French Narratives of War and Occupation
This book is the winner of the Peter Lang Young Scholars Competition in French Studies 2011.
Introduction Setting the Scene
Over seventy years since the invasion, France is still preoccupied on both a political and a cultural level with the guilt and shame of the Nazi Occupation. The ethical ambiguities of this era and its aftermath continue to raise political, historical and juridical debates in the present day. This book examines the dif ferent expressions of shame in literary and filmic narratives of the war and Occupation produced since the end of the war and explores how over the intervening years these narrative manifesta- tions of the wartime shame of individuals constitute a collective legacy. By legacy, I mean a haunting trajectory over time within each generation and between generations. A legacy of shame recognizes the dif ferent ‘faces’ of collective shame and presents their disintegrated status in collective memory and history. The book demonstrates how shame is intimately connected to a wide range of long-standing and unresolved issues of the Occupation era. Shame has a dif ferent narrative economy from guilt. It is revealed through the stigmatized or degraded identities of narrative figures and groups; shifts in how war crimes and collaboration have been defined and viewed in the eyes of the law; and the resistance to both forgetting and remembering the events of the war in the postwar era. I will explore how the narrative figures of the abortionist and abortée, the tondue, the revenant, the collabo, perpetrator, résistant and child/young person express both individual and collective shame about the Occupation era. The book reappraises and...
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