Alain Finkielkraut (b. Paris, 1949) is a French essayist, and only son of a Jewish Polish trader in fine leather goods who was deported in Auschwitz. Alain Finkieldraut studied philosophy. His ideas call mainly for Emmanuel Levinas and Hannah Arendt.
He started to write with Pascal Bruckner, some light and nonconformist essays produced in order to show the fallacies of a new emancipation : The New Love Disorder (1977) (Le Nouveau Désordre amoureux), At the corner of the street, the adventure (1979) (Au coin de la rue l'aventure). Next, breaking this collaboration, he started writing about our lack of memory and our lightness in front of events that should involve us. This reflexion brings him to deal with the issue of post-Holocaust Jewish identity (The imaginary Jew (1983)(le Juif imaginaire). Eager to defend the duty of memory, he published The Future of a negation : Reflexion on the genocide issue(1982) (Avenir d'une négation : réflexion sur la question du génocide) and later his comments on the Klaus Barbie trial, The vain Memory (La Mémoire vaine).
Borrowing some of his ideas from Emmanuel Levinas, he pays tribute to him in The Wisdom of Love (La Sagesse de l'Amour). Mordernity and its mirages is one of its subjects, The Defeat of The Mind (1987) (La Défaite de la Pensée), The Ingratitude: Talks about our times (1999) (Ingratitude: Conversation sur notre temps).
He gives his opinion on some recent subject, like The Internet in The Internet, the worrying ecstasy (2001) (Internet, l'inquiétante extase. In the book Imperfect of the Present (2002) (L'imparfait du présent) akin to a personal diary, he writes his thoughts about different events in the world (especially the events of September 11, 2001).
Committed, he supports the return to the value of The Republic, of school, of work, of culture and of human values only able to block barbarism and fanaticism. He teaches at the Ecole Polytechnique.