The Hall of Uselessness

Collected Essays

By Simon Leys
(New York Review of Books, Paperback, 9781590176207, 572pp.)

Publication Date: July 30, 2013

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Description
An NYRB Classics Original
Simon Leys is a Renaissance man for the era of globalization. A distinguished scholar of classical Chinese art and literature and one of the first Westerners to recognize the appalling toll of Mao's Cultural Revolution, Leys also writes with unfailing intelligence, seriousness, and bite about European art, literature, history, and politics and is an unflinching observer of the way we live now.
"The Hall of Uselessness" is the most extensive collection of Leys's essays to be published to date. In it, he addresses subjects ranging from the Chinese attitude to the past to the mysteries of Belgium and Belgitude; offers portraits of AndrE Gide and Zhou Enlai; takes on Roland Barthes and Christopher Hitchens; broods on the Cambodian genocide; reflects on the spell of the sea; and writes with keen appreciation about writers as different as Victor Hugo, Evelyn Waugh, and Georges Simenon. Throughout, "The Hall of Uselessness" is marked with the deep knowledge, skeptical intelligence, and passionate conviction that have made Simon Leys one of the most powerful essayists of our time.



About the Author
Simon Leys is the pseudonym of Pierre Ryckmans, a noted scholar and astringent observer of Chinese culture and politics.
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