The Schmooze

Clara Malraux: A Feisty Writer to Remember

The French Jewish writer Clara Malraux (1897-1982) deserves to be remembered for her two ardent, sadly untranslated, books on Israel, “Kibbutz Civilization” (“Civilisation du kibboutz,” 1964), and “From the Four Corners of the Earth: Twelve Israeli Encounters” (“Venus des quatre coins de la terre: douze rencontres en Israël,” 1971).

Instead, as a stylish new biography by Dominique Bona, “Clara Malraux,” informs us, in posterity’s eyes Clara Malraux is merely seen as the first, ultimately rejected, wife of the author and French Culture Minister André Malraux. Bona, who has also published an elegant biography of the French Jewish novelist Romain Gary, underlines how Clara, born Goldschmidt, faced antisemitism in childhood, and became a Resistance heroine during the German Occupation. This in contrast to her pretentious liar of a husband, whose belated, yet much-praised, entry into the French Resistance is an example of the feet of clay which hamper a certain faded form of Gallic machismo.

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Clara Malraux: A Feisty Writer to Remember

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