May 29, 2012 at 2:21 pm | Posted in Economics, Eurozone, Financial, France, Globalization, History, Research | Leave a comment







Central bankers’ speeches for 29 May now available‏

Press, Service (

Tue 5/29/12

Central bankers’ speeches for 29 May 2012
now available on the BIS website

Christian Noyer: Challenges facing France’s Prudential Supervisory Authority

Glenn Stevens: Innovation, stability and the role of the Payments System Board

Christian Noyer: France’s Prudential Supervisory Authority and Financial Markets Authority – enhancing the protection of French consumers

Dimitar Bogov: Republic of Macedonia – celebrating monetary independence

Dimitar Bogov: Creating an environment for sustainable economic growth in Macedonia

Dimitar Bogov: Challenges of countries from South-Eastern Europe in the current economic and financial turbulence in the euro area

Dimitar Bogov: Promoting Macedonia’s cultural and historical values

All speeches from 1997 onwards are available from the BIS website at:


Bank for International Settlements



Phone: +41 61 280 8188

Bank for International Settlements (BIS)

Central bankers’ speeches for 29 May now available‏

Press, Service (

Tue 5/29/12



May 22, 2011 at 1:27 am | Posted in Books, France, History, Literary | Leave a comment










A Murky Business (Une Tenebreuse Affaire)

Honore de Balzac (Author)

Herbert J. Hunt (Translator, Introduction)

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

This novel covers the years 1803-6, when Napoleon was making himself first consul and then emperor.

It is also an early example of the detective story, in which the sinister, implacable police agent, Corentin, stalks his way towards vengeance on his aristocratic enemies.

Product Details:

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics
  • September 28, 1978
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140442715
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140442717

A Murky Business (Une Tenebreuse Affaire)  

Conspiracy theorists rejoice. Balzac weaves such a complex web. As Napoleon decides the fate of Europe, others are secretly deciding the fate of France.

From the streets of Paris, just beneath the Emperors nose, to the provincial farmers of Champaign; machinations with a flair not seen since the Borgias lead the reader along this rollercoaster.

A Murky Business (Une Tenebreuse Affaire)

A Murky Business is wonderful. The acute eye and superb writing of Balzac are put in service of a political mystery novel. Napoleon is trying to conquer Europe, and Fouche, his police chief (a fascinating historical character) is covering his back, doing all the dirty work. For Napoleon has powerful enemies who are conspiring to depose him. Malin is one of the conspirators, a man who buys a big house called Gondreville, in rural Champagne. Michú, his servant, helps her beautiful and rich neighbor, Lorence de Cynq-Cygne (one of Balzac’s strongest and smartest female characters) to get their cousins secretly into France. These guys, called Simeuse, are conspirators exiled by Napoleon. Fouche gets to know the Simeuses are back in France, and starts the search for them, kidnapping Malin.  It is a great novel with a very dark tone. There are spies, traitors, revenge and passion.  This novel should be much more famous, since it is magnificent entertainment and excellent literature.

A Murky Business (Une Tenebreuse Affaire)

Honore de Balzac (Author)



May 2, 2011 at 12:55 am | Posted in Books, France, History, Literary, Philosophy | Leave a comment










“Fundamentally speaking, man is what he hides”

“Man is what he conceals”

(Howard Fertig edition, 1989, pages 67 and 95)

The Walnut Trees of Altenburg

Andre Malraux

Product Details:

  • Pub. Date: March 1992
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press
  • Format: Paperback , 224pp
  • Series: Phoenix Fiction Series
  • ISBN-13: 9780226502892
  • ISBN: 0226502899
  • Edition Description: 1


“One of the key texts of Malraux’s work . . . [its] pages must be counted among the most haunting in all of twentieth century literature.”—Victor Brombert

“The description of the gas attack on the Russian front in 1915 will never be forgotten by anyone who has read it. . . . [Malraux] writes with the precision, the certitude and the authority of an obsessed person who knows that he has found the essence of what he has been looking for.”—Conor Cruise O’Brien, from the Foreword

