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I. Daunais and A. Hepburn (ed.), Diplomacy and the Modern Novel. France, Britain, and the Mission of Literature

I. Daunais and A. Hepburn (ed.), Diplomacy and the Modern Novel. France, Britain, and the Mission of Literature

Publié le par Université de Lausanne

Diplomacy and the Modern Novel. France, Britain, and the Mission of Literature

Edited by Isabelle Daunais an Allan Hepburn

University of Toronto Press, 2020.

252 pages


ISBN: 9781487508098


Between 1900 and 1960, many writers in France and Britain either had parallel careers in diplomatic corps or frequented diplomatic circles: Paul Claudel, Albert Cohen, Lawrence Durrell, Graham Greene, John le Carré, André Malraux, Nancy Mitford, Marcel Proust, and others. What attracts writers to diplomacy, and what attracts diplomats to publishing their experiences in memoirs or novels?

Like novelists, diplomats are in the habit of describing situations with an eye for atmosphere, personalities, and looming crises. Yet novels about diplomats, far from putting a solemn face on everything, often devolve into comedy if not outright farce. Anachronistic yet charming, diplomats take the long view of history and social transformation, which puts them out of step with their times – at least in fiction. In this collection of essays, eleven contributors reflect on diplomacy in French and British novels, with particular focus on temporality, style, comedy, characterization, and the professional liabilities attached to representing a state abroad. With archival examples as evidence, the essays in this volume indicate that modern fiction, especially fiction about diplomacy, is a response to the increasing speed of communication, the decline of imperial power, and the ceding of old ways of negotiating to new.




The Mission of Literature: Modern Novels and Diplomacy
Allan Hepburn, McGill University

Part One: Diplomatic Experience

1. Making a Song and Dance of It: Staging Diplomacy in William Gerhardi’s Early Novels
Claire Davison, Université Sorbonne Nouvelle
2. The League of Nations as Seen by Albert Cohen: A User’s Guide to Social Magic
Maxime Decout, Université de Lille

3. Modern Negotiations: Harold Nicolson’s Peacemaking 1919 and  Public Faces
Caroline Z. Krzakowski, Northern Michigan University

Part Two: Novels and Diplomacy

4. Diplomatic Dispatch Style: Towards a New Aesthetic of the Novel
Isabelle Daunais, McGill University

5. Conrad’s Politics of Idealism: Diplomacy without Diplomats
Stephen Ross, University of Victoria
6. André Gide and the Art of Evasion
Michel Biron, McGill University

Part Three: Documents

7. Proust’s Epistolary Diplomacy: Antoine Bibesco, René Peter, and “Salaïsme”
François Proulx, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

8. The Art of Conversation: Nancy Mitford, France, and Cultural Diplomacy
Allan Hepburn, McGill University

Part Four: Foreign Affairs

9. Action, Diplomacy, Art: André Malraux and Graham Greene
Robert L. Caserio, Pennsylvania State University

10. Mythography and Diplomacy in Works by Ian Fleming and John le Carré
Maxime Prévost, University of Ottawa

11. Lawrence Durrell: Diplomacy as Farce
Maria DiBattista, Princeton University

Works Cited