The experiences of defeat and occupation by Germany and liberation by the Allies wrought considerable gender damage upon France during the Second World War. In this essay, I examine appropriations of “Quand Madelon,” a popular World War I song that reemerged during the early weeks of France’s liberation, arguing that these appropriations offered one discursive resource by which patriots reasserted the manly strength of their nation. By reviving old archetypal notions of eroticized, subservient femininity and tough, virile masculinity, the tunes exerted discipline over “wayward” French women and eased gendered anxieties about the nation’s ability to reclaim its status as a sovereign nation. Courting widespread favor, even among French women, the songs made this gender discipline more palatable by pairing it with visions of a sexualized, civically engaged womanhood.


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pp. 385-419
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