Malraux’s greatest novel, Man’s Fate, gave a grim, lurid picture of human suffering. [The Walnut Trees of Altenburg], written by a life-long observer of violent upheaval and within the shadows of World War II, gives a calm, thoughtful vision of humanistic endeavor that can transcend the absurdity of existence. Mature readers will find this a rewarding visit to one of the most accomplished writers of our time.”—Choice

Library Journal

This is an outstanding translation of Malraux’s last novel, written during the early years of World War II. (The 1948 Gallimard French edition, Les Noyers de l’Altenburg , is no longer in print.) The famous pages describing the German poison gas attack on the Russians at the Eastern front in 1915 are as haunting as ever;human life and nature are sickeningly destroyed, leaving Vincent Berger, who experiences the horror, with the overwhelming and desperate urge simply to be happy. Themes present in Malraux’s earlier works–particularly the alienation of modern man caught between action and intellect, political forces and human freedom, permanence and change–are powerfully conveyed again by the author. English-speaking readers already familiar with Malraux’s writings will welcome this first English version.– Anthony Caprio, American Univ., Washington, D.C.


André Malraux (1901-76) served as Minister of Culture in Charles de Gaulle’s cabinet. His many works include Man’s Fate, Anti-Memoirs, The Conquerors, and The Temptation of the West, the latter two published by the University of Chicago Press.

“Fundamentally speaking, man is what he hides”

“Man is what he conceals”

(Howard Fertig edition, 1989, pages 67 and 95)



April 13, 2011 at 9:18 am | Posted in Africa, France, History | Leave a comment









Gaston Palewski (20 March 1901 – 3 September 1984)

Gaston Palewski (20 March 1901 – 3 September 1984), French politician, was a close associate of Charles de Gaulle during and after World War II.

He is also remembered as the lover of the English novelist Nancy Mitford, and appears in a fictionalized form in two of her novels.


Palewski was born in Paris, the son of an industrialist. His family was of Polish origin and had lived in France since the 19th century. He was educated at the Sorbonne, at the Ecole des Sciences Politiques and at Oxford University – he spoke excellent English and was a convinced Anglophile. Using family connections, he obtained a post with Marshal Hubert Lyautey, the French Resident-General in Morocco. In 1928 he became principal private secretary to Paul Reynaud, a leading politician who was then Minister for Finances and who became Prime Minister of France in March 1940. Through Reynaud, in 1934, he first met Charles de Gaulle, and became a supporter of his political and military views.

On the outbreak of war in 1939 Palewski was commissioned as a lieutenant in the French Air Force, and saw action following the German invasion of France in May 1940. He was in French North Africa at the time of the armistice of June 1940. Refusing to accept France’s defeat, he reached London at the end of August and joined de Gaulle’s Free French Forces. De Gaulle appointed him Director of Political Affairs of the Free French movement, and he played a leading role in negotiations between de Gaulle and the British government, which at first regarded de Gaulle with scepticism. In March 1941 he was given the rank of lieutenant-colonel and command of the Free French Army in East Africa, leading it against the Italian forces during the recapture of French Somaliland (now Djibouti).

In September 1942, he was recalled to London to become de Gaulle’s “Directeur du Cabinet,” a post in which he followed de Gaulle from London to Algiers in 1943 and then in August 1944 to liberated Paris.

He became known as de Gaulle’s “homme de confiance” (right-hand man), and his diplomatic skills and knowledge of the English made him invaluable to de Gaulle, who neither understood nor trusted them.

Palewski remained director of the de Gaulle’s cabinet (that is, his private office) until de Gaulle’s resignation as head of the Provisional Government in January 1946.

He then became a leading proponent of Gaullism and one of the founders of the first Gaullist party, the Rassemblement du Peuple Français (Rally of the French People, or RPF) in 1947. In 1951 he was elected to the National Assembly as an RPF deputy for the Department of the Seine (Paris). From 1953 to 1955 he was vice-president of the National Assembly. Following the failure of the RPF, however, he withdrew from politics. In 1957, at de Gaulle’s request, he was appointed Ambassador to Italy, a post he held until 1962. In 1962 Palewski was appointed by Prime Minister George Pompidou as Minister of State in charge of Scientific Research, Atomic Energy and Space Questions, the first French minister with specific responsibility for such matters. On 1 May 1962 Palewski witnessed the French underground nuclear test codenamed “Beryl” in Algeria. The test shaft failed to contain the blast and he was exposed to radiation as result of a leak of radioactive lava and dust into the atmosphere. He believed that the leukemia which he contracted later in life was caused by this accident.[1] From 1965 to 1974 he was President of the Constitutional Council of France. Palewski died of leukaemia in 1984, aged 83.

