The Dark Years

January 24, 2017

Tags: Jean Guéhenno

Street singer reservists, Paris.
Thanks to Todd Colby for recommending the remarkable Diary of the Dark Years, 1940-1944: Collaboration, Resistance, and Daily Life in Occupied Paris, by writer & intellectual Jean Guéhenno (1890–1978). I don't think it's melodramatic to see the parallels to what's going on right now in America, judging by a couple of excerpts:

Yesterday's barbarian is merely today's celebrity: people want to see the circus.

Stupidity and hypocrisy reign triumphant—the Moral Order, the virtue of the rich. The bourgeois ladies are rejoicing. In the market, they won't have to compete for chickens with women in house dresses anymore. At last, everyone will be able to eat according to his rank.

More to come of his comments on writers' responsibilities. I have underlined something on almost every page so far. I feel like my blog may be given over to this book for the indefinite future...


  1. January 25, 2017 8:49 AM EST
    "Everyone wants to see the circus." Although we were warned not to normalize him in any way, that's exactly what my weary soul is doing. It feels better to laugh at our situation from the comfortable chair by the warm fireplace in my SD winter home than to mire in that daily angst created by our three-ring circus featuring the Media, the President in the center ring, and a Silent Congress. From the circus stands everyone smiles, shakes a head and whispers: Is there no stopping this guy?
    - Susan