José Guilherme Merquior

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José Guilherme Merquior
Born(1941-04-22)April 22, 1941
DiedJanuary 7, 1991(1991-01-07) (aged 49)
Rio de Janeiro
Alma mater Sorbonne University
London School of Economics
Era 20th-century philosophy
Region Western philosophy
School Liberalism
Social liberalism
Thesis Verso e Universo em Drummond (1972)
Doctoral advisor Raymond Cantel (Sorbonne)
Ernest Gellner (LSE)
Main interests
Literary criticism, history of ideas, aesthetics, politics, sociology, international relations, Political philosophy

José Guilherme Merquior (April 22, 1941 January 7, 1991) was a Brazilian diplomat, academic, writer, literary critic and philosopher.



He was a prolific writer, and member of the Academia Brasileira de Letras (the Brazilian Academy of Letters). He had a doctorate in sociology from the London School of Economics, which was directed by Ernest Gellner. Merquior also studied under Claude Lévi-Strauss (whose ideas Merquior would largely repudiate in From Prague to Paris), and took guidance from the likes of Raymond Aron, Harry Levin, and Arnaldo Momigliano. He published books written directly in French, English, Italian, and his native Portuguese.

Merquior divided his published works in two segments. In one the bulk was criticism per se; in the other the emphasis was the history of ideas, or more specific investigations like the highly esteemed study of Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Max Weber. Two of his books, Foucault (1985), an often scathing critique of Michel Foucault for the Fontana Modern Masters series, and Western Marxism (1986), were described as "minor classics" by scholar Gregory R. Johnson. [1]

Merquior was a major supporter of the Fernando Collor de Mello government and wrote many of Collor's public speeches. He died of cancer in January 1991, before Collor's downfall in 1992.


Published in Portuguese
Published in English
Published in French
Published in Spanish
In memoriam

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  1. Johnson, Gregory R. "Without Sense or Reference", review of Merquior's From Prague to Paris: A Critique of Structuralist and Post-Structuralist Thought.