Decorations and honorary positions

After 1974 he held a number of honorary posts. An amateur painter of some talent, he was a member of the Académie des Beaux-Arts.

Because of his high office and his record in the war Palewski was awarded several French decorations. After his term as an ambassador to the Italian government, not to the Holy See, he was awarded an Italian Grand Cross.


In his personal life, Palewski was a notorious and reckless womaniser, and this earned him a reputation for frivolity that damaged his prospects for a serious political career. Only his standing with de Gaulle, to whom he was devoted and totally loyal, enabled him to hold high office. During the war in London he met the English writer and society figure Nancy Mitford, and began with her a long, passionate but intermittent affair. They were separated during the latter part of the war, but in 1946 she moved permanently to Paris, and their relationship, though never public, lasted until her death in 1973. This did not prevent him becoming involved with many other women. In 1969, without formally ending his affair with Mitford – he was with her when she died – he married Helen-Violette de Talleyrand-Périgord (1915–2003), duchesse de Sagan, the daughter of the seventh duc de Talleyrand and his wife Anna Gould. The two had been having a long affair prior to the duchesse’s divorce from her first husband and had had a son out of wedlock.

In the English-speaking world Palewski is known chiefly through his appearance as Fabrice, duc de Sauveterre, in two of Nancy Mitford’s novels, The Pursuit of Love (1945) and Love in a Cold Climate (1949). The first of these contains a fairly accurate portrayal of their relationship, although it is moved from postwar to prewar Paris. Despite Mitford’s love for Palewski, she depicted him in a very clear-eyed way in these novels, with no attempt to disguise his many infidelities. He took no offence at this, and when Mitford proposed to dedicate The Pursuit of Love to “The Colonel,” he insisted on his real name being used.


  1. 1.



March 17, 2011 at 9:55 am | Posted in Art, Film, France, Globalization, History | Leave a comment









L’heure d’été

“Summer Hours”

“Summer Hours” is a 2008 movie by French director Olivier Assayas and deals with the disposition, selling, donating of art objects in the household of a deceased artist Mr. Paul Berthier, after the death of the seventy-five year-old matriarch of the family.

One of the artists and his creations in the story of this house and the estate, a kind of Paul Berthier shrine and museum,  is Felix Bracquemond.

“He was also a painter, ceramist, and an innovator in decorative arts. Gabriel Weisberg called him the “molder of artistic taste in his time”.[1] Indeed it was he who recognised the beauty of the Hokusai woodcuts used as packing around a shipment of Japanese china, a discovery which helped change the look of late 19th century art.[2]”

Félix Bracquemond

(May 22, 1833 – October 29, 1914)

Félix Henri Bracquemond (May 22, 1833 – October 29, 1914) was a French painter and etcher.

Félix Bracquemond was born in Paris. He was trained in early youth as a trade lithographer, until Guichard, a pupil of Ingres, took him to his studio. His portrait of his grandmother, painted by him at the age of nineteen, attracted Théophile Gautier‘s attention at the Salon. He applied himself to engraving and etching about 1853, and played a leading and brilliant part in the revival of the etcher’s art in France. Altogether he produced over eight hundred plates, comprising portraits, landscapes, scenes of contemporary life, and bird-studies, besides numerous interpretations of other artist’s paintings, especially those of Jean-Louis-Ernest Meissonier, Gustave Moreau and Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot. After having been attached to the Sèvres porcelain factory in 1870, he accepted a post as art manager of the Paris atelier of the firm of Haviland of Limoges. He was connected by a link of firm friendship with Édouard Manet, James McNeill Whistler, and all the other fighters in the impressionist cause, and received all the honors that await the successful artist in France, including the grade of officer of the Legion of Honor in 1889.

