Simon Leys


Simon Leys is the pen name of Pierre Ryckmans, who was born in Belgium and settled in Australia in 1970. He taught Chinese literature at the Australian National University and was Professor of Chinese Studies at the University of Sydney from 1987 to 1993. Leys’s writing has appeared in The New York Review of Books, Le Monde, Le Figaro Littéraire, and other periodicals. Among his books are Chinese Shadows, The Death of Napoleon (forthcoming from NYRB Classics), Other People’s Thoughts, and The Wreck of the Batavia & Prosper. In 1996 he delivered the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s Boyer lectures. His many awards include the Prix Renaudot, the Prix Femina, the Prix Guizot, and the Christina Stead Prize for Fiction.

Books
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    On the Abolition of All Political Parties

    In this famous essay, now widely available for the first time in English translation, Weil challenges the foundation of the modern liberal political order and proposes that politics can only begin where the party spirit comes to an end. The volume also includes a portrait of Weil by the Nobel laureate Czeslaw Milosz and an essay about Weil’s friendship with Albert Camus by Simon Leys.

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    The Hall of Uselessness

    “Simon Leys is living proof of Benjamin Franklin’s dictum that a cultured individual should be a jack of all trades.” (Sydney Morning Herald). Here the eminent sinologist and frequent contributor to The New York Review of Books turns his attention to such subjects as the Cultural Revolution, Nabokov, Hitchens, Orwell, Simenon, Confucius, and the fate of the university.