The Quest for Total Peace: The Political Thought of Roger Martin Du Gard

The Quest for Total Peace: The Political Thought of Roger Martin Du Gard

The Quest for Total Peace: The Political Thought of Roger Martin Du Gard

The Quest for Total Peace: The Political Thought of Roger Martin Du Gard

Excerpt

In his preface to the Oeuvres Complètes of Roger Martin du Gard, Albert Camus finds it no paradox that the present we live in can be found in the past, 1 in works such as those of Martin du Gard. In fact, the striking characteristic of du Gard's political and social ideas is that although they are chronologically retrospective, nevertheless they reflect the present and are also likely to portend the future.

Perhaps this sense of continuity may account for the fact that, while at first relatively unnoticed, 2 the works of du Gard were later appreciated as throwing light on the events of our times. They reveal Martin du Gard's unique mastery 3

of the analytical methods of Classicism: the search for the motives of human action, careful sounding of human emotions and meticulous elaboration of the fundamental truths underlying man's thinking. Indeed, discipline of thought, acute observation of human psychology, supremacy of reason, and the artistic integration of all these are the classical traits of a modern writer that give to his works their universality. Writing in a time of turmoil, of rapidly changing mental attitudes, of emerging creeds and ideologies, du Gard remained faithful to the classical tradition. However, he was ahead of his time. Although touched by the conflicts which, twice in a generation, produced incalculable suffering, misery and ruin to a vast section of mankind, from his high perspective, he could assess, as Tolstoi 4 did, the futility of the quarrel, the facuity of the blind instincts that unleashed fanaticism and led to destruction. He was not greatly impressed by patriotism as a justification of war. He foresaw the disaster that affected both victors and vanquished. He felt that patriotism, founded on love of fellow-men and native land, was debased when associated with hatred and prejudice. He revolted against this. His revolution was a moral . . .

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