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Book Reviews le Maghreb. Les voix que nous entendons dans Fugues de Barbarie sont avant tout celles du Maghreb, bien que Breton fasse tout de même de nombreuses incursions dans le texte. Il est difficile de se passer de lui, même quand on cherche à le démystifier. Malgré son originalité, le volume (et les lecteurs!) aurait sans aucun doute bénéficié d'un travail editorial plus soigné. Certaines imprécisions de style, de format et d'organisation (souschapitres du chapitre trois par exemple), et des analyses à certains moments un peu rapides rendent la lecture quelque peu "hasardeuse". Mais le hasard est la mère de bien des découvertes. Ce n'est pas Breton qui contredirait l'auteur de Fugues de Barbarie. Martine Guyot-Bender Hamilton College Wolfgang G. Natter. Literature at War, 1914-1940: Representing the "Time of Greatness" in Germany . New Haven: Yale UP, 1999. Pp. 280. $35. German "war literature" of 1914-1918, according to Wolfgang Natter, was "almost exclusively a male genre" whose legitimacy was spatially defined. The conflation of "war" with the combat zone, and therefore with men, is a familiar premise. It has been contested by feminist critics who argue that the world war constituted a vast economy, and who reassess the concept of authenticity used to exclude women's writings from the canon. Thus convention long depicted the occupiers of a war zone as engaged in "combat," but excluded from consideration the occupied, the civilian inhabitants subjected to physical and economic violence. Natter presents the German case in a way suggestive for the evolution of German thought and literary developments in the twenties and thirties, and for our understanding of wartime literary production in general. It is the great merit of Natter's study that he brings together archival evidence about the military control of textual production and dissemination, along with unpublished publishers' records about the selection and censorship of writings about the war. By examining the collaboration of the state with publishing houses and the military in forging a unified national spirit, he shows that war literature is not the "unmediated expression of any given author's 'experience ' of the war." Rather, he underscores the institutional dimension of authorship. Despite claims to represent actual front experience through the voices of combatants (and dead heroes were even more marketable than live ones), the literature of the war in Germany, as elsewhere, was framed by the legacy of Homer, Greek pastoral elegy, the Bible, Shakespeare, Nietzsche, and long-forgotten writers. German war literature followed paradigms set before the war by second-rate writers such as Walter Bloem and Thea von Harbou, whose national BiIdungsroman aimed to create a unified state through images of comradeship at the front and of soldiers ' idealistic self-sacrifice for the larger whole. Tacit in this literature (explicit after 1918) was an anti-republican, anti-civilian ideology that opposed deeds to words and army to parliament, and that located the enemy not beyond the Rhine or Urals but at home. The military, publishing houses, academics, and leaders of the popular-instruction movement all agreed that they faced a Kulturkrieg: not only a war of German culture against a materialist (French) model of civilization, but a propaganda war to be waged through the Word. Thus the pseudonymous Cincinnatus proclaimed in 1916, "More than any other conflict hitherto, this is a war of words and with words, a war which is about the power of words." From the outset of the war, the state of siege permitted censorship of violence, despair, or any critique of strategy, as well as a "conscious strategy of deception" that perpetuated, e.g., the heroic myth of Langemarck (where soldiers were slaughtered by friendly fire). When Ludendorff and Hindenburg came to power in 1915, they instituted a proactive Vaterländische Unterricht (Patriotic Instruction) system on the home front and at the battle front. They set up military centers for the collection of news reports and distribution of communications, took control of soldiers ' newspapers, created libraries and bookstores at the front in collaboration with selected pubVol . XL, No. 2 103 L'Esprit Créateur lishers, and thoroughly censored all publication until October 15, 1918. A...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1931-0234
Print ISSN
0014-0767
Pages
pp. 103-104
Launched on MUSE
2010-06-24
Open Access
No
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