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Roger Martin du Gard and Maumort
The Nobel Laureate and his Unfinished Creation
Benjamin Franklin Martin
“A well-researched study of a man, a family, and a coterie of friends whose lives intersected with the major events of late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century Europe.”—Michael Burns, author of France and the Dreyfus Affair: A Documentary History
In the late 1930s and early 1940s, Roger Martin du Gard was one of the most famous writers in the Western world. He won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1937, and his works, especially Les Thibault, a multivolume novel, were translated into English and read widely. Today, this close friend of André Gide, Albert Camus, and André Malraux is almost unknown, largely because he left unfinished the long project he began in the 1940s, Lieutenant Colonel de Maumort. Initially, the novel is an account of the French experience during World War II and the German occupation as seen through the eyes of a retired army officer. Yet, through Maumort’s series of recollections, it becomes a morality tale that questions the values of late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century European civilization. A fragmentary version of the novel was published in 1983, twenty-five years after its author’s death, and an English translation appeared in 1999. Even incomplete, it is a work of haunting brilliance.
May 2017 234 pp., 6x9
Benjamin Franklin Martin is the Katheryn J., Lewis C., and Benjamin Price Professor of History at Louisiana State University. He is the author of six previous books, among them, Years of Plenty, Years of Want (NIU Press 2013). He has been a consulting scholar to the Jewish Museum in New York for the celebrated exhibition “The Dreyfus Affair: Art, Truth and Justice,” and a featured contributor to documentaries by The History Channel.
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