Philippe Sollers is a French writer and critic. In 1960 he founded the avant garde journal Tel Quel (along with the writer and art critic Marcelin Pleynet), published by Seuil, which ran until 1982. In 1982 Sollers then created the journal L'Infini published by Denoel which was later published under the same title by Gallimard for whom Sollers also directs the series.
Sollers was at the heart of the intense period of intellectual unrest in the Paris of the 1960s and 1970s. Among others, he was a friend of Jacques Lacan, Louis Althusser and Roland Barthes. These three characters are described in his novel, Femmes (1983) alongside a number of other figures of the French intellectual movement before and after May 1968. From A Strange Solitude, The Park and Event, through "Logiques," Lois and Paradis, down to Watteau in Venice, Une vie divine and "La Guerre du goût," the writings of Sollers have often provided contestation, provocation and challenge.
A successful novelist in the French language, few of his works were ever translated into English. He is best known for his association with Tel Quel, (French: "as is"), published 1960 to 1983, which adopted a Maoist line and had close ties with the French Communist Party. When Maoism fell into disrepute, Sollers steered the journal into other alliances, including with the Nouveaux Philosophes, even turning to theology. Sollers life is emblematic of the fall of secular humanism after the failure of the "isms" to establish the utopian society of their dreams, and instead witnessing the dystopian societies that resulted from their attempts to enforce their materialist vision. In the end, the failure of secular utopias has led some to embrace cynicism, while others have returned to religion.