Bracquemond was a prominent figure in artistic and literary circles in the second half of the 19th century. He was close to writers such as Edmond de Goncourt and critic Gustave Geffroy, and numbered among his friends Millet and Corot, Henri Fantin-Latour, Degas and the Impressionist circle, and Auguste Rodin. He was one of the more prolific printmakers of his time and he was awarded the grande medaille d’honneur at the Universal Exhibition of 1900.

He was also a painter, ceramist, and an innovator in decorative arts. Gabriel Weisberg called him the “molder of artistic taste in his time”.[1] Indeed it was he who recognised the beauty of the Hokusai woodcuts used as packing around a shipment of Japanese china, a discovery which helped change the look of late 19th century art.[2]

He married French Impressionist artist Marie Bracquemond in 1869. He died in Sèvres.


1. Weisberg, Gabriel (September 1976). “Félix Bracquemond and the Molding of French Taste”. Artnews: 64–66.

2. Bouillon, Jean-Paul (1980). “Remarques sur la Japonisme de Bracquemond”. Japonisme in Art, Art Symposium (Tokyo: Kodansha International): 83–108.

Haviland & Co.

Théodore Haviland


David Haviland was an American businessman from New York dealing with porcelain. While seeking out new business interests, he arrived in Limoges, France and by 1842, he was able to send his first shipment of Limoges porcelain to the United States. He was also key in adopting a new process by which to decorate porcelain pieces developed in 1873. [1]

In 1890, David Haviland’s son, Théodore Haviland, built a very large and prominent factory in Limoges and introduced a variety of new processes for firing and decorating porcelain pieces. The Haviland company has since been overseen by grandson William Haviland, and great-grandson Theodore Haviland II.

Present Day

Haviland & Co. is still operating as Haviland Company, through the facilities are now modernized and now sell silverware, crystal, and giftware in addition to porcelain.


Haviland porcelain is highly desirable Limoges porcelain. Many of the older pieces are still in existence and are desirable as an antique or collectible item. It is estimated that there are as many as 60,000 Haviland porcelain patterns,[2] though it is difficult to determine as many of the patterns have never been formally named or catalogued, and factory records are incomplete. Attempts to catalogue the pieces have resulted in several systems, including the creation of Schleiger numbers, and informal naming by collectors.

Schleiger Numbers

This numbering system was developed by Arlene Schleiger beginning in the 1930s and was published in 6 volumes, and covered approximately 4000 examples of Haviland & Co. porcelain.[3]

Prominent examples

Haviland has produced many prominent pieces, including:


1. Haviland History

2. Haviland Online

3. What is a Schleiger Number?

4. The White House during Mary and Abraham Lincoln’s Residence



March 9, 2011 at 7:18 pm | Posted in Arabs, France, History, United Kingdom | Leave a comment









Morocco French Coups and Churchill

Thami El Glaoui (1879 – 23 January 1956)

El Haj T’hami el Mezouari el Glaoui (1879 – 23 January 1956), better known in English-speaking countries as T’hami El Glaoui or Lord of the Atlas, was a Berber Pasha of Marrakech from 1912 to 1956. His family name was El Mezouari, from a title given an ancestor by Sultan Moulay Ismail in 1700, while El Glaoui refers to his chieftainship of the Glaoua (Arabic) or Aglawou (Chleuh) tribe of Southern Morocco, based at the Kasbah of Telouet in the High Atlas and at Marrakech.

He became head of the Glaoua upon the death of his elder Brother Si el Madani, and as an ally of the French in Morocco conspired with them in the overthrow of the king, Sultan Mohammed V.

The Feudal Warlord

Until the second half of the 20th century, Moroccan society was in a state of feudalism very close to that which pertained in Europe during medieval times. At the top was the sultan, who held the two positions of king (temporal ruler) and imām (spiritual leader). His court, or central government (Makhzen), was headed by a Grand Vizier. The next tier of government was provided by a large number of pashas (from the Persian padshah, literally: viceroy) and caïds (the equivalent of European dukes, barons etc.) whose responsibilities were to collect taxes and keep order, to which ends they often kept private armies. Under them were the mass of ordinary commoners whose responsibilities were to pay taxes, obey their local master and provide him with troops when necessary.

