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B o o k R ev iew s Nevertheless, this collection deals with a wide range of authors and topics, and it offers a reasonable overview of the conflicting esthetic and ideological currents of the period. Va n Ke l l y University o f Kansas Jean-Pierre Rioux, ed. L a V ie c u l t u r e l l e so u s V ic h y . Brussels: Editions Complexe, 1990. Pp. 412. This collection of sixteen essays, the culmination of a 1987 round table discussion at the Institut d’Histoire du Temps présent, explores cultural life in Vichy France, 1940-45. It gives special attention to the breaks and continuities between the Vichy regime and the Popular Front. Divided into three parts, the book opens with essays by H. Rousso and J.-P. Rioux that map out the issues in terms of a cultural politics of the State and of actual cultural practices of the population. W hat were the “ National Revolution’s” conception of culture and its attempts to implement it? How did the arts—painting, theater, film, radio —manage to retain their autonomy despite Vichy’s efforts? Why did the public flock to the theater, movies and art exhibits during the difficult years of penury, oppression and deprivation? Rioux’s essay points to three basic directions in the book’s understanding of French culture under Vichy: (1) a broadening of French curiosity and a mass consumer culture; (2) the decentralization (promoted by Vichy) o f cultural activities; (3) the affirma­ tion of new or renewed cultural practices (radio, film, theater, sports, fashion...) to be enjoyed by all rather than by an elite. La Vie culturelle sous Vichy repeatedly brings out the paradoxical benefits of the Vichy legacy—the way resourceful groups used Pétainist tradi­ tionalist ideology to open cultural activities to a wider French public—while simultaneous­ ly underscoring the repressive, abhorrent policies of the regime. The collection’s second section includes essays on Vichy’s censorship of the media (D. Peschanski); the development of enduring sports programs under Vichy (J.-L. GayLescot ); the broadening of the library network in France from the Bibliothèque Nationale to the war prisoners’ camps (N. Richter); the survival of modernist explorations in art alongside an “ art maréchal” (L. B. Dorléac); the creation of youth associations to foster a renewal of French culture—“ Jeune France” to promote young artists (V. Chabrol) and the “ Ecole d’Uriage” to form France’s future leaders (B. Comte); the Nazi influence on the theaters of Strasbourg (I. Bogen). P. Ory’s concluding essay on cultural politics makes the bold and convincing case that the lasting traces of Vichy’s “ popularisation culturelle” (par­ ticularly in education, sports programs and youth concerns) are a direct continuation of the Popular Front’s efforts. He also argues that Vichy’s traditionalist ideology inadvertently promoted modernist activities by stressing decentralization. In the third section, the essays consider the historian’s profession under Vichy (O. Dumoulin); the development of radiophonie art (H. Eck); French film’s curious golden age during the Occupation (F. Garçon); the success of theater in occupied Paris (S. Added); fashion under Vichy (D. Veillon); Marseilles, the artists’ and writers’ refuge (J.-M. Guiraud). Although these essays often bemoan the insufficiency of data available to the researcher, they nevertheless reach several interesting conclusions. Dumoulin demonstrates, for example, that the vast majority of professional historians during the war avoided using their profession either as a tool for resistance or for collaboration. F. Garçon effectively deconstructs the nostalgia for the supposed golden age of French film by showing that the French film industry’s success was in part due to the total elimination of any competition from Hollywood and Great Britain. He also points out that the plethora of film jobs during the war was a direct result of laws prohibiting Jews and foreigners from working. On the VOL. XXXIII, NO. 1 121 L ’E s pr it C réa te u r other hand, Garçon notes that, contrary to the French productions of the thirties in which anti-semitic caricatures and anglophobia were frequent, the French films...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1931-0234
Print ISSN
0014-0767
Pages
pp. 121-122
Launched on MUSE
2017-07-05
Open Access
No
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