Georges Bernanos

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Georges Bernanos
Georges-Bernanos.jpg
BornLouis Émile Clément Georges Bernanos
(1888-02-20)20 February 1888
Paris, France
Died5 July 1948(1948-07-05) (aged 60)
Neuilly-sur-Seine, France
OccupationWriter
NationalityFrench
Period20th century
GenreNovel

Louis Émile Clément Georges Bernanos (French:  [ʒɔʁʒ bɛʁnanɔs] ; [1] 20 February 1888 – 5 July 1948) was a French author, and a soldier in World War I. A Roman Catholic with monarchist leanings, [2] he was critical of bourgeois thought and was opposed to what he identified as defeatism. He believed this had led to France's defeat and eventual occupation by Germany in 1940 during World War II. [3] Most of his novels have been translated into English and frequently published in both Great Britain and the United States.

World War I 1914–1918 global war originating in Europe

World War I, also known as the First World War or the Great War, was a global war originating in Europe that lasted from 28 July 1914 to 11 November 1918. Contemporaneously described as "the war to end all wars", it led to the mobilisation of more than 70 million military personnel, including 60 million Europeans, making it one of the largest wars in history. It is also one of the deadliest conflicts in history, with an estimated nine million combatants and seven million civilian deaths as a direct result of the war, while resulting genocides and the 1918 influenza pandemic caused another 50 to 100 million deaths worldwide.

Defeatism is the acceptance of defeat without struggle, often with negative connotations. It can be linked to pessimism in psychology.

Battle of France Successful German invasion of France in 1940

The Battle of France, also known as the Fall of France, was the German invasion of France and the Low Countries during the Second World War. In the six weeks from 10 May 1940, German forces defeated Allied forces by mobile operations and conquered France, Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands, bringing land operations on the Western Front to an end until 6 June 1944. Italy entered the war on 10 June 1940 and invaded France over the Alps.

Contents

Life and career

Bernanos was born in Paris, into a family of craftsmen. He spent much of his childhood in the village of Fressin, Pas de Calais region, which became a frequent setting for his novels. He served in the First World War as a soldier, where he fought in the battles of the Somme and Verdun. He was wounded several times.

Paris Capital of France

Paris is the capital and most populous city of France, with an area of 105 square kilometres and an official estimated population of 2,140,526 residents as of 1 January 2019. Since the 17th century, Paris is one of Europe's major centres of finance, diplomacy, commerce, fashion, science, and the arts.

Fressin Commune in Hauts-de-France, France

Fressin is a commune in the Pas-de-Calais department in the Hauts-de-France region of France.

Battle of the Somme battle of the Western Front, World War I

The Battle of the Somme, also known as the Somme Offensive, was a battle of World War I fought by the armies of the British Empire and French Third Republic against the German Empire. It took place between 1 July and 18 November 1916 on both sides of the upper reaches of the River Somme in France. The battle was intended to hasten a victory for the Allies and was the largest battle of the First World War on the Western Front. More than three million men fought in the battle and one million men were wounded or killed, making it one of the bloodiest battles in human history. The Battle of the Somme was fought in the traditional style of World War I battles on the Western Front: trench warfare. The trench warfare gave the Germans an advantage because they dug their trenches deeper than the allied forces which gave them a better line of sight for warfare. The Battle of the Somme also has the distinction of being the first battle fought with tanks. However, the tanks were still in the early stages of development, and as a result, many broke down after maxing out at their top speed of 4 miles per hour.

After the war, he worked in insurance before writing Sous le soleil de Satan (1926, Under the Sun of Satan ).

Under the Sun of Satan was the first novel published by Georges Bernanos. It was #45 on Le Monde's 100 Books of the Century.

Despite his Royalist leanings and his membership in Action Française's youth organization), until 1932, Bernanos despised Fascism, which he described as "disgustingly monstrous" well before World War II broke out in Europe. He won the Grand Prix du roman de l'Académie française for The Diary of a Country Priest (Journal d'un curé de campagne), published in 1936.

A royalist supports a particular monarch as head of state for a particular kingdom, or of a particular dynastic claim. In the abstract, this position is royalism. It is distinct from monarchism, which advocates a monarchical system of government, but not necessarily a particular monarch. Most often, the term royalist is applied to a supporter of a current regime or one that has been recently overthrown to form a republic.

Action française is a French right-wing political movement. The name was also given to a journal associated with the movement.

Camelots du Roi organization

The King's Camelots, officially the National Federation of the King's Camelots was a far-right youth organization of the French militant royalist and integralist movement Action Française active from 1908 to 1936. It is best known for taking part in many right-wing demonstrations in France in the 1920s and 1930s.

He initially supported Francisco Franco and the Falange at the outset of the Spanish Civil War. [4] However, after he observed the conflict in Majorca and saw 'a terrorized people,' he became disgusted with the nacionales and criticized them in the book Diary of My Times (1938). He wrote, "My illusions regarding the enterprise of General Franco did not last long - two or three weeks - but while they lasted I conscientiously endeavoured to overcome the disgust which some of his men and means caused me." [5] Most of his important fictional works were written between 1926 and 1937.

