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Narratives of Collaboration in Post-War France, 1944 – 1974

LAWRIE, RICHARD,MARSHALL,ALEXANDER (2013) Narratives of Collaboration in Post-War France, 1944 – 1974. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

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Arguing that literary narratives (whether fictional or autobiographical) can provide an important way in which the past is accessed and understood, this thesis uses such narratives to compare and contrast cultural representations of collaboration with the Gaullist political accounts described in Henry Rousso’s Le Syndrome de Vichy. Following the introduction, chapter one examines the perception and characteristics of collaboration, providing a broad analysis of collaboration and collaborators which frames later chapters. There follows a discussion of the generic boundaries between history, autobiography and fiction, showing that novels can contain many of the attributes conventionally ascribed to historical texts, as well as having a freedom of form which allows them to examine and relate subjects not allowed to historical accounts. Next, selected novels (by Marcel Aymé, Jean-Louis Bory, Marie Chaix, Céline, Jean-Louis Curtis, Jean Dutourd, Pascal Jardin, Patrick Modiano, Saint-Loup, and Michel Tournier) are analysed at length to examine how specific forms of collaboration have been understood, and how they subvert Rousso’s schema of repression or marginalisation of the phenomenon. Novels written in the immediate aftermath of the war actually gave a convincing representation of collaboration and the everyday wartime experience, contrasting with the ‘official’ story which sought to forget collaboration. Representations of intellectual and cultural collaboration show that, contrary to de Gaulle’s attempts to portray France as a nation of resisters, high-profile figures from these circles offered a more persuasive alternative to this view. This is also shown to be the case for depictions of military and paramilitary collaboration, which openly describe armed and violent collaboration, challenging and contrasting with the Gaullist representation of mass resistance supported by the civil population. Finally, familial memories are used to revaluate the mode rétro in light of earlier chapters. Although this phenomenon found innovative ways to view the war, it did not represent a wholly new, or more open, account, and was subject to its own repressions and distortions.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Modern Languages and Cultures, School of
Thesis Date:2013
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:11 Jul 2013 10:53

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