A 'dolorist' position.

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What is a dolorist position?

Does Immigration mean 'France is Over'?
by Justin Smith,

This article mentioned A. Finkielkraut, who is worred about 'metissage' (mongrelization).


Letter by T. Vauban.

Alain Finkielkraut is a somewhat lonely figure in the French intellectual landscape which, by and large, as one commentator mentioned, is leaning to the left of the political spectrum and thus more likely to endorse an empathetic and dolorist, even masochistic, position towards immigration.

My guess might be, 'fond of pain.'

It's not in M-W unabridged. It's an uncommon word in Google search, but here is one example of the related noun, again French.

Gustave Flaubert, 1821-1857: - Page 148 - Google Books Result
Jean-Paul Sartre - 1989 - ‎Biography & Autobiography

As we shall see, this involves an exchange of positive for negative: Gustave [Flaubert], the dolorist, establishes his greatness (as if he were saying: stipped of everything, I haven't the means to be modest.

What is a dolorist?
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  • suzi br

    Senior Member
    English / England
    It is not an English word in any dictionary I can access, but looking at French dictionaries I'd guess it is a word created as a sort of 'false friend'. From the context I deduce it must mean someone a step back from a masochist, someone who likes a bit of pain or at least misery! You see we don't need such a word, we're not like that in the UK! :D


    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    Larousse French dictionary indicates it's someone who tends to exalt the moral value of pain; if it hurts it's doing you good?


    Senior Member
    It has surely something to do with a pain (see its Latin / Old French radix dolor - wiktionary.org and its Christian usage: Mater Dolorosa and Via Dolorosa - wikipedia.org) but I have never encountered it in this form.
    As to the meaning of the "dolorist," I've found the following:
    The term "dolorist" — which generally exalts the value of pain — first appeared in France in 1919 in a review about a book by Georges Duhamel, La Possession du Monde, published in the newspaper Le Temps, though in this instance the term had definite pejorative connotations.
    Julien Teppe's essays are foremost a reaction against the "tyranny of the fit" in which he underlines that pain is a means of self-discovery and a way to understand basic truth in relation to oneself: "I am suffering, therefore I am," said Teppe who saw in pain a type of catharsis, a means of purification from non-essentials, incidentals, and falsehoods: "Pain, of all the psychological states, is the one which takes over the entire being, both the flesh and the spirit, with the greatest urgency and force.
    Source : CADDEN, J. A. - WALLACE, L. E. 1998. Histoire de la Douleur (The History of Pain). Harvard University Press, 1998. 394 p. Available at : books.google.com
    Although not a common concern in modern science, the role of the French church in interpreting the social consequences of pain, such as the “virtues of pain,” is noted, as well as the Dolorist trend between the world wars, exalting the value of pain and pain as self-discovery.
    Source : nejm.org
    An example of a bit different usage:
    The phrase ‘the passion for literature’ carries two affects. It carries an affect of violence, a passion in the sense of Spinoza, that is a passive affect which reflects the violence that turns out to have been an unavoidable component of the century’s worldview, and as such threatens to find its way into literary texts which it will fill with the melancholy of oppressive finitude, lack of freedom and historical despair.
    Neither Deleuze nor Badiou have that dolorist, melancholy, post-Romantic attitude to literature which thrives on finitude and the absurd.
    Source : LECERLE, Jean-Jacques. 2010. Badiou and Deleuze Read Literature (Plateaus -- New Directions in Deleuze Studies). Edinburgh University Press, 2010. 229 p. Available at: m.friendfeed-media.com
    He must be a dolorist with a name like 'Finkielkraut'.


    Member Emeritus
    English - US
    I've searched multiple English-language dictionaries and glossaries, on and offline, including compilations of obscure words, and "dolorist" can't be found. Dolor, "pain" in Latin, is known to physicians as one of the four classic symptoms of inflammation, the others being calor, heat; rubor, redness; and tumor, swelling.

    The English word dolor also means mean grief or sadness; the adjective is dolorous.
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