Aragon, Breton and Ponge encouraged him early in his career; later, he visited Ponge at least weekly. Lacan, Althusser and Barthes were all friends (he said Lacan’s seminars were the best theatre he ever saw). Barthes, Ponge, Derrida and Kristeva were among contributers to the influential radical literary journal ‘Tel Quel’ that he founded; Kristeva, fresh from Bulgaria, came to question him, and never left (they married). He said that Barthes almost died in his arms. Mauriac had been a mentor, and got him discharged from military service after he feigned schizophrenia, supporting as he did the war for Algerian independence.