T’hami was born in 1879 to the caïd of Telouet, Si Mohammed ben Hammou and his Ethiopian concubine Zora. When Si Mohammed died in 1888, his eldest son Si el Madani took over his father’s position with the teenaged T’hami as his assistant.[1]

In the autumn of 1893, Sultan Moulay Hassan and his army were crossing the High Atlas mountains after a tax-gathering expedition when they were caught in a blizzard. They were rescued by Si Madani and T’hami, and the grateful Sultan bestowed on Si Madani caïdats from Tafilalt to the Sous. In addition, he presented the Glaoua arsenal with a working 77-mm Krupp cannon, the only such weapon in Morocco outside the imperial army. The Glaoua army, used this weapon to subdue rival warlords.[1]

In 1902, Madani, T’hami and the Glaoua force joined the imperial army of Moulay Abdelaziz as it marched against the pretender Bou Hamara. The Sultan’s forces were routed by the pretender. Madani became a scapegoat, and spent months of humiliation at court before being allowed to return home. He thereupon began to actively work to depose Moulay Abdelaziz. This was achieved in 1907 with the enthronement of Moulay Hafid, who rewarded the Glaoua by appointing Si Madani as his Grand Vizier, and T’hami as Pasha of Marrakech.[1]

French Influence

The ruinous reigns of Moulay Abdelaziz and Moulay Hafid bankrupted Morocco and led first to riots, then to armed intervention by the French to protect their citizens and financial interests. As the situation worsened, a scapegoat once again had to be found, and again it was the Glaoua. Moulay Hafid accused Madani of keeping back tax money, and in 1911 stripped all Glaoua family members of their positions.[1]

In 1912 the Sultan was forced to sign the Treaty of Fez, which gave the French immense control over the Sultan, his pashas and caïds. Later that year, the pretender El Hiba entered Marrakech with his army and demanded of the new Pasha, Driss Mennou (who had replaced T’hami), that he hand over all foreign Christians as hostages. These had sought refuge with the former Pasha, T’hami, who had tried previously but failed to get them out of the district. T’hami handed over the hostages, except for a sergeant whom he hid and supplied with a line of communication with the approaching French army. The French scattered El Hiba‘s warriors, and Driss Mennou ordered his men to overpower El Hiba‘s guards and liberate the hostages. These then went to T’hami’s place to collect their belongings, and were found there by the French army in circumstances which suggested T’hami alone had saved them. T’hami was restored to his position as Pasha on the spot.[1] Seeing that the French were now the only effective power, T’hami aligned himself with them.

Lord of the Atlas

Madani died in 1918. The French immediately repaid T’hami’s support by appointing him the head of the family ahead of Madani’s sons. Only Si Hammou, Madani’s son-in-law, managed to remain in his position as caïd of the Glawa, based in Telouet (and therefore in charge of its arsenal). Not until Hammou died in 1934 did T’hami get full control of his legacy.[1]

From that time on, T’hami’s wealth and influence grew. His position as Pasha enabled him to acquire great wealth by means which were often dubious,[1] with interests in agriculture and mineral resources. His personal style and charm, as well as his prodigality with his wealth, made him many friends among the international fashionable set of the day. He visited the European capitals often, while his visitors at Marrakech included Winston Churchill, Colette, Maurice Ravel, Charlie Chaplin.[2]

The Pasha attended the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II as a private guest of Churchill but his lavish gifts of a jewelled crown and an ornate dagger were refused as it was not customary for gifts to be received from individuals not representing a government.[1]

According to his son Abdessadeq, one of the principal means by which he acquired great landholdings was that he was able to buy land at cheap prices during times of drought. During one such drought, he constructed an irrigated private golf course at Marrakech, at which Churchill often played. When the French protested about the waste of water, they were easily silenced by granting playing rights to the top officials.[2]

