Singing Our Way to Victory
French Cultural Politics and Music during the Great War
Music / Culture
Sales Date: 2001-04-02
368 Pages, 6.00 x 9.00 in
A penetrating cross-disciplinary study of the cultural constructions of singing.
Winner of the International Book Award from International Association for the Study of Popular Music (2003)
The practice of singing and songwriting in France during the Great War provides an intriguing tool for the exploration of the French cultural politics of the epoch. Responding to the dearth of cultural studies of the First World War, Regina Sweeney's unique cross-disciplinary study illuminates many of the hitherto unexplored corners of an era that many historians consider to exhibit a break with recognizable trends.
In early twentieth century Europe, singing was considered a part of education integral to the formation of good citizens. Singing was especially important to the French, for whom it was historically associated with authenticity of feeling and purity of character, and thereby with the very roots of French democracy; it was particularly associated with the image of France as a victorious nation. But as Sweeney shows, different performances of the same patriotic song could carry vastly different meanings. By focusing on singing, Sweeney is able to provide a more nuanced reading of French Great War cultures than ever before, and to show that cultures previously held to be exclusive — those of the home front and the Western front, for example — existed in dialectical tension and were themselves far from homogenous.
List of Illustrations
PART I FROM A CONTESTED PEACE TO A POLITICALLY PEACEFUL WAR
Musical Pleasures, Pedagogy, and Politics
A Chorus in Unison: The Ritual of National Mobilization
PART II CONFLICTING AGENDAS
The Censorship of Singing, from Music Hall to Trench
The Eroticization of War: Representations of Sexuality and Violence
PART III THE CULTURAL GEOGRAPHY OF WAR
Musical Entertainment in Wartime Paris
The French Army's "Theater of War"
Entertainment at the Front: The Soldiers Go It Alone
The Reinternationalization of Mass Culture and the Turn to Nostalgia
Appendix A: Examples of Sheet Music
Appendix B: List of Musical Establishments Open during the War
""This book represents a new generation of historical writing on France at the turn of the century. Not only does it examine a subject never before studied in any detail, it uses solid scholarship and imaginative archival research to explore what are essentially postmodern questions.""~Jann Pasler, Professor of Music, University of California at San Diego
"This book represents a new generation of historical writing on France at the turn of the century. Not only does it examine a subject never before studied in any detail, it uses solid scholarship and imaginative archival research to explore what are essentially postmodern questions."~Jann Pasler, Professor of Music, University of California at San Diego