Vercors

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VERCORS

VERCORS (pen name of Jean Bruller ; 1902–1991), French author and engraver. Born in Paris, an engineer by training, he published albums of satirical drawings before World War ii. During the Nazi occupation, Vercors founded the clandestine press, Editions de Minuit, launching it with the publication of his own novella, Le silence de la mer (1942; Put out the Light, 1944). This portrays a francophile and unusually humane German officer, who despite his dignified attitude and his profound understanding of France, ultimately proves incapable of resisting totalitarianism. Accclaimed as the first sign of French moral revival, the book was widely regarded as a minor masterpiece. La marche à l'Etoile (1943), which also appeared clandestinely, is based on memories of the writer's own father. A half-Jewish Hungarian settles in France, the land of freedom and justice. There, although legally exempt, he chooses to wear the yellow star. He finally comes to realize that the Vichy-French police are powerless tools of Nazi inhumanity, and his world crumbles.

A starkly humanitarian and ethical message pervades Vercors' works, which include Plus ou moins homme (1949); Les yeux et la lumière (1948); Les animaux dénaturés (1952); Colères (1956); Sylva (1961); and his wartime memoirs, La bataille du silence (1967). He also wrote for the theater and published albums of etchings. An essay of Jewish interest, "La sédition humaine et la pensée judaïque" (first published in Cahiers du Sud, no. 297, Dec. 1949), appeared in revised form in E.J. Finbert's Aspects du génie d'Israël (1950), 321–30.

bibliography:

R.D. Konstantinović, Vercors, écrivain et dessinateur (1969); K.F. Bieber, L'Allemagne vue par les écrivains de la Résistance française (1954), 126–44.

[Konrad Bieber]

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