T’hami had two wives: Lalla Zineb, mother of his sons Hassan and Abdessadeq and widow of his brother Si Madani; and Lalla Fadna, by whom he had a son Mehdi and a daughter Khaddouj. Mehdi was killed fighting in the French forces at Cassino. T’hami also had a number of concubines, of whom he had children by three: Lalla Kamar (sons Brahim, Abdellah, Ahmed and Madani), Lalla Nadida (son Mohammed and daughter Fattouma) and Lalla Zoubida (daughter Saadia). The first two of these had originally entered T’hami’s harem as musicians imported from Turkey.[2]

The Nationalists

As part of the resistance against the French Occupation, a political party, the Istiqlal had started up with a nationalist (i.e. anti-colonialist) policy. T’hami and his son Brahim were supporters of the French, but several of T’hami’s other sons were nationalists.[2] This could be risky; he had one of them imprisoned in a dungeon.[1]

T’hami had grown up and lived most of his life as a feudal warlord, and so had many of the other pashas and caïds. Their opposition to the nationalists was based on conservatism:[2]

  • The only line of communication between the people and the Sultan was by means of the pashas and caïds; this was the route by which tax money found its way to the Makhzen. No-one – certainly not the nationalists, who were mostly commoners – should breach this protocol. The pashas and caïds believed that this social order was to the benefit of their subjects as well as themselves. This was perhaps true to this extent: any pasha or caïd expressing a nationalist sympathy was likely to be stripped of his position by the French and replaced by either a puppet or even a French official to the detriment of their subjects.
  • As well as challenging traditional political power, the nationalists were also held to be responsible for endangering the spiritual leadership. Traditional religious sensibilities amongst the pashas and caïds were outraged by media pictures of royal princesses in bathing suits at the beach or by the pool. The nationalists were held to blame for introducing the Sultan to such new-fangled anti-Islamic ideas.

Thami was not opposed to nationalism (in the sense of being against French colonialism) in itself, but was offended that it seemed to be associated with an upset of the established temporal and spiritual authority of the Sultan.


Two incidents led up to the rupture of relations between T’hami and Sultan Mohammed V.[2]

  • Mesfioua incident: On 18 November 1950 nationalists staged a demonstration at a tomb in the ruins of Aghmat. This was brutally suppressed by police acting on the orders of the local caïd of the Mesfioua tribe. The Sultan, on hearing of this, commanded the caïd to appear before him to explain himself. This order would normally have gone to the caïd’s superior, T’hami, but he was in Paris and it went instead to his deputy, his son Brahim. Brahim, instead of obeying, decided to consult his father, but omitted to obtain a definite response. The end result was that the Sultan’s order was not carried out, and the Sultan gained the impression that the Glaoui family had deliberately ignored it.
  • Laghzaoui incident: the French had set up a Council of the Throne supposedly to advise the Sultan, but in reality to impose policy upon him. At a meeting of the Council on 6 December 1950, Mohammed Laghzaoui, a nationalist, was expelled by the person who effectively controlled the Council, the French Resident. The other nationalist members left with him, and were immediately received in private audience with the Sultan. This confirmed to T’hami that the nationalists and the Sultan were breaching established protocols of communication.

The Rupture

At the annual Feast of Mouloud it was customary for the Sultan’s subjects to renew their vows of loyalty to him. This was done in private audiences with the pashas and caïds, and by a public demonstration by their assembled tribespeoples. T’hami’s audience took place on 23 December 1950. Prior to this, Moulay Larbi El Alaoui, a member of the Makhzen had reportedly primed the Sultan to expect trouble from T’hami.[1] The Sultan let it be known that he expected the audience to conform to the traditional pledges of loyalty with no political content. T’hami, however, started off by blaming the Mesfioua and Laghzaoui incidents on the nationalists. When the Sultan calmly responded that he considered the nationalists to be loyal Moroccans, T’hami exploded into a diatribe to which the Sultan could only sit speechless, judging it was better not to provoke a man who clearly had lost control of his passions.[2] After T’hami exhausted himself, the Sultan continued his silence so T’hami left the palace. The Sultan then conferred with his Grand Vizier and Moulay Larbi and gave orders that T’hami was barred from appearing before him until further notice. After the Grand Vizier left to recall T’hami to receive this order, the next two caïds were admitted for their audience. As it happened these were Brahim and Mohammed, T’hami’s sons, who were caïds in their own right. Brahim attempted to smooth things over by saying that T’hami had only spoken as a father might to his son. Suggesting that this was an acceptable way for a subject to speak to a king was in itself a breach of protocol which only made matters worse.[2] When T’hami arrived back at the palace, the Grand Vizier told him that both he and his family were no longer welcome. T’hami then sent his assembled tribespeoples and subordinate caïds home without waiting for the customary public demonstration of loyalty; this action was construed by the palace as open mutiny.[2]


