Editor’s note: John Sturrock was an early commentator French theory and Foucault, cf his 1980 edited book Structuralism and Since. See this article in The Times – but needs a subscription.
John Sturrock, 1930–2017
ADRIAN TAHOURDIN, Times Literary Supplement, September 5 2017
Anyone who met John Sturrock could not but be struck by how English he seemed – both in temperament and in his way of speaking. And yet it was as an expert on modern French literature that he built a reputation as one of the most penetrating critics of recent times. He privately referred to the writers and theorists who, along with Jean-Paul Sartre, dominated the Parisian intellectual scene of the 1960s and 70s – Roland Barthes, Jacques Derrida, Jacques Lacan and Michel Foucault – as “four French frauds”, but this didn’t prevent him from writing illuminatingly and admiringly about their work. Claude Lévi-Strauss, meanwhile, twice accepted John’s invitation to write for the TLS and one of the “frauds”, Foucault, was also asked to contribute to the paper, but he was already terminally ill and replied that he would prefer to spend what time he had left dancing.