By definition, a committed writer is a well-known one who puts the respect and admiration his name has accrued in the service of a cause. But is it really that simple? Is political commitment only a matter of principles? Isnt it also driven by a quest for celebrity? Described here are the stratagems adopted by some of the greatest figures in the French literary pantheon of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, as they faltered between a quest for purity and the desire for personal glory. Herbert Lottman is a renowned biographer.