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Arsène Lupin goes to war

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)52-66
JournalNOTTINGHAM FRENCH STUDIES
Volume56
Issue number1
Early online date28 Feb 2017
DOIs
Accepted/In press10 Aug 2015
E-pub ahead of print28 Feb 2017
PublishedMar 2017

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Abstract

Despite significant scholarly interest in the cultural impact of the First World War, little critical attention has hitherto been paid to the way in which popular fiction responded to the experience of war. This article argues that the popular novel underwent its own crisis of representation during the First World War through a close reading of the three Arsène Lupin novels set between 1914 and 1918. The Lupin novels are a privileged site for examining this issue not only because of their immense success but also because the character of Lupin embodied a certain ideal of heroism that had emerged in the wake of the debacle of 1870. Testing that idea against the reality of industrialized warfare, the Lupin war novels demonstrate its friability, and through the development of an aesthetics of the uncanny register the trauma of war in unexpected and unexpectedly revealing ways.

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