FRANCE: The Last Renaissance Figure

When asked why he had ceased writing novels, André Malraux liked to give a Delphic reply: "Narration today has been replaced by the image."

In Malraux's case, the image replaced more than narration: it replaced the man. Long before he died of lung congestion last week at the age of 75, the last Renaissance figure had become a legend and an exemplar of "I'homme engagé" (the committed man). With the possible exception of Lawrence of Arabia—whom he greatly admired—no other 20th century figure so theatrically fused the strands of scholarship and art, politics...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!