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Through the Past Darkly

History and Memory in François Mauriac’s Bloc-notes

Nathan Bracher

Publication Year: 2012

This book, the first English-language study of Mauriac's Bloc-notes, presents these poignant, incisive editorials on social justice, war, and human rights in postwar France as both symptomatic of a culture imbued with the past and emblematic of a Christian humanist's ethical approach to history and memory.

Published by: The Catholic University of America Press

Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. vii

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pp. ix

I am grateful to Texas A & M University for the Faculty Development leave that allowed me to complete my research and draft the initial manuscript of this book, and for the generous grant awarded by the Program to Enhance Scholarly and Creative Activities...

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1. The Presence of the Past

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pp. 1-18

Coming from a Nobel Prize–winning novelist whose literary chronicles and political editorials had for more than twenty years left no one indifferent amid France’s raucous debate, such modest words sound disingenuous in a French...

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2. The Story of History

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pp. 19-66

One only has to read a few of Mauriac’s editorials to observe that history permeates his writing, informs his position on virtually all subjects, and constantly provides the essential frame of reference. The past is everywhere present in the...

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3. An Uncertain Idea of France

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pp. 67-93

The Bloc-notes emerged out of the relative obscurity of the rather exclusive literary readership of La Table Ronde and into the national limelight when Mauriac decided to join Jean-Jacques Servan-Schreiber and Françoise Giroud and the...

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4. The Lessons of History

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pp. 94-142

Winock’s pithy sketch admirably summarizes the astonishing role that Mauriac assumed as France’s premier editorialist of the 1950s: throughout the Bloc-notes we find Mauriac passionately engaged by history, that is, by the universal...

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5. In Search of Times Past

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pp. 143-202

It is now a commonplace to observe that throughout the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s, Mauriac’s intense activity in the French press largely eclipsed the literary production that had established his renown as a novelist depicting stark sexual...

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6. The Bloc-notes in History

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pp. 203-226

One would be hard-pressed to find a writer who took history more seriously than does François Mauriac in the Bloc-notes; as one of the first to identify the particular significance of new developments (as attested by his precocious commentaries...


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pp. 227-232


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pp. 233-236


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pp. 237-240

E-ISBN-13: 9780813215884
Print-ISBN-13: 9780813213804

Page Count: 253
Publication Year: 2012