Cultures of Resistance [IV]

A few weeks ago, I shared some thoughts about differences between and commonalities among Chinese and French postwar depictions of wartime resistance under Axis occupation. The vehicle for this discussion was Sartre’s L’Mort dans l’Ame [Death through the Soul, literally, although the translation published is, oddly, under Troubled Sleep]. Sartre’s text is the third in his trilogy of Chemins de Liberte, or Roads of Liberty, … Continue reading Cultures of Resistance [IV]

Le mort de Mathieu [I]

So much of Sartre’s Le Mort dans l’Âme is pessimistic, full of spite for the French army and regime, the very opposite of United Front literature in wartime China.  Yet, at the conclusion of part two of the book, the hero of the entire triology, Mathieu, the socialist professor, gets himself a gun. The resistance thus takes shape, assumes reality: the intellectual has taken up … Continue reading Le mort de Mathieu [I]

Sartre / Cultures of Defeat [III]

In the concluding volume of his trilogy, Chemins de la Liberte, Sartre notes the futility of ascribing war to individuals as if it were some sort of moral choice. In a conversation with his comrade Pinette, the protagonist Mathieu thinks to himself: “Everything is asking us for our opinion. Everything! We are encircled by questions: the whole thing’s a farce. Questions are asked of us … Continue reading Sartre / Cultures of Defeat [III]

Sartre / Cultures of Defeat [II]

Before diving back into La Mort dans l’Âme / Troubled Sleep, a couple of observations about Chinese attitudes toward Sartre: 1. La Mort dans l’Âme , to my knowledge, has yet to be translated into Chinese.  (Anhui Wenyi Chubanshe, just maybe, has done so, but it appears that this welcome publication [via Douban] is just a collection of short stories rather than an immense trilogy … Continue reading Sartre / Cultures of Defeat [II]

Sartre / Cultures of Defeat

One of the issues with which I am grappling as a scholar concerns the idea of a defeated country in war, and the tenacity of psychologies of resistance and defeat (the myth, perhaps, of the first, and the deniability of the second). For instance, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) today promotes an interpretation of the War of Resistance (1937-1945), essentially the Chinese theater of the … Continue reading Sartre / Cultures of Defeat