Emery_Giono - Journal of European Studies...

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Journal of European Studies DOI: 10.1177/0047244108094296 2008; 38; 277 Journal of European Studies Meaghan Emery occupation Jean Giono: The personal ethics of an author writing under the The online version of this article can be found at: Published by: can be found at: Journal of European Studies Additional services and information for Email Alerts: Subscriptions: Reprints: Permissions: Citations at University of Vermont on October 21, 2009 Downloaded from
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Journal of European Studies Jean Giono: The personal ethics of an author writing under the occupation MEAGHAN EMERY University of Vermont The recently published Journal de l’Occupation (1995), written by Jean Giono from September 1943 to September 1944, allows a privileged view of the French author who was subsequently blacklisted for collaboration. Contemporary critics generally consider Giono guilty of literary collaboration. In this article, I inquire into the legitimacy of these claims through a close reading of his occupation diary and other publications of the occupation period. In the end, I reject this commonly held notion in favour of the portrait that the diary provides: that of a disillusioned French author and French citizen, who is unwilling to take sides in the civil conflict beyond his local allegiances, and thus refuses to submit his vision to an overarching political project. Moreover, his total belief in an individual’s freedom of conscience makes him subversive in his refusal to submit to one doctrine or another. Keywords : intellectual resistance, literary collaboration, National Revolution, retour à la terre, Vichy The heady idealism of intellectuals often proves a pitfall in periods of intense political schism, making decisive political action a risky enterprise. Jean-Paul Sartre addressed this dilemma with poignancy in his 1948 play, Les Mains sales . Sartre’s existentialist philosophy on the ethical requirement of choice, underpinning his, albeit problematic, association with the Communist Party following the Second World Journal of European Studies 38(3): 277–310 Copyright © SAGE Publications (Los Angeles, London, New Delhi and Singapore) [200806] 0047-2441/10.1177/0047244108094296 at University of Vermont on October 21, 2009 Downloaded from
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278 JOURNAL OF EUROPEAN STUDIES 38(3) War, has nonetheless left its mark on post-war scholarship with regard to the moral responsibility of intellectuals. The situation of most French authors living through that war and the German occupation rendered the possibility of clear discernment practically nil, however.
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  • Summer '15
  • European Studies, Giono, German occupation of France during World War II, Jean Antoine Giono

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