Date:
31 October 2012 to 08 May 2013
Time: 9:00am to 5:00pm
Regent Street campus

Martin Hurcombe, Senior Lecturer, University of Bristol:

This paper will examine the responses of two French writers to the defeat of the Spanish Republic in 1939: the internationally renowned author André Malraux and his contemporary, the communist journalist and novelist Simone Téry. While Malraux has now joined the literary canon of politically committed early twentieth-century novelists, Téry is a forgotten figure. Both were prominent in bringing the Republican cause to the French public's attention, however; Téry through her tireless reporting of the conflict in L'Humanité and Regards and Malraux through his novel of the Civil War, L'Espoir (Man's Hope). This paper will focus instead, however, on the manner in which both subsequently interpreted the fall of the Republic. It will examine Malraux's 1939 film of the war (Espoir: Sierra de Teruel) and its post-Liberation reception in France, alongside Téry's political romance of 1945 set in Republican Spain, Où l'aube se lève. It will argue that, while both authors shared throughout the conflict a belief in the primacy of discipline and organisation over revolutionary spontaneity, their subsequent depictions reveal a parting of the ways, indicating a political repositioning indicative of post-Liberation divisions in France and of the political itineraries of the communist intellectual and the fellow-traveller, as Téry and Malraux both recast the Republican defeat as a moral victory that vindicates their respective political realignment.

and Book Launch: Martin Hurcombe, "France and the Spanish Civil War: Cultural Representations of the War next Door, 1936-1945" (Ashgate 2011).