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Roman noir, années noires: the French Néo-Polar and the Occupation's legacy of violence

Morris, A.I. (2007) Roman noir, années noires: the French Néo-Polar and the Occupation's legacy of violence. In: Violent Histories. Peter Lang AG, pp. 131-154. ISBN 3039103171

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Abstract

Discusses the emergence of a palimpsest conception of history in the polar and néopolar from la mode rétro to today. These genres function as “a cultural narrative of our times” (p. 153); they provide a historical archive and counter memory to the myths and repressions of official history. In a series of keen readings, the author suggests that authors such as Daeninckx and Jonquet portray a historical gaze that travels both backward and forward, thus probing the past’s reverberations in the present and the relationship between personal memory and official history. Their works also reveal points of connection and overlap between distinct histories and identities. The allusion to Maurice Papon in Daeninckx’s Meurtres pour mémoire, for instance, points to the Occupation’s violent afterlife in postwar France by exposing continuities in personnel and ideology between Collaboration and the massacre of Algerians on October 17, 1961.