Summer 1941 • Vol. III No. 3 NonfictionJuly 1, 1941 |

Death of a Thinker: A Note on the French Novel 1925-40

1. I Am Alone In August, 1925, in the village of Hillion on the North coast of Brittany, a man named Georges Palante shot himself in the head with a revolver. He had been professor of philosophy at the lycée of Saint-Brieuc, some twelve miles away, but he owned a shack at Hillion and his heart was there. Every year he managed to drag himself through the horror of commencement functions, he could look almost in peace on the functionaries themselves, because the next day, with his gun and his four dogs whom he loved--and his wife--he would be getting away from those swine. He had a reputation, somewhat mysterious, for intellectual brilliance and achievement, but this was not Paris and what people mostly thought of in his connection was his hurricane angers, the dogs, and the extraordinary size of his feet. They said he killed himself out of philosophical despair but that was not quite true. I lived in Hillion the year before Palante died and I try to remember him but I cannot.

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