French writer and journalist Robert Brasillach, on the left, posing next to Jacques Doriot, in the middle, on the East front about 1943. Photo: Inconnu

There has been much discussion about French writers of the Resistance during the Nazi occupation. Probably the most interesting irony that emerges is one of an inverse relationship between active participation in the Resistance and postwar zeal in hounding writers who collaborated. Among the most vengeful were Jean-Paul Sartre, his longtime companion Simone de Beauvoir, and the Communist husband-wife team of Louis Aragon and Elsa Triolet. Yet all four made negligible contributions to the Resistance and, as Tony Judt points out, were often accused of...

 
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