Francisco Franco Spanish general and dictator

Francisco Franco Bahamonde was a Spanish general and politician who ruled over Spain as a military dictator from 1939, after the nationalist victory in the Spanish Civil War, until his death in 1975. This period in Spanish history is commonly known as Francoist Spain.

Spanish Civil War War between the Republicans and the Nationalists in Spain from 1936 to 1939

The Spanish Civil War took place from 1936 to 1939. Republicans loyal to the left-leaning Second Spanish Republic, in alliance with the Anarchists and Communists, fought against the Nationalists, an alliance of Falangists, Monarchists, and Catholics, led by General Francisco Franco. Due to the international political climate at the time, the war had many facets, and different views saw it as class struggle, a war of religion, a struggle between dictatorship and republican democracy, between revolution and counterrevolution, between fascism and communism. The Nationalists won the war in early 1939 and ruled Spain until Franco's death in November 1975.

Nationalist faction (Spanish Civil War) Major faction in the Spanish Civil War of 1936 to 1939

The Nationalist faction or Rebel faction was a major faction in the Spanish Civil War of 1936 to 1939. It was composed of a variety of political groups that supported the Spanish coup of July 1936 against the Second Spanish Republic, including the Falange, the CEDA, and two rival monarchist claimants: the Alfonsists and the Carlists. In 1937, all the groups were merged into the Falange. One of the main leaders of the 1936 coup, General Francisco Franco, would lead this faction throughout the war and later would become the dictator of Spain from 1939 to 1975.

With political tensions rising in Europe, Bernanos emigrated to South America with his family in 1938, settling in Brazil. He remained until 1945 in Barbacena, State of Minas Gerais, where he tried his hand at managing a farm. His three sons returned to France to fight after World War II broke out, while he fulminated at his country's 'spiritual exhaustion,' which he saw as the root of its collapse in 1940. From exile he mocked the 'ridiculous' Vichy regime and became a strong supporter of the nationalist Free French Forces led by the conservative Charles De Gaulle.

Brazil Federal republic in South America

Brazil, officially the Federative Republic of Brazil, is the largest country in both South America and Latin America. At 8.5 million square kilometers and with over 208 million people, Brazil is the world's fifth-largest country by area and the fifth most populous. Its capital is Brasília, and its most populated city is São Paulo. The federation is composed of the union of the 26 states, the Federal District, and the 5,570 municipalities. It is the largest country to have Portuguese as an official language and the only one in the Americas; it is also one of the most multicultural and ethnically diverse nations, due to over a century of mass immigration from around the world.

Barbacena Place in Southeast, Brazil

Barbacena is a municipality in the state of Minas Gerais, Brazil. As of 2013, the municipality had 132,980 inhabitants. The total area of the municipality is 788 km2 (304 sq mi).

World War II 1939–1945 global war

World War II, also known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. The vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great powers—eventually formed two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. A state of total war emerged, directly involving more than 100 million people from over 30 countries. The major participants threw their entire economic, industrial, and scientific capabilities behind the war effort, blurring the distinction between civilian and military resources. World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history, marked by 50 to 85 million fatalities, most of whom were civilians in the Soviet Union and China. It included massacres, the genocide of the Holocaust, strategic bombing, premeditated death from starvation and disease, and the only use of nuclear weapons in war.

After France's Liberation, De Gaulle invited Bernanos to return to his homeland, offering him a post in the government. Bernanos did return but, disappointed to perceive no signs of spiritual renewal, he declined to play an active role in French political life. [6]

Adaptations of selected works

Works in English translation

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References

  1. "Bernanos", Random House Webster's Unabridged Dictionary
  2. Allen, W. Gore (1948). "George Bernanos: A Mystic in the World," The Irish Monthly, Vol. 76, No. 903, pp. 414-416.
  3. Tobin, Michael R. (2007). Georges Bernanos: The Theological Source of his Art. McGill-Queen's University Press.
  4. Hellman, John (1990). "Bernanos, Drumont, and the Rise of French Fascism," The Review of Politics, Vol. 52, No. 3, pp. 441-459.
  5. Georges Bernanos. A Diary of My Times, London: Boriswood, 1938, p. 85.
  6. Robert Bergan (2011-08-07). "Claude Laydu obituary". The Guardian. Retrieved 2014-06-15.
  7. Gendre, Claude, 'The Literary Destiny of the Sixteen Carmelite Martyrs of Compiègne and the Role of Emmet Lavery'. Renascence, 48.1, pp 37-60 (Fall 1995).
  8. Gendre, Claude, 'Dialogues des Carmélites: the historical background, literary destiny and genesis of the opera', from Francis Poulenc: Music, Art and Literature (Sidney Buckland and Myriam Chimènes, editors). Ashgate (Aldershot, UK), ISBN   1859284078, p 287 (1999).

Further reading