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

By R. Jouejati | Go to book overview

CHAPTER II

Les Thibault-Le Cahier Gris

The bulk of the socio-political philosophy of du Gard is contained in Les Thibault. This is a huge novel-a 'roman fleuve'-somewhat like Tolstoi's War and Peace. Martin du Gard planned the structure of this book while resting for a few weeks at Verger d'Augy in the spring of 1920. The time span of the novel was to cover a period of forty years, comprising some twelve or thirteen distinctive phases. He originally planned Les Thibault to be the history of two brothers, different in character, but having certain inherited similarities. Martin du Gard admitted that this theme gave him the opportunity of expressing two contradictory aspects of his own nature; namely, independence and a tendency to revolt against conformity, on the one hand, and an inherent love of order, balance and moderation on the other. 1

In expressing this dual nature, the psycho-social relationship between the individual and his milieu must first be described. The characteristics and values of this milieu must be clarified so that the individual's reaction to social pressures may be interpreted. Du Gard deals at length with the social structure in which he grew up, that of the upper bourgeoisie. In what manner is it portrayed? Not through realistic description of human life, which would render the novel without purpose. It is portrayed rather through an elaborate presentation of events which makes a system of signs and symbols: signs of a truth which is objectively real, as well as intellectual and metaphysical symbols, of human existence, in which man is a privileged creature, endowed with the consciousness of his destiny.

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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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