The Paris Commune of 1871 in Selected Texts of French Prose Fiction
The thesis consists essentially of a consideration of the Paris Commune of 1871 as represented in the following texts: l'Apprentie by Gustave Geffroy; l'Ami de l'Ordre by Jerome and Jean Tharaud; Bas les Coeurs and l'Epaulette by Georges Darien; la Colonne and Philemon vieux de la vieille by Lucien Descaves; les Massacres de Paris by Jean Cassou. With two exceptions (Bas les Coeurs (1889) and les Massacres de Paris (1935)) these works appeared during the opening fifteen years of the twentieth century. In addition to its obvious function of introducing the principal authors discussed, the Introduction provides background information to (and attempts to set the tone for) material examined in the main body of the thesis. Chapters one and Two, devoted to Gustave Geffroy and the Tharaud brothers respectively, consider the commune primarily in terms of its effects upon, and consequences for, individuals and families at the time. Georges Darien's savage denunciation of the bourgeois order - an indictment in which the Paris Commune serves an essential purpose - is considered in chapter Three. The fourth chapter (centred upon la colonne by Lucien Descaves) entails discussion of the commune's repudiation - through the toppling of the vendome column - of warmongering and chauvinism. In Philemon vieux de la vieille, the Commune is seen essentially in terms of its continued significance for former communards looking back, during the early l900's, to the seventy-two days' and the years of exile. Jean Cassou's characterisation of leading participants in the Commune notably Louis Rossel, Louise Michel and Jaroslaw Dombrowski - provides the principal focus for discussion in chapter six. Sources used by both Descaves and Cassou are considered in the relevant chapters. To complement material in Chapters One to Six, appendices relating to three texts (Un Communard by Leon Deffoux; le Mur by Maurice Montegut; la commune by Paul and Victor Margueritte) are included. Throughout the thesis, references are frequently made to, and comparisons drawn with, other writers who have portrayed the commune: notably Emile Zola, Leon Cladel and Jules Valles.