An astute literary and cultural history of World War I in France that offers a fresh perspective on the popular culture of the Great War The First World War soldier has often been depicted as a helpless victim sacrificed by a ruthless society in the trenches of the Western Front. In fact, Libby Murphy reveals, French soldiers drew upon a long-standing European tradition to imagine themselves not as heroes or victims but as survivors. Murphy investigates how infantrymen and civilians attempted to make sense of the war while it was still in progress by reviving the picaresque, a literary mode in which unheroic protagonists are forced to fend for themselves in a chaotic and hostile world. By examining works by French and European novelists, journalists, graphic artists, cultural critics, and filmmakers—including Charlie Chaplin—Libby Murphy shows how the rich tradition of the European picaresque was uniquely appropriate for expressing anxieties provoked by modern, industrialized warfare.
|Publisher:||Yale University Press|
|Product dimensions:||6.40(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.10(d)|
About the Author
Libby Murphy is associate professor of French at Oberlin College. Her research centers on French literature and culture of the First World War, the history of French journalism and popular culture, and theories of the novel. She lives in Oberlin, OH.
Table of Contents
List of Illustrations ix
1 A Literary War: Irony, Tragedy, and the Return of the Picaresque 17
2 Tactics of the Foot Soldier: The Arts and Antics of Le Système D 43
3 Georges de la Fouchardière: Oppositional Journalism, Involuntary Heroism, and Bourrage de cráne 64
4 The Comedy of Independence: The "Man on the Street" Goes Off to War 91
5 Animal Instincts: Lessons from a Trench Rat 113
6 Phlegm Meets Flair: Images of the Infantryman in Wartime Britain and France 137
7 Le Cafard: Brutalization, Alienation, and Despair 163
8 Charlie Chaplin's Little Tramp: From the Art of Survival to the Survival of Art 198