The project of Liberation and the projection of national identity. Calvo, Aragon, Jouhandeau, 1944-1945
This dissertation focuses on the months of liberation of France, June 1944 to May 1945. It analyzes three under-studied works taken as samples of texts that touch upon the question of contested identities. The texts are chosen from the main divisions of the political spectrum, namely Gaullist, far right, and far left. Although the focus is on the texts themselves, I trace the arguments found in these works to the larger discourses in which they are inscribed. In particular, I address the questions of guilt and innocence, justice and vengeance, past and future in the given historical circumstances.
The first chapter examines Le droit romain nest plus by Louis Aragon. I focus on the discussion of justice, vengeance, and punishment as they emerge from the text, notions that are embedded in the broader polemics among the intellectuals of the Resistance. I discuss the importance of music in this story where it plays the role of a structuring device. Finally, I examine the associations that can be made between writing, music and nationalism in the larger context of national identity.
The second chapter deals with La Bete est morte! La guerre mondiale chez les animaux by Calvo. It is an allegory using animals as protagonists and is in comic book format. I discern three loci in the narration that work together in order to re-inscribe the national identity in the values of the republic, thereby providing its young readers with a grammar of good and evil, patriotism and treason, guilt and absolution.
The third chapter is a discussion of Journal sous lOccupation by Marcel Jouhandeau who flirted with Fascism in the 1930s and manifested his anti-Semitism in articles and a book. I read his Journal sous lOccupation as a public testimony in writing of his purge trial that never happened. I investigate the question of fear, the process of self-exoneration in his reasoning, the question of the journal as instrument of self-definition, and discuss personal and national identity.
The conclusion focuses on Guy Kohens Retour dAuschwitz and ties the different works and contemporary journalistic discourses together.
Advisor:Dr. Giuseppina Mecchia; Dr. Philip Watts; Dr. Alexander Orbach; Dr. Roberta Hatcher; Dr. Lina Insana
School:University of Pittsburgh
School Location:USA - Pennsylvania
Source Type:Master's Thesis
Date of Publication:06/05/2006