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February 1: Join Alice Kaplan in exploring writers' responsibilities and accountability



Award-winning author Alice Kaplan will discuss writers and responsibility, engagement and justice.

When: Thursday February 1, 7:30 PM
Where: Butler University, Jordan Hall 304

Alice Kaplan comes to Butler University as part of the Vivian S. Delbrook Writers Studio. Kaplan is a professor of romance studies, literature and history at Duke University. Her books include The Collaborator: The Trial and Execution of Robert Brasillach, which won The Los Angeles Times Book Prize in History. Most Americans don't know about Robert Brasillach, a writer who was executed after World War II for collaborating with the fascists. Executed for intellectual rather than political crimes, for not for what he did but for what he wrote. Kaplan calls him "the James Dean of French Fascism," although presumably not because of the way he looked.

What makes Kaplan's work on Brasillach as well as other aspects of French literary fascism is not (only) that her father was a prosecutor at the Nuremberg Trials after World War II. It is that her time at Yale coincided with the height of fashionability of Yale French professor Paul de Man. After de Man's death in 1983, it was revealed that he had himself written extensively for anti-semitic and pro-fascist newspapers in Belgium during the war.

This should be a very interesting talk. For interviews with Prof. Kaplan, go here and here. The Collaborator is a nicely written piece of history, you can read a chapter here. Here's an article that places Prof. Kaplan's work in a bigger context.

If this event sounds interesting, you should check out some other events that are curiously connected. Kaplan could help more sense of Europe, the emerging superpower in John McCormick's vision of the world (January 30). She also could help illuminate the Great Decisions groups' questions of war crimes and international justice to be discussed February 28 and March 13.

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