François Maspero is best known as the owner of the radical Latin Quarter bookstore La joie de lire and the founder and editor of Éditions Maspero, but he was also a writer, a translator, and a journalist. Maspero published several novels and wrote for media outlets like Le Monde and France Culture. He wrote about his travels throughout Eastern Europe, Israel-Palestine, Algeria, and the Caribbean, and published literature reviews, obituaries, and even his testimony of the events of 17 October 1961. This article is the first comprehensive analysis of his work as a print journalist for Le Monde, notably as a travel writer. While Maspero critiqued journalism in both of his novel-travelogues, Les passagers du Roissy-Express (1990) and Balkans-Transit (1997), this article argues that his journalism was a breeding ground for his novel-writing and vice versa. The intersection between journalism, novel writing, and militancy also allowed him to create a multidirectional activism, which reanimated past militancy to understand contemporary political crises.
Aubrey Gabel is an assistant professor of French at Columbia University and a specialist in twentieth-and twenty-first-century French and Francophone literature, culture, and film. She is currently completing a book on ludic literature and politics in postwar France. Her works have appeared or are forthcoming in SITES, Studies in Twentieth- and Twenty-First-Century Literature, Comparative Literature, Theatre Journal, and Public Books.