The French Writers' War, 1940-1953

Overview


The French Writers' War, 1940–1953, is a remarkably thorough account of French writers and literary institutions from the beginning of the German Occupation through France's passage of amnesty laws in the early 1950s. To understand how the Occupation affected French literary production as a whole, Gisèle Sapiro uses Pierre Bourdieu's notion of the "literary field." Sapiro surveyed the career trajectories and literary and political positions of 185 writers. She found that writers' stances in relation to the Vichy...
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The French Writers' War, 1940-1953

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Overview


The French Writers' War, 1940–1953, is a remarkably thorough account of French writers and literary institutions from the beginning of the German Occupation through France's passage of amnesty laws in the early 1950s. To understand how the Occupation affected French literary production as a whole, Gisèle Sapiro uses Pierre Bourdieu's notion of the "literary field." Sapiro surveyed the career trajectories and literary and political positions of 185 writers. She found that writers' stances in relation to the Vichy regime are best explained in terms of institutional and structural factors, rather than ideology. Examining four major French literary institutions, from the conservative French Academy to the Comité national des écrivains, a group formed in 1941 to resist the Occupation, she chronicles the institutions' histories before turning to the ways that they influenced writers' political positions. Sapiro shows how significant institutions and individuals within France's literary field exacerbated their loss of independence or found ways of resisting during the war and Occupation, as well as how they were perceived after Liberation.
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Editorial Reviews

Herman Lebovics

"Gisèle Sapiro has written a brilliant book about the most culturally contested period in twentieth century France. Many have asked why some writers worked with the Vichy authorities, while others resisted. The French Writers' War, 1940–1953, is a nuanced and deeply researched explanation grounded in the historical interactions between France's literary and political fields. Impressively and in depth, Sapiro explains individual writers' motivations and choices, as well as those of major literary groups."
Susan Rubin Suleiman

"There is no doubt that The French Writers' War, 1940–1953, is an important contribution to French historical and sociological scholarship, and that it fully deserved the accolades it received, not only in France but in Germany and elsewhere in Europe, when it first appeared, as well as among French historians in the United States. It is the fruit of exhaustive research and a highly original work."
From the Publisher

"Gisèle Sapiro has written a brilliant book about the most culturally contested period in twentieth century France. Many have asked why some writers worked with the Vichy authorities, while others resisted. The French Writers' War, 1940–1953, is a nuanced and deeply researched explanation grounded in the historical interactions between France's literary and political fields. Impressively and in depth, Sapiro explains individual writers' motivations and choices, as well as those of major literary groups."—Herman Lebovics, author of Imperialism and the Corruption of Democracies

"There is no doubt that The French Writers' War, 1940–1953, is an important contribution to French historical and sociological scholarship, and that it fully deserved the accolades it received, not only in France but in Germany and elsewhere in Europe, when it first appeared, as well as among French historians in the United States. It is the fruit of exhaustive research and a highly original work."—Susan Rubin Suleiman, author of Crises of Memory and the Second World War

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780822351917
  • Publisher: Duke University Press Books
  • Publication date: 5/6/2014
  • Pages: 672
  • Sales rank: 965,797
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Gisèle Sapiro is a sociologist in Paris, where she is Director of Research at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique.

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