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Ian Curtis: Pleading Literature: Reading and Responsibility in a Postwar French Murder Case

The subject of this talk is borrowed from my book manuscript, The J3 Affair (1948-1951): Modern Literature and the Memory of Occupation in a Postwar Murder in France, which retraces and analyzes a judicial affair that contemporaries described as one of the most important criminal cases of twentieth-century France. “Pleading Literature” examines the numerous instances during the affair when canonical and popular works of fiction came under the scrutiny of journalists, psychiatrists, and judges. Tracing discussions about books and their authors among the protagonists of the affair, in the press, and in the courtroom, I explore the ideological differences these literary debates reveal and offer perspectives on the competing theories of juvenile crime onto which they can be mapped.

Learn more about the event here.