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Bérénice 1934-44

An Actress in Occupied Paris

Isabelle Stibbe

The winner of nine literary awards in France, including the Prix Simone Veil, celebrating a woman of action, Bérénice 1934–44: An Actress in Occupied Paris is Isabelle Stibbe’s poignant debut novel. Now translated into English by Zack Rogow and Renée Morel, Bérénice 1934–44 reveals a young woman’s struggle to fulfill her career aspirations while concealing herself in war-torn France.

Bérénice yearns to become an actress, but her parents insist that career is not proper for a girl. She defies her Jewish family to become the leading younger actress in the Comédie-Française, France’s most renowned theater, right when the Nazis occupy France. Bérénice hides her true identity and last name to avoid detection. Living in a world without tolerance and torn between two lovers, Bérénice must choose between her passion for the stage, and her allegiance to freedom and to her Jewish heritage.


Critical Praise for the Original French Edition:

"This is an amazing first novel.”—Le Nouvel Observateur

“Isabelle Stibbe blends real history and fictitious characters in this well-researched first novel, with an impeccable classic style.”—Le Monde

“Her novel doesn’t just document a slice of French cultural life under the Occupation—it also communicates the passion and fervor of its author.”—Livres Hebdo

“Bérénice 1934-44 is Isabelle Stibbe’s first novel, but it feels to the reader like the work of a seasoned writer, particularly in her masterful blending of fiction and historical fact.”—Le Figaro

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Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Names: Stibbe, Isabelle, author. Rogow, Zack, translator. | Morel, Renée, translator. Title: Bérénice 1934–44: an actress in occupied Paris / by Isabelle Stibbe; translated by Zack Rogow and Renée Morel. Other titles: Bérénice 34–44 Description: New York: Peter Lang, 2019. Identifiers: LCCN 2019002664 | ISBN 978-1-4331-6705-8 (paperback: alk. paper) ISBN 978-1-4331-6707-2 (ebook pdf) ISBN 978-1-4331-6708-9 (epub) | ISBN 978-1-4331-6709-6 (mobi) Subjects: LCSH: Comédie-Française—Fiction. France—History—German occupation, 1940–1945—Fiction. Classification: LCC PQ2719.T53 B4713 2019 | DDC 843/.92—dc23 LC record available at DOI 10.3726/b15850

Bibliographic information published by Die Deutsche Nationalbibliothek. Die Deutsche Nationalbibliothek lists this publication in the “Deutsche Nationalbibliografie”; detailed bibliographic data are available on the Internet at

Original title: Bérénice 34–44 © Serge Safran Editeur, 2012 Published by arrangement with Agence littéraire Astier-Pécher ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

© 2019 Zack Rogow and Renée Morel

Peter Lang Publishing, Inc., New York 29 Broadway, 18th floor, New York, NY 10006

All rights reserved. Reprint or reproduction, even partially, in all forms such as microfilm, xerography, microfiche, microcard, and offset strictly prohibited.

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