Andre Gide and the Second World War
A Novelist's Occupation
Publication Year: 2006
Published by: State University of New York Press
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Numerous individuals and organizations supported the completion of this project, and they all have my most sincere thanks. The inspiration for this book grew out of a National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Seminar on “War and Memory: Postwar Representations of World War II and the Occupation in France” held at Harvard University. ...
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ARGUABLY THE MOST influential French writer of the early twentieth century, André Gide is a paradigmatic figure whose World War II writings offer an exemplary reflection of the challenges facing a leading writer in a time of national collapse. Tracing Gide’s circuitous “intellectual itinerary” from the fall of France through the postwar purge, this book examines the ambiguous ...
ONE. From Munich to Montoire: National Crisis and the Man of Letters
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A SENSE OF FINALITY pervaded André Gide’s personal and professional life on the eve of the Second World War. The writer was nearing age seventy. His major literary works (with the exception of Thésée) were behind him, and he had sworn off political involvement following the publication of his 1936 Retour de l’U.R.S.S. and 1937 Retouches à mon retour de l’U.R.S.S. His wife ...
TWO. Accommodation and Reaction: The Wartime N.R.F.
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“THERE ARE THREE great powers in France: the bank, the Communist Party, and the Nouvelle Revue Française,” German Ambassador Otto Abetz is said to have declared upon arriving in Paris in 1940: “Let’s begin with the N.R.F.”1 The Nouvelle Revue Française, cofounded by André Gide in 1908, was extraordinarily influential: though primarily literary in nature, the internationally ...
THREE. Coded Messages: The “Interviews imaginaires”
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SIX MONTHS AFTER announcing his break with the N.R.F. in the pages of Le Figaro, Gide began writing a column entitled “Interviews imaginaires” for that mainstream newspaper’s literary supplement.1 Running from November 1941 through June 1942, this series of conversations between Gide and a fictitious interlocutor ostensibly deals only with linguistic and literary issues.2...
FOUR. Battles on the Home Front: Domestic Allegory in the Tunis Journal
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BY THE SPRING of 1942, food shortages and continued attacks in the press convinced Gide to leave the south of France for Tunisia. Tunis bookstore owner Marcel Tournier, whom Gide had befriended during his 1923 visit to North Africa, was instrumental in arranging the move. During a visit to Nice in March 1942, Tournier found the writer thin and anxious: “I no longer feel...
FIVE. Repositionings: Pages de Journal and Th
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THREE WEEKS AFTER the deliverance of Tunis, Gide left for Algiers, which had been liberated in November 1942. He would spend the remainder of the war there, except for brief trips to Morocco and the Sudan, finally returning to Paris in May 1945. A guest of the Heurgon family,1 Gide soon found himself at the heart of a literary and intellectual circle made up of the many...
SIX. Coming Home: The Purge and the Aftermath
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FOR A BRIEF TIME in 1944, André Gide’s return to the intellectual power circles of metropolitan France looked to be both imminent and triumphant. Plans were under way to fill the Académie Française—whose rather undistinguished wartime membership included many active or passive supporters of Vichy and Germany (Novick 129)—with first-rate writers not associated ...
EPILOGUE: What Happened to Andr
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“WHATEVER HAPPENED to André Gide?” The provocative query is Paul de Man’s, the title of a 1965 essay on the waning of Gide’s intellectual influence. Insofar as that essay affirms Gide’s fading rather than explaining it, I would argue that de Man has merely posed a rhetorical question of the type he so brilliantly dissected in “Semiology and Rhetoric.”1 My aim here is to exam-...
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Page Count: 267
Publication Year: 2006