French Narratives of War and Occupation
This book is the winner of the Peter Lang Young Scholars Competition in French Studies 2011.
Chapter 5 Shame and Resistance: Repression, Repeating, Remembering
Resistance In the concluding lines of Le syndrome de Vichy, Rousso suggests that the syndrome was the result of a need to unify the French nation. It is the result of a dichotomy that restored to health the ‘body’, the French people, at the price of the sickness of national memory.1 The postwar reconstruction of France required the repression of wartime divisions. The syndrome is the consequence of the resistance and re-emergence of these internal fractures. Rousso expresses the hope that the sickness is not hereditary or incurable. With a few exceptions examined so far, it appears to be both. If the cause of the syndrome is to be addressed the rift between the ‘body’, postwar national identity, and ‘memory’, collective cultural memory, needs to be mended. In Le hantise du passé, Rousso writes that memory is inscribed in the register of identity whereas history examines the past in light of the present to reveal the dif ference between the two and the changes that have taken place. Rousso also notes that memory is characterized by continuity, 1 ‘Après 1945, la « synthèse républicaine » chère à Stanley Hof fmann a retrouvé sa solidité, malgré tous les soubresauts et divisions de l’après-guerre. Autant les mani- festations du souvenir ont donné l’image d’un pays incapable de retrouver le fil de son histoire, autant la société a raf fermi progressivement ses aires de consensus. Le syndrome n’est-il que le prix de cette évolution? Si la mémoire a ét...
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