Résistance Oblige?

Historiography, Memory, and the Evolution of Le Silence de la mer, 1942-2012

in French Politics, Culture & Society
Author: Brett Bowles
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Among the best-selling French literary works of the twentieth century, Vercors' novella has enjoyed an exceptionally rich afterlife thanks to numerous print editions as well as several influential stage and screen adaptations: Jean-Pierre Melville's 1947 feature film, Jean Mercure's 1949 play, Vercors' own 1978 theatrical rendering, and a 2004 television movie written by Anne Giafferi and directed by Pierre Boutron. Taking a comparative approach that weighs the aesthetic and ideological priorities of these authors and directors alongside shifts in historiography and French political culture, this article traces the evolution of Le Silence de la mer as a contested site of national memory and a means of negotiating the ethically-charged concepts of collaboration and resistance.

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