Juliette Pattinson
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'A jittery business'
Representations of anxiousness in personal and filmic accounts
in Behind Enemy Lines
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Films such as Odette and Carve Her Name with Pride portray agents who engaged in clandestine war against the Nazi war machine as unflappable and psychologically strong. And yet both written and oral testimonies of SOE agents suggest that these are inaccurate depictions and that most agents were constantly plagued by self-doubt. This chapter explores the different types of accounts in order to examine the phenomenon of passing undertaken by SOE agents in the context of wartime France. The representations of agents in written, oral and filmic accounts portraying passing and fear are diverse and complex. Reminiscences about anxiousness indicate that passing takes a dialogic form: agents were conscious that their performances required external ratification in order to be successful and thus there was an incorporation of the other as well as resistance as they tried to subvert the readings of others.

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Behind Enemy Lines

Gender, passing and the Special Operations Executive in the Second World War


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