Examines the role of the theatre in Paris during the Nazi occupation.
The Drama of Fallen France examines various dramatic works written and/or produced in Paris during the four years of Nazi occupation and explains what they may have meant to their original audiences. Because of widespread financial support from the new French government at Vichy, the former French capital underwent a renaissance of theatre during this period, and both the public playhouses and the private theatres provided an amazing array of new productions and revivals. Some of the plays considered here are well known: Anouilh's Antigone, Sartre's The Flies, Claudel's The Satin Slipper. Others have remained obscure, such as Cocteau's The Typewriter, Giraudoux's The Apollo of Marsac, and Montherlant's Nobody's Son; and twoAndré Obey's Eight Hundred Meters and Simone Jollivet's The Princess of Ursinshave remained virtually unread since the early 1940s. In examining French culture under the Vichy regime and the Nazis, Kenneth Krauss links the politics of gender and sexuality with the more traditional political concepts of collaboration and resistance. A final chapter on Truffaut's 1980 film, The Last Métro, demonstrates how the present manages to rewrite and revision the complex and seemingly contradictory reality of the past.
“…this is a study that contributes a great deal to understanding of cultural practice and production during the Occupation.” — French Studies
"Offering valuable insight into the Paris theater during the war years, Krauss surveys a wide variety of plays, from Jean Cocteau’s relatively obscure The Typewriter … to Jean Anouilh's Antigone … Of special interest is the interplay between homosexual themes and Nazi ideology, which glorified the male body … Highly recommended." CHOICE
"This topic is highly significant, and occupies a central place both in the study of French drama and in the field of Occupation studies. Not content to limit his analyses to published scripts, Krauss has examined draft manuscripts, programs, and other archival materials, and has added considerably to our understanding of the plays by considering issues of staging, set design, and performance space. Because he reads wartime drama through the lens of sexuality, he also makes an important contribution to gender studies, touching on homosexuality, women's roles under Vichy, cross-dressing, and a number of other issues." Jocelyn Van Tuyl, New College of Florida
Kenneth Krauss is Associate Professor of Drama at The College of Saint Rose and the author of Private Readings/Public Texts: Playreaders' Constructs of Theatre Audiences. He is also the coeditor (with Nancy J. Doran Hazelton) of Maxwell Anderson and the New York Stage.