the 1960s and 1970s.

Authors of the article

is a member of the editorial collective of Viewpoint and a graduate student at UC Santa Cruz.

is a founding editor of Viewpoint and a postdoctoral fellow in History at Bowdoin College.