T’hami regarded the Sultan’s order as a personal insult that must be wiped out at all costs.[2] In addition, the Makhzen was dominated by Fassis (those from the city of Fez), and there was a traditional mutual distrust between the Fassis and those from Marrakech. In T’hami’s memory was of the humiliation of himself and his brother Si Madani at the hands of a Fassi-dominated Makhzen during the reigns of Moulay Abdelaziz and Moulay Hafid.[2]

From that moment on he conspired with Abd El Hay Kittani and the French to replace Mohammed V with a new sultan, an elderly member of the royal family named Ben Arafa.

On 17 August 1953, Kittani and the Glaoui unilaterally declared Ben Arafa to be the country’s imām. On 25 August 1953, the French Resident had the Sultan and his family forcibly seized and deported to exile, and Ben Arafa was proclaimed the new sultan.[1]


T’hami had already participated in one dethronement of a sultan in 1907, which had been met with popular indifference. With this “ossified” memory in mind, he never expected another dethronement would lead to an insurrection. The great mistake made by T’hami and his associated pashas and caïds, according to his son Abdessadeq, was that unlike Mohammed V they simply failed to realise that by 1950 Moroccan society had evolved to the stage where feudal government was no longer acceptable to their subjects.[2]

A popular uprising began, directed mainly against the French but also against their Moroccan supporters. French citizens were massacred, the French forces responded with equal brutality, and French colonists began a campaign of terrorism against anyone (Moroccan or French) who expressed nationalist sympathies. T’hami was the target of a grenade attack, which did not however injure him. His chamberlain Haj Idder (formerly a slave of Si Madani) was injured in another such attack, and on recovery came to oppose the French.[2] Finally, an all-out war began in the Rif.

Rallying to the Sultan

T’hami at first forcefully supported the French, machine-gun in hand if necessary.[1] He was shaken, however, by the political “reforms” which the French began to demand to consolidate their hold on power, which would have had the same outcome as what he had feared from the nationalists: the eventual removal of the pashas and caïds.[2]

The French government, unnerved by way the country was rapidly becoming ungovernable, slowly began to think about how it might undo what had happened. T’hami detected this and equally slowly became as receptive to his nationalist son Abdessadeq as he had formerly been to his pro-French son Brahim. Ben Arafa abdicated on 1 August 1955. The French brought Mohammed V to France from exile, but also created a “Council of the Throne” as a caretaker government.

T’hami now no longer believed in anything the French said, and pointedly refused them support to suppress a student strike. By 17 October, T’hami had decided to notify the French and their Council that he supported the restoration of Mohammed V as Sultan. This notification was never sent, apparently because Brahim became aware of his intention and began his own negotiations with French interests. T’hami was shocked into a sudden suspicion that Brahim may have been planning to supersede him.[2]

To forestall this, Abdessadeq arranged a meeting between his father and leading nationalists, which took place over dinner on 25 October. At this meeting an announcement was drawn up in which T’hami recognized Mohammed V as rightful Sultan.[2] The next day, as soon as T’hami had addressed the Council of the Throne, the announcement was read out by Abdessadeq to a waiting crowd and simultaneously released to the media by nationalists in Cairo. The whole of Morocco was now united in the demand for the Sultan’s restoration, and the French had no choice but to capitulate.

T’hami flew to France and on 8 November 1955 knelt in submission before Mohammed V, who forgave him his past mistakes.


