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The Humanities Conference 2003

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Presentation Details

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The Effects of War on Society: French Social Consciousness Through WWI Censored Letters

Lionel Lemarchand.

The discovery of censored letters written by French trench soldiers in 1917 and military reports based on the French military and civilian correspondence spanning the same historical period contribute significantly to our understanding of the evolution of French society during and after World War One. These documents also give the soldiers and the veterans silenced by censorship or by death, an opportunity to express themselves and their opinions about the French society and government.
We can use this primary source of documentation to do more than study the thoughts and feelings of soldiers on the front: released some sixty years after the war, these alternative sources can not only help us show the emergence of the consciousness of a social class going far beyond regionalisms, but also study the rapport between soldiers, their families, and the rest of French society. (During the presentation, original material studied in “Lettres censurées des tranchées – 1917, une place dans la littérature et l’histoire”, L’Harmattan, Paris 2001 will electronically be shown by the author)


Lionel Lemarchand  (United States)
Assistant Professor

Georgia Institute of Technology

Dr. Lionel Lemarchand is an Assistant Professor in the School of Modern Languages at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta and the director of the French for Business and Technology (LBAT) summer program in Lyon, France. He has a B.S in Mathematics and an M.A in French Studies (Auburn University) and a Ph. D. in French Literature and History (University of Georgia). His research areas include WWI correspondence (Lettres Censurées des Tranchées – 1917, l’Harmattan, Paris, 2001

  • War
  • Censorship
  • Society
  • France
  • Memory

(30 min Conference Paper, English)