Simon Leys

Simon Leys (1935–2014) was 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 was a contributor to such publications as The New York Review of Books, Le Monde, and Le Figaro Littéraire, writing on literature and contemporary China. Among his books are Chinese Shadows, Other People’s Thoughts, and The Wreck of the Batavia & Prosper. In addition to The Death of Napoleon NYRB publishes The Hall of Uselessness, a collection of essays, and On the Abolition of All Political Parties, an essay by Simone Weil that Leys translated and edited. His many awards include the Prix Renaudot, the Prix Femina, the Prix Guizot, and the Christina Stead Prize for Fiction.

The Nobel Prize–winning writer Liu Xiaobo before his arrest, photographed by his wife, Liu Xia; from the exhibition ‘The Silent Strength of Liu Xia,’ which opened last fall at the Boulogne Museum outside Paris and will be on view at the Italian Academy for Advanced Studies at Columbia University February 9–March 1. Liu Xia’s photographs, which were smuggled out of China, show what she calls her ‘ugly babies’: mute dolls that, according to the curator Guy Sorman, represent ‘the Chinese people, and sometimes Liu Xia and her husband.’

He Told the Truth About China’s Tyranny

No Enemies, No Hatred: Selected Essays and Poems

by Liu Xiaobo, edited by Perry Link, Tienchi Martin-Liao, and Liu Xia, and with a foreword by Václav Havel

February 9, 2012 issue


Victor Hugo: A Biography

by Graham Robb

Shadows of a Hand: The Drawings of Victor Hugo

by Ann Philbin and Florian Rodari

December 17, 1998 issue


André Malraux: A Biography

by Curtis Cate

May 29, 1997 issue

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