François Maspero, The Journalist

Multidirectional Activism

in French Politics, Culture & Society
Author:
Aubrey Gabel Columbia University, New York, USA

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Abstract

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.

Contributor Notes

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.

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