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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 made during the Occupation were conspicuously devoid of such expressions. Although not all the essays of La Vie culturelle sous Vichy are equally stimulating, they do provide invaluable information on the cultural life of the period and will inspire further research on the topic. Given that the audience addressed is one already familiar with the Occupation, one might have hoped that the bibliography at the end would be more extensive. L e a h D. H e w it t Amherst College Margaret A tack. L it e r a t u r e a n d t h e F r e n c h Re s is t a n c e : C u l t u r a l P o l it ic s a n d N a r r a ­ t iv e F o r m s , 1940-1950. Manchester & New York: Manchester U P , 1989. Pp. vi + 250. In her introduction, Margaret Atack writes: “ In a war where the Royal Air Force drops thousands of leaflets of Eluard’s famous poem Liberté over Occupied France the place and function of literature at this time cannot be adequately explained as merely reflecting the event” (5). How, then, are we to assess the politically motivated fiction which Atack identi­ fies as a “ literature of persuasion” ? Atack’s appraisal of French resistance fiction marks a welcome addition to the growing field of Occupation studies in its turn from the heavily mythologized poetic production of the Resistance toward an analysis of the movement’s novels. Atack rejects simplistic notions regarding the transparency of “ war literature” by proposing a narrative interpretation of Resistance novels as “ dynamic readings of the social” (7). To this end, the author rightly extends her structural analysis of war novels be­ yond 1945 to incorporate texts dealing with the paradoxes of the immediate postwar years. The study consists of three parts: I. Literature of Persuasion; II. Novels of Unity; and III. Novels of Ambiguity. In Part One, we find a useful analysis of the ideological and dis­ cursive strategies at work in Les Lettres françaises and other clandestine publications, where key humanist terms such as France, Man, and Culture were recruited to the Resis­ tance cause. The subsequent discussion of the concept of “ témoignage” is vital to an under­ standing of Resistance literature, particularly since these works have been judged solely by their truth value, while denied true literary value of their own. Yet to pose the question in traditional terms is to miss the point, for, as Atack points out, “ these works are not reflect­ ing the struggle, they are deliberately and overtly part of it” (23). Resistance literature was, by its very nature, idealistic, exemplary, and oppositional. The “ novels of unity” discussed in Part Two share an “ oppositional” structure in which narrative resolution is achieved through a primary opposition between the Resistance and the enemy. Among the novels placed in this category are works of varying celebrity: from Vercours’s Le Silence de la mer to Edith Thomas’s Le Tilleul and F. T.P., André Chamson’s Le Puits des miracles, Claude M organ’s La Marque de l’homme, and Elsa Triolet’s Les Am ants d ’ Avignon. In Part Three, Atack turns to novels representing the post-Occupation period, and traces in them an undoing of the structures of unity identified earlier. In their fragmentation of the con­ stitutive figures of the “ enemy” and the “ individual,” these novels of ambiguity introduce a level of irony entirely missing from the novels o f unity. Among the works discussed here are: Jean-Louis Curtis’s Les Forêts de la nuit, Marcel Aymé’s Le Chemin des écoliers and Uranus, Drieu la Rochelle’s Les Chiens de paille, and Romain Gary’s L ’Education européenne. Atack’s work serves as a solid introduction to the reading of Resistance fic­ tion, and the bibliography will be of certain use to those seeking...

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Additional Information

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