Resisters and the resistance
Challenging the epic in French crime fiction of the 1940s and 1950s
in French crime fiction and the Second World War
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This chapter examines representations of the Resistance in early post-war French crime fiction. It begins by setting out the main features of the resistance epic so prevalent in France in the late 1940s and early 1950s and how this ideal came to be embodied in the figure of the male resistance fighter. The chapter then examines narratives that contested such a vision of wartime heroism, focusing on the French roman noir. Finally, the chapter explores representations of resistance in the work of three French roman noir writers of this period, André Héléna, Léo Malet and Gilles Morris, all of whom presented resistance in a different light to the official discourse of national bravery and sacrifice. Their work reflects the mismatch between the Resistance as myth and the multiple histories and experiences of resisters as individuals.

French crime fiction and the Second World War

Past crimes, present memories

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