The Communist Temptation: Rolland, Gide, Malraux, and Their Times


Conner, Tom, Ph.D.


Tom Conner is Professor of Modern Language and Literatures at St. Norbert College, in De Pere, Wisconsin. He received his Ph.D. at Yale University and also studied at the Université Paul Valéry in Montpellier, and at the Sorbonne and École Normale Supérieure in Paris. He has taught French at St. Norbert College for the past 5 years, as well as at Miami University of Ohio, Yale, Nihon University in Japan, the University of the Philippines-Diliman, and at the Johns Hopkins University Center for International studies at Nanjing University, in China. He has published five previous books, including The Dreyfus Affair and the Emergence of the French Intellectual, 1898-1914. He and his wife Ikuko live in Green Bay, Wisconsin and Tokyo.

The Communist Temptation: Rolland, Gide, Malraux, and Their Times traces the evolution of the committed left-wing public intellectual in the interwar period, specifically in the 1930s, and focuses on leading left-wing intellectuals, such as Romain Rolland, André Gide, and André Malraux, and their relationships with communism and the broader anti-fascist movement. In that turbulent decade, Paris also welcomed a growing number of Russian, Austrian, Italian, Dutch, Belgian, German, and German-speaking Central European refugees—activists, writers, and agents, among them Willi Münzenberg, Mikhail Koltsov, Eugen Fried, Ilya Ehrenburg, Manès Sperber, and Arthur Koestler—and Paris once again became a hotbed of international political activism. Events, however, signaled a decline in the high ethical standards set by Émile Zola and the Dreyfusards earlier in the twentieth century, as many pro-communist intellectuals acted in bad faith to support an ideology that they in all likelihood knew to be morally bankrupt. Among them, only Gide rebelled against Moscow, which caused ideological lines to harden to the point where there was little room for critical reason to assert itself.

History, Philosophy, Social Science, Sociology, France, European History, Intellectual History, Public Intellectuals, Twentieth-Century Europe, Communism, Anti-Fascism, Romain Rolland, André Gide, André Malraux
Release Date: 
July 15, 2022
9781680536881 Hardcover
Trim Size: 

1727 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Suite 507
Washington, DC 20036