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

By R. Jouejati | Go to book overview

Introduction

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

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Introduction 1
  • Part I - The Quest for Truth 7
  • Chapter I - Du Gard's Early Career 9
  • Notes 17
  • Part II - The Ills of Traditional Society 21
  • Chapter II - Les Thibault-Le Cahier Gris 23
  • Chapter III - Les Thibault-Le Pénitencier 29
  • Chapter IV - Les Thibault-La Belle Saison 35
  • Chapter V - Les Thibault-La Consultation 41
  • Notes 45
  • Chapter VI - Les Thibault-La Sorellina 47
  • Chapter VII - Les Thibault-La Mort Du Père 51
  • Notes 55
  • Part III - The Ideal Order 57
  • Chapter VIII - L'Eté 1914-The Bases of a Political Philosophy 59
  • Notes 70
  • Chapter IX - L'Eté 1914-The Characteristics of Du Gard's New Order 73
  • Notes 84
  • Chapter X - Evaluation of Du Gard's Contributions to Political Thought 87
  • Conclusion 105
  • Bibliography 109
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