115 Followers
82 Following
Mirimirage

Allusion is not Illusion

You'll pry my books off my cold, dead body. By the time you shift them all I'll be flat and dessicated.

Currently reading

Winter's Tales
Karen Blixen, Isak Dinesen
Black Lamb and Grey Falcon (Penguin Classics)
Rebecca West, Christopher Hitchens
Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell
Susanna Clarke
Already Dead
Charlie Huston
The Rings of Saturn
W.G. Sebald, Michael Hulse
Lady Audley's Secret
Mary Elizabeth Braddon, David Skilton
Unequal Protection: How Corporations Became "People" - And How You Can Fight Back
Thom Hartmann
The City, Not Long After
Pat Murphy
You Can Sketch: A Step-by-Step Guide for Absolute Beginners
Jackie Simmonds
Lonely Werewolf Girl
Martin Millar
French Literary Fascism: Nationalism, Anti-Semitism, and the Ideology of Culture - David Carroll

Carroll argues that French fascism's foundations were laid before the Great War by nationalist writers who denounced the politics of the Third Republic and called for an “aestheticization” of politics.
French fascism is therefore of internal origin and not due to Italian or German influence. He views fascism as growing from fin-de-siecle nationalism taking a form that was primarily literary and characterized by an anti-semitism that was aesthetic and cultural rather than racial or biological, belief in a unified "National Will" that was organic to France, and a desire to apply literary aesthetics to politics.

Maurice Barrès became a Figure with the publication of his 1888 Cult of the Self (Le Culte Du Moi) and quickly parlayed his new popularity into an election to the Chamber of Deputies in 1889 as a Boulangist (making, I feel, Carroll's characterization of him as an intellectual a trifle disingenuous). He became Barrès close to Charles Maurras, founder of Action Française, who dreamed of rebuilding a Royalist France with strong cultural connections to classical Greece, which for him represented ideals of order and beauty. He viewed German and Jewish ideas as threats and rejected democracy on the grounds that it was disordered and without beauty. "France should be defended because France is beautiful," Maurras argued.

Barrès likewise saw his nation as unique, defined by culture while others, in his view, were defined by race. French culture was rooted in "land and the dead" and constituted a national self that must be always on guard against contamination by foreign influences.

Carroll's third figure, Charles Péguy, was on the contrary a passionate supporter of the republic -- or at least of an idealized republic that would exist once the "Republican race" had, again, gotten rid of those foreign contaminations. Then politics could be remade in the image of art. For Peguy race was derivative of culture, shared experience, and religion. Republican mysticism was incompatible with "Oriental Judaism." Despite being a prominent Dreyfusard, Peguy believed that the Jewish population would always remain separate from the body of France.

These three figures advocated totalizing, if not totalitarian, politics, and produced texts which created intellectual foundations for political and literary fascism. Unfortunately, Carroll never explains more precisely or pragmatically what sort of fascism he has in mind or how these ideas may have later been actualized.