La transformation de l’avant-garde : la Grande Guerre dans l’oeuvre de Blaise Cendrars

  • Albrecht Buschmann (Autor/in)


Blaise Cendrars (1887–1961) is regarded today as one of the most important voices in French literature on the First World War. In addition to a few poems written at the start of the war ("Shrapnells"), it was J'ai tué (1918), printed in red letters, that marked the author's image at the time. However, it was not until 1944, when he was reliving an experience of war, that he revisited his notebooks and a few unpublished texts to write La Main coupée (1946), a key book about the war that oscillates between a collection of stories, an autobiographical novel and an essay on the experience of physical pain.
Following an introduction to Cendrars's writings on the war, the analysis focuses on La Main coupée, highlighting the way in which the text was developed as a synthesis of inherited and avant-garde forms, all of which were subordinated to the aim of enabling the reader to grasp the experience of war.