Les Lettres Françaises and the Failure of the French Postwar ‘Renaissance’
It is a feature of the Occupation of France and the Resistance movements which it subsequently engendered that so much of the conflict was carried out in cultural and literary terms. With the French lacking, until the very end of the Occupation, very much in terms of concrete political or military power, the realm of ideas and expression achieved an almost disproportionate importance. For the German occupying forces, it was essential, as Pascal Ory demonstrates in Les Collaborateurs, to immediately convey to the French a sense of continuity and normality, and one key feature of this operation was the importance accorded to writers, journalists, dramatists, artists and film-makers as the guarantors of a certain continuity in French culture.1 Hence the vital significance for the Germans in maintaining established publishing-houses and prestigious reviews, such as the Nouvelle Revue Française, albeit in its guise of Drieu la Rochelle’s Nouvelle Nouvelle Revue Française, and of fostering overtly collaborationist literary and intellectual journals such as Je suis partout and La Gerbe.
KeywordsCommunist Party Postwar Period Resistance Movement American Cinema French Culture
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