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The 'Anti-Existentialist Offensive': The French Communist Party against Sartre (1944-1948)

David Drake

This article considers Sartre's relations with the French Communist Party (PCF) in the years immediately following the Liberation when the PCF considered that, of all the prominent French intellectuals, it was Sartre who posed the greatest threat. This article opens by situating the PCF within the French political landscape immediately after the Liberation and addressing its attitudes towards intellectuals. It then examines the main themes of the attacks launched by the PCF, between 1944 and the staging of Les Mains sales (Dirty Hands) in 1948, on both Sartre and existentialism and the reasons for these attacks. It concludes by noting the differences between the PCF and Sartre on three specific political issues during this period.

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Political and Narrative Ambiguities in La Bataille du Rail

Silvie Lindeperg

Unanimously celebrated as an authentic representation of French railroad workers' resistance against the Germans during the Occupation, René Clément's La Bataille du rail (The Battle of the Rails, 1945) was a valuable piece of ideological capital in the wake of France's liberation. Through a close reading of the film's production and reception, this article shows that the film's heroic blueprinting of the Resistance was the result of mediation between two opposing points of view: that of the Marxist Left, which sought to portray the Resistance as belonging to the working class, and that of the Gaullists, who were intent on promoting the myth of an idealized "True France" without class or ideological divisions and united in its opposition to the Germans.

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Aimé Césaire's Break from the Parti communiste français

Nouveaux élans, nouveaux défis

Thomas A. Hale and Kora Véron

Aimé Césaire's dramatic break from the French Communist Party in 1956 raises questions not only about the reasons for his resignation, but more importantly, about how he overcame the negative consequences of the rupture to give a new impetus to his career as the principal political leader in Martinique. A close examination of his writings from 1945 to 1959, based especially on his lesser-known declarations, essays, interviews, and speeches, as well as on his more widely-disseminated poetry and history, reveals a more nuanced explanation for the rupture. Above all, these texts offer new insights into how he was able to recover his political momentum by building new alliances both at home and abroad.

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Interview with Baru

Part 1

Mark McKinney and Hervé (Baru) Barulea

Hervé Barulea (b. 1947), known as Baru, is a French cartoonist of Italian and Breton heritage, who has spent much of his life in the metalworking region around Nancy, in northeastern France, his birthplace. He outlines his approach to comics, beginning with his vision of comics as essentially being images that speak to primal human urges. He finds this kind of imagery today mainly in American movies and novels, but not so much in American comics. He describes his tenure as president of the Festival International de la Bande Dessinée ['International Festival of Comics'] in Angoulême in January 2011, after having won the grand prize for his career's work in comics at the same festival in 2010. Baru then speaks of his approach to history and current events in his comics. He outlines how he has depicted immigrants of European and African heritage in his comics, and then explains why he has often returned to the Algerian War. Baru ends this first half of the interview by describing his views of the French Communist Party, and explaining his critical depiction of it in Les années Spoutnik ['The Spoutnik Years'].

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Dressing the Modern Jewish Communist Girl in Interwar Paris

Nick Underwood

On 24 March 1935, Naye prese , the Yiddish-language daily newspaper of the Jewish section of the French Communist Party (PCF), ran a small ad for a women’s tailor on 10, rue des Filles du Calvaire in Paris’ tenth arrondissement that reads, “Working

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Revisiting Existential Marxism

A Reply to Alfred Betschart

Ronald Aronson

Critique show that the sclerosis stemmed from the Bolshevik Revolution. Sartre's other studies of the time had also looked at other aspects of the sclerosis, including the bureaucratic French Communist party and its political timidity, and Soviet imperial

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Book Reviews

Julia Elsky, Charles Keith, John Shovlin, and Daniel Williford

performance, when seen alongside a 1936 issue of the French Communist Party's organ the Naye prese that featured the lyrics of the song, shows how the chorus “reinforced larger French, Jewish, and antifascist community building initiatives” (156). The

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L'écriture et le parti

Jorge Semprún's Lasting Experience of Communism

Donald Reid

Czech Communist leader in the camp, Josef Frank, to arrange the escape of a resister that the French Communist Party in the camp requested, without going through the German Communist camp hierarchy. 15 Semprún was quite aware that having an office job

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Gender, Empire, and the Politics of Regeneration

Christopher E. Forth

provided a kind of bridge between extremes. The fact that even the French Communist Party promoted a “radical masculinity with violent overtones” (70) leads Read to eschew explanations that focus solely on ideological grounds. Rather, as time went on disen

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Book Reviews

Célia Abele and Sophie Prantil

way for the future success of the far-right. The example of center/extreme conflict on the left is demonstrated with the split between the far-left French Communist Party (PCF), the predecessor to the LFI, and the PS. According to the PCF, the PS had