Remembering and Representing the Experience of War in Twentieth-Century France Committing to Memory

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This inter-disciplinary book draws together contributions by specialists in history, oral history and literature and focuses on the representation of the experience of war in 20th century France. It is concerned with aspects of cultural history and cultural memory as manifested in a variety of forms: public ceremonies, oral history and literary production. It examines the First and Second World Wars, the Occupation; collaboration and resistance.


“The book is a valuable contribution and also a touching one. . . . starts with the war events, but gradually and logically the debate is elevated to a psychological and then philosophical level. This book offers much to reflect upon and should be an asset in classes of history, sociology, psychology and philosophy. . . . all should be enriched by this deep and thoughtful book.” – Guy R. Mermier

Table of Contents

Table of contents:
Preface (Hilary Footitt)
Introduction (Debra Kelly)
Part 1: Public and Private Memories
1. The Unknown Soldiers (Annette Becker)
2. The Resistance Myth, the Pétainist Myth and Other Voices (Robert Gildea)
3. Caen Children and the Final Solution: public and private memory (Jill Surdee)
Part 2: War, Memory and the Experience of Writing
4. Representations of the Absurd: the legacy of the French combat novel of World War I (Martin Hurcombe)
5. Re-Writing the Rules: Louis-Ferdinand Céline’s Great War Metaphor (Leslie Davis)
6. Louis Aragon. The Representation of War: ideology and memory (Angela Kimyongür)
7. Remembering Gabriel Péri: religious cult as communist propaganda (Melanie Garrett)
8. Meurtres pour mémoire: remembering the Occupation in the detective fiction of Didier Daeninckx (Claire Gorrara)
Part 3: Memory and Survival/The Survival of Memory
9. Memory and Language: the example of Charlotte Delbo (Nicole Thatcher)
10. L’Ecriture ou la vie: the price of silence (Elise Noetinger)

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