March 6, 2008
Contact: Emanuel Costache '09
Media Relations Intern
Caroline Jenkins Hanna
Director of Media Relations
AMHERST, Mass.—Leah D. Hewitt, professor of French at Amherst College, has just published Remembering the Occupation in French Film: National Identity in Postwar Europe ($75, Palgrave Macmillan, 2008), as part of the Study in European Culture and History series.
In the new book, Hewitt explores French identity as it is articulated through cultural representations of occupied France in French film. She outlines and demonstrates how French film has allowed for a public airing of current concerns through the lens of memory’s recreations of the Occupation. By focusing on the representation of women as the symbol of a collective identity crisis, Hewitt links France’s traditional female icon, “Marianne,” to the multiple unresolved ambiguities that have continued to plague France’s historical reckoning with the war. “The ties between Marianne’s official symbolism and her artistic versions in French films about the Occupation,” said Hewitt, “tell the complex story of a collective identity crisis.”
Hewitt is also the author of the book Autobiographical Tightropes: Simone de Beauvoir, Nathalie Sarraute, Marguerite Duras, Monique Wittig, and Maryse Conde. At Amherst since 1984, she regularly teaches courses on modern and contemporary French culture and literature, including the works of Proust, Sartre, Camus, Duras and Modiano.