El Glaoui was one of the world’s richest men. He took a tithe of the almond, saffron and olive harvests in his vast domain, owned huge blocks of stock in French-run mines and factories, and received a rebate on machinery and automobiles imported into his realm. As a sideline, he reputedly took a cut of the earnings of 27,000 prostitutes operating in the Marrakech area. El Glaoui’s fortune was somewhere in the neighborhood of $50 million at the time.[3]


El Glaoui died of stomach cancer on 23 January 1956, not long after the return of the Sultan. His properties and wealth were later seized by the state.[4]

Abdessadeq El Glaoui, the son of Thami El Glaoui, and a past Moroccan ambassador to the USA, has written a book about his father and his relations with the French and the monarchy.[2][5]

Hassan El Glaoui, another son of T’hami, is one of the best-known Moroccan figurative painters, with works selling for hundreds of thousands of dirhams.

Mehdi El Glaoui, the grandson of Thami El Glaoui, is famous for his role as Sébastien in the television series Belle et Sébastien


1.                              a b c d e f g h i j k l Source: G. Maxwell, see References below

2.                              a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q Source: Abdessadeq El Glaoui, see References below.

3.                    ,9171,809500-1,00.html

4.                              article by Driss Ksikes (in French), Telquel Online (Moroccan Magazin), vol. 136, July 2004 “El Glaoui. Portrait d’un collabo”

5.                              Interview (in French) with Abdessadeq El Glaoui in Hebdo Press (2004) Maroc Hebdo


Morocco French Coups and Churchill

Thami El Glaoui (1879 – 23 January 1956)



February 22, 2011 at 2:17 am | Posted in Books, Economics, Financial, France, Literary | Leave a comment










L’Argent (Money) is the eighteenth novel in the Rougon-Macquart series by Émile Zola.

Author Émile Zola
Country France
Language French
Series Les Rougon-Macquart
Genre(s) Novel
Publisher Charpentier & Fasquelle (book form)
Publication date 1890-1891 (serial) & 1891 (book form)
Media type Print (Serial, Hardback & Paperback)
Preceded by La Bête Humaine
Followed by La Débâcle

L’Argent (Money) is the eighteenth novel in the Rougon-Macquart series by Émile Zola. It was serialized in the periodical Gil Blas beginning in November 1890 before being published in novel form by Charpentier et Fasquelle in March 1891. It was translated into English (as Money) by Benj. R. Tucker in 1891 and by Ernest A. Vizetelly in 1894 (new edition 1904; reprinted 1991 and 2007).

The novel focuses on the financial world of the Second French Empire as embodied in the Paris Bourse and exemplified by the fictional character of Aristide Saccard. Zola’s intent was to show the terrible effects of speculation and fraudulent company promotion, the culpable negligence of company directors, and the impotency of contemporary financial laws.

Aristide Saccard (b. 1815 as Aristide Rougon) is the youngest son of Pierre and Félicité Rougon. He is first introduced in La fortune des Rougon. L’argent is a direct sequel to La curée (published in 1871), which details Saccard’s first rise to wealth using underhanded methods. Sensing his unscrupulous nature, his brother Eugène Rougon prompts Aristide to change his surname from Rougon to Saccard.

Aristide’s other brother Pascal is the main character of Le docteur Pascal. He also has two sisters: Sidonie, who appears in La curée, and Marthe, one of the protagonists of La conquête de Plassans.

Plot summary

The novel takes place in 1864-1869, beginning a few months after the death of Saccard’s second wife Renée (see La curée). Saccard is bankrupt and an outcast among the Bourse financiers. Searching for a way to reestablish himself, Saccard is struck by plans developed by his upstairs neighbor, the engineer Georges Hamelin, who dreams of restoring Christianity to the Middle East through great public works: rail lines linking important cities, improved roads and transportation, renovated eastern Mediterranean ports, and fleets of modern ships to move goods around the world.

Saccard decides to institute a financial establishment to fund these projects. He is motivated primarily by the potential to make incredible amounts of money and reestablish himself on the Bourse. In addition, Saccard has an intense rivalry with his brother Eugène Rougon, a powerful Cabinet minister who refuses to help him after his bankruptcy and who is promoting a more liberal, less Catholic agenda for the Empire. Furthermore, Saccard, an intense anti-Semite, sees the enterprise as a strike against the Jewish bankers who dