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L'Esprit Créateur l'ouvrage de Sylvie Ballestra-Puech la brillante et souple trame d'une constellation mythique profond ément enracinée dans le quotidien de l'individu comme dans la figure du cosmos. Évanghélia Stead Université de Reims William Cloonan. The Writing of War. French and German Fiction and World War II. Gainesville: UP of Florida, 1999. Pp. xi + 188. Cloth, $39.95. Along with the millions of innocent victims of World War II, a certain vision of humanity perished with the discovery of the Holocaust, the use of atomic warfare, and the pummeling of non-strategic, civilian targets. William Cloonan's The Writing of War begins with the premise that the old ways of telling stories, understanding human consciousness, and looking to the future no longer suffice to render the nature of this shattered world. Cloonan attempts to define the nature of what was irrevocably lost and surveys a variety of literary strategies developed in response to these traumas to see what new paths they offer us. In its aim to identify trends spanning several decades of both German and French postwar fiction , Cloonan's study tackles an extremely broad corpus. In addition to chapters on Claude Simon, Christa Wolf, L.-F. Céline, Gunter Grass, Michel Toumier, and Siegfried Lenz, The Writing of War contains three introductory chapters examining authors and movements as diverse as Samuel Beckett, Group 47 in Germany or Thomas Mann's Doctor Faustus. One can of course quibble over Cloonan's selections and exclusions, but one of the strengths of this study lies precisely in the breadth of styles, techniques, and ideological stances examined. In the juxtaposition of these different approaches, the quest for new forms and arguments stands out all the more sharply. Cloonan also tracks the repercussions of World War H's tragedies into a broader range of issues than is usually presented. At his most successful, he provides an elegant and thoughtful chapter situating Christa Wolf's Patterns of Childhood in the context of German women's war writing. On occasion, however, aspects of Cloonan's analysis cover ground previously treated elsewhere; Alastair Duncan's Claude Simon. Adventures in Words (Manchester: Manchester UP, 1994), for instance, discusses Georges and de Reixach in terms similar to those proposed by Cloonan's Chapter Four on Flanders Road. The most tendentious element of Cloonan's argument is also the most important. Cloonan poses as his thesis the claim that it is the legacy of the Enlightenment tradition that is the primary victim of World War II. Moreover, he is careful to stress (cf. 59-60) that he is speaking specifically of the eighteenth century and its investment in reason, as distinct from Renaissance humanism or the industrial age's positivist philosophy. The stakes are intriguing given that the Enlightenment tradition is one developed commonly by French and German minkers, even if the argument is a difficult one to demonstrate in an economic manner. One could argue, for instance, that the attack on the Enlightenment was already largely articulated with the shock of World War I: Dada and Surrealism reject much more than the bankrupt bourgeois social order, setting their sights on the very principles grounding language and reason. It is a question, though, of nuancing his arguments and not of rejecting them. The Writing of War is an eminently readable study whose breadth and directness will be profitable for students and scholars alike. Ralph Schoolcraft University of Oklahoma Véronique Gély-Ghedira. La Nostalgie du Moi. Echo dans la littérature européenne. Paris: PUF, 2000. Pp. 432. 168FF. En présentant dans son avant-propos le recueil poétique que l'humaniste hollandais Johan Van 98 Summer 2000 ...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1931-0234
Print ISSN
0014-0767
Pages
p. 98
Launched on MUSE
2010-06-24
Open Access
No
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