Returning to Reims by Didier Eribon review – can you escape your upbringing?
Steven Poole, The Guardian, Fri 3 Aug 2018
This book is also a touching memoir of sexual awakening, and a gallery of philosophical ideas and characters, as Eribon explains with passion what inspired him as a teenager about the writings of Jean-Paul Sartre, and later those of Pierre Bourdieu and Michel Foucault. He is terrifically, amusingly rude, meanwhile, about the conservative philosopher Raymond Aron, whom he once met: “The very moment I set eyes on him, I loathed his ingratiating smile, his soothing voice … he was a soldier in the service of those in power helping them to maintain their power.”
Marina Benjamin, Didier Eribon’s Returning to Reims is a potent memoir about the cost of changing class, New Statesman, 8 August 2018
It has taken Eribon 35 years to emerge from the “class closet” and acknowledge that spring-vaulting himself out of poverty into the starry heights of French intellectual life might have entailed losses. Thirty-five years – over the course of which he fashioned himself into a successful journalist; professor of sociology; friend, confidant and acclaimed biographer of Michel Foucault; and protégé of Pierre Bourdieu, famed theorist of how bound we are to our habitus, that social niche to which multiple signifiers peg us. In 2008, Eribon was awarded Yale University’s prestigious Brudner Prize for his work on “intellectual history, on homosexuality, on minoritarian subjectivities”.