Remembering the Occupation: representations of memory and identity in French children's historical fiction

Smette, Verity Jayne (2019). Remembering the Occupation: representations of memory and identity in French children's historical fiction. University of Birmingham. M.A.

Text - Accepted Version
Available under License All rights reserved.

Download (2MB) | Preview


In 2012, on the 75th anniversary speech of the roundup of Parisian Jews known as the Vél d’Hiv, former President Hollande revealed that two-thirds of French schoolchildren were ignorant of the event. This is part of a growing unfamiliarity amongst young people in France regarding the Second World War and the Holocaust.
This study takes literature as a basis of learning and understanding, and asks about the effectiveness of French historical fiction for children in the process of remembrance. What role does such fiction play in transmitting memory in France, and how does it facilitate empathy and identity? The study comprises a close analysis of six French children’s novels, and draws on studies from several disciplines such as child psychology, history, and literature.
The research conducted in this MA has implications beyond the war and can be applied anywhere ignorance finds a foothold. Children’s war literature is pedagogical, and carries warnings and messages of hope through which children may develop a more peaceful future. This research addresses the contribution of literature to the collective memory of the Occupation, in light of the falling historical awareness of French schoolchildren towards the darker side of their nation’s past.

Type of Work: Thesis (Masters by Research > M.A.)
Award Type: Masters by Research > M.A.
Licence: All rights reserved
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
School or Department: School of Languages, Cultures, Art History and Music, Department of Modern Languages
Funders: Other
Other Funders: Neville Chamberlain Scholarship
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DC France
P Language and Literature > PZ Childrens literature


Request a Correction Request a Correction
View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year