Didier Eribon is a French thinker whose works are discussed and debated at cafés — an intellectual historian who has often roiled the waters of the academic establishment. In this memoir — which is a big departure from his usual writing — he comes out as both gay and working class.
In this 6-minute video, prof. Richard M. Berrong reviews Eribon’s new book, which is called Returning to Reims — a reference to his upbringing in the city of Reims in northeastern France.
I am not certain that the style of criticism in this video is justified. I find it quite within the realm of meritorious authors to feel misgivings when tenatively describing and defending the working class. My impression is that Eribond’s homosexual writings may have been rendered to some degree of their taste and tastelessness by his placing his sexual material in working class settings. I can also understand a desire to leave the family of his parents and kin only to find that he is subject to the outcome of this choice and decision. Which for Eribond and others like myself may very well mean a homosexual identity that is hemmed over by working class struggles in very precarious and subdued unshrouding of the veil that covered our sexuality in a setting where social behavior does not reach the same agreement in relationships as does sexuality of any kind for the wealthy and middle class.