Andre Gide and the Second World War: A Novelist's Occupation by Jocelyn Van Tuyl

By Jocelyn Van Tuyl

The 1st whole examine of Gide’s missed wartime writings.

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While many critics denounced Gide by name, others condemned him implicitly with references to “immoralism” or through more or less accurate quotations and paraphrases of his work. ” The centerpiece of Gillouin’s condemnation comes from Un Malfaiteur: André Gide, a 1931 pamphlet in which Étienne Privaz excoriates Gide, labeling him the most obscene, noxious, and subversive writer of his time (10). 87 Whereas Gillouin suggests that Gide’s personal influence was to blame for the anonymous young man’s death, Privaz quotes the grieving father’s assertion that the “pestilential influence of his obscene books”88 obsessed his son and pushed him to suicide.

How to make these words fit those noble words he pronounced three days ago? How can one fail to approve Churchill? 56 Is it not enough for France to be conquered? Must she also be dishonored? (J 4: 24)57 In later years, Gide would point to this early expression of support for de Gaulle as proof of his long-standing resistance allegiances. What he concealed throughout his lifetime was the retraction, two days later, of the Journal’s denunciation of Pétain. In a speech delivered on 25 June, the head of the État Français implicitly criticized both de Gaulle’s decision to leave French soil and his call to rally in England and fight from the empire.

Some, like Jean Schlumberger, maintained steadfastly pacifist positions, while others, like Gide, considered “rapprochement with Hitler [. F. decried book-burnings in Nazi Germany and solicited a prescient 1934 essay in which Leon Trotsky warned that “a new European catastrophe”2 would occur as soon as Germany’s rearmament was complete (Cornick 118–20). Yet it also published the pro-fascist writings of Pierre Drieu La Rochelle, a young Frenchman impressed by his contacts with Nazi youth in Berlin and Nuremburg.

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