Encyclopedia of Contemporary French Culture

By Alex Hughes; Keith Reader | Go to book overview

Major works

j
Jourdheuil, J. (1976) L'Artiste, la politique, la production, Paris: Union Générale d'Éditions (writings on theatre).

Jouve, Pierre-Jean

b. 1887, Arras;

d. 1976, Paris

Poet, novelist, translator and critic

Jouve's early formation was marked by Romain Rolland and the short-lived Unanimist movement. The next important event was his religious crisis in 1924, which caused him to renounce his early works and enter a new phase of poetic activity (plus the composition of five novels) in which spiritual and erotic sensibility predominates (the influence of Freudian psychoanalysis is also significant). His work during and after World War II continues along that same vein-La Vierge de Paris (The Virgin of Paris) of 1946, Hymne (Hymn) from 1947 and Diadème (Diadem) in 1949. The later poems, Ode and Langue (Language), from 1950 and 1954 respectively, make use of the verset (versicle) introduced into French poetry by Claudel and Saint-John Perse. A strong theme in Jouve's poetry is the spiritual anguish caused by the sense of nothingness (frequent reference to 'Nada'). Somewhat in contrast with most French poets, whose strongest affinities are with the plastic arts, Jouve maintained a lively attachment to music, publishing important lengthy essays on Mozart's Don Giovanni in 1942 and on Berg's Wozzeck in 1953. There is also a journal, En miroir (In the Looking Glass), published in 1954, and translations from Hölderlin, Shakespeare and St Theresa of Avila. The complete poems are published by Mercure de France (Poésies) in four volumes (1964-7).

WALTER A.STRAUSS

See also: poetry

Judaism

Judaism (judaïsme) and Jewishness (judéité) are treated together here, although strictly speaking the first refers to the religion of Jews, while the second embraces the wider and less stable category of Jewish identity. Today, both are subject to a number of different influences: traditional links between French Jewry and the ideas of French Republicanism; the fate of Jews in France under German Occupation and the Vichy regime during World War II, and the continuing repercussions of these events after the war; the centrality of the Holocaust; traditional and contemporary forms of anti-semitism; the history and destiny of Israel; the rise of ethnic particularisms and the reappraisal of monolithic concepts of identity.

Historically, the fate of Jews in France has been closely bound up with Republican ideals. The emancipation of the Jews in 1791 became symbolic of the power of the revolutionary ideal to free individuals from their particular 'parochial' backgrounds and bring them into the realm of 'light' as free and equal citizens. Jews, therefore, came to be associated, like no other group, with the revolutionary Republican and Enlightenment project of assimilation. This was a contract that both sides, Jews and Republicans, entered willingly in the name of freedom and equality. Hence, the Dreyfusards, in championing the falsely accused Jewish army captain, Alfred Dreyfus, at the end of the nineteenth century, were inspired more by pro-Republican than by philosemitic sentiment, and used Dreyfus as a symbol of the universalist and assimilationist Republican message. Jews themselves were far more comfortable fighting for universal human rights than in the name of ethnic difference. Until fairly recently, French Jewry has, in general, been a fervent supporter of the Republican message, which has meant repressing signs of difference in the public sphere (the neutral, egalitarian space of citizenship) and maintaining religious and cultural practices only discreetly in the private sphere.

However, a number of factors have brought about a reappraisal of the position of Judaism

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