Sunday, March 20, 2011
Irène Némirovsky’s Suite française and Hélène Berr’s Journal
My first article has just been published in Clio: A Journal of Literature, History and the Philosophy of History. It examines Irène Némirovsky’s Suite française and Hélène Berr’s Journal, which have recently been marketed as rediscovered "Holocaust stories". Suite française and Berr's Journal have been hugely successful in France, but also in English-speaking countries and elsewhere. My article focuses on the role of the French and American publishing houses in selling "Holocaust stories" (a problematic term for many reasons, including the fact that there is no reference to Jews in Suite française).
I worked on the "rediscovered manuscripts" article when I was doing my MA at Birkbeck (Claire Feehily suggested the idea). I've always been interested in "middlebrow" women writers: my PhD dissertation is on the ways in which the Modern Library series marketed novels by Pearl Buck, Edna Ferber, Dorothy Canfield Fisher as the "world's best books" alongside writers that we now see as canonical (James Joyce, Virginia Woolf, Gertrude Stein).
I would like to do some further research on Némirovsky at some point. I'm thinking of spending a week or so at the Institut Mémoires de l'Edition Contemporaine to work in the Némirovsky archives. I'd like to write another paper on her relationship with her American publisher (Horace Liveright, a Jewish publisher who founded the Modern Library and brought out "David Golder").
This is the full reference of the article: Jaillant, Lise. "A Masterpiece Ripped from Oblivion: Rediscovered Manuscripts and the Memory of the Holocaust in Contemporary France." Clio 39.3 (2010): 359-379. Historical Abstracts with Full Text. EBSCO. Web. 20 Mar. 2011.
If you do not have access to EBSCO, I will be happy to send you an electronic copy of the article.