The Final Solution of the Philological Problemrnby E. Christian KopfFrn’With him the love of country meansrnBlowing it all to smithereensrnAnd having it all made over new.”rn—Robert FrostrnPaul de Man’s life was “the classic immigrantrnstory” (according to JamesrnAtlas). He arrived in New York in 1948rnfrom his native Belgium and worked as arnclerk at the Doubleday bookstore inrnGrand Central Station, He met MaryrnMcCarthy, who helped him to a jobrnteaching French at Bard College. He fellrnin love with one of his students, and theyrngot married. By 1955 he was a memberrnof the prestigious Societ}- of Fellows ofrnHan’ard University. He ended his careerrnas Sterling Professor of Humanities atrnYale. At the time of his death in 1983 hernwas considered one of the most influentialrnof the Yale “Hermeneutieal Mafia,”rnwhich had made “Deeonstruction” andrn”Literar}’ Theory” terms to conjure with.rnhi 1987 a yoimg Belgian named Ortwinrnde Graef uncovered in Belgian newspapersrnDe Man’s wartime journalism,rnwritten under the Nazi occupation.rnJaec[ues Derrida brought the news to thernUnited States. The University’of Nebra.skarnPress agreed to publish the many articlesrnin PYeneh and Flemish (tiie latterrnwith Fnglish translations) that De Manrnhad published from 1939 to 1943, andrnthe editors asked a number of literar)’ criticsrnand scholars to comment on the publications.rnPaul Adolph Michel de Man was bornrnin 1919 in Antwerp, the son of Robert dernMan, die prosperous head of I’Fstablissementrnde Man, which manufacturedrnE. Christian Kopff teaches Greek andrnLatin at the Vniversit)’ of Colorado inrnBoulder. A longer version of this articlernfirst appeared in the September 1990rnissue.rnmedical instrmnents and X-ray equipment.rnYoung Paid de Man was a studentrnof chemistry at the University of Brussels.rnHis uncle, Hendrik de Man, was thernhead of the Belgian Workers Party and anrnimportant socialist. When Germanyrnconquered Belgium in 1940, he dissolvedrndie party and joined the collaborationistrngovernment. “For the workingrnclasses and for socialism, this collapse of arndecrepit world, far from being a disaster,rnis a deliverance,” he proclaimed. Byrn1941 he had changed his mind, left therngovernment, and fled to Switzerland. Afterrnthe war he was convicted of collaborationrnand died in exile.rnHis nephew. Paid, wrote many articlesrnfor Le Soir, Belgium’s most popularrnnewspaper, which was controlled by thernNazis after their victory. He wrote inrnFrench and Flemish for other papers andrnjournals. Most of his articles were on thernarts, especially contemporary literature,rnllie young Paul was a Flemish nationalistrnwho argued that Germany’s victoryrnwas essential to freeing the German elementrnin Belgian societ}’ from French influence.rnHe reviewed seriously modernistrnand philo-Fascist writers. He wroternan article on “Jews in Contemporary Literature”rn. . . for an anti-Jewish issue of LernSoir. Wlien the Allies started to win, hernreestablished contact with anti-Nazi Belgians.rnAlthough investigated by the victorsrnin 1945, he was not convicted of warrncrimes, unlike others who had worked forrnLe Soir. He started a publishing housernwith his father’s money, and when it beganrnto fail, he emigrated to the UnitedrnStates.rnHe left behind more than an aging andrnbroken father. In 1939 he had metrnAnaide Baraghian, the Rumanian wife ofrnfellow student Gilbert Jaeger. Anaidernand Paul fled together to the Pyrenees beforernthe German invasion and later returnedrnto Belgium to live together. Theyrnhad three children from 1941 to 1946.rnBy 1948 De Man had moved to NewrnYork, while Anaide went to South Americarnwith their three sons. In 1949 DernMan procured a position as instructor ofrnFrench at Bard College, where he soonrn”fell in love with” a young student. It isrnnot clear from my research whether hernwas divorced from Anaide when he marriedrnPatricia Kelley, but this marriage wasrnessential if he were to obtain permanentrnresident statiis in the United States. In orderrnto change his status, however, DernMan had to exit the United States and return.rnWlien he applied for a new Belgianrnpassport, word of his past reached Americarnand Harvard.rnYears later his friends at Yale insistedrnthat they had had no idea about his past.rnIf they had said that they had heard rumors,rnbut had dismissed them as idle gos-rn26/CHRONICLESrnrnrn