Kristeva and Volksgeist

I am quite fond of texts that make broad sweeping generalizations.

Last Sunday, I came across one such generalization in the Dutch translation of Kristeva’s Strangers to Ourselves (at the Sint-Jansvliet flea market in Antwerp).

“Nowhere is one more a foreigner than in France. Having neither the tolerance of Anglo-American Protestants, nor the absorbent ease of Latin Americans, nor the rejecting as well as assimilating curiosity of the Germans or Slavs, the French set a compact social texture and an unbeatable national pride against foreigners.”

The above generalization is one of national character, one of the hardest to make and the least respected, the category basically came into being with Hegel and Herder‘s Volksgeist and fell out of favor with Nazism.