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Representations of War in Films and Novels

Richard Mason and Jarosław Suchoples

This book discusses different aspects of the cinematic and literary representation of war. The papers in this volume consider the roles of war films and war novels in remaking historical memories, the influence of films and novels as social media and debate their roles as instruments of propaganda and mystification. The book is organized along chronological and geographical lines, looking first at the First and Second World Wars in Europe; then the Pacific War; the Vietnam War; and espionage and propaganda in the Cold War and Post-Cold War.
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Barbusse and His Fire: The Last Card of French War Propaganda

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Abstract

In a new interpretation of the novel Under Fire by Henri Barbusse in its historical and biographical context, the author attempts to demonstrate that this novel is not, as has been traditionally asserted, a pacifist work, but must be considered as an outright propaganda brochure designed to sustain the crumbling French front. For this thesis the author produces additional documentary evidence from Barbusse’s private correspondence in the Bibliothèque Nationale of Paris and other related biographical sources. A succinct comparison of Under Fire with the diary-novel Sous Verdun and its continuation Nuits de guerre by another French war veteran and writer, Maurice Genevoix, helps understand more clearly the specific propagandist character of Barbusse’s novel. This unmasking of the alleged pacifist Barbusse as a resolute representative of French war propaganda had already been published in France and in Germany and was accepted by the expert of Romance literature Olaf Müller. It was passed over in silence, however, by the specialists of French war literature like Nicolas Beaupré and Almut Lindner-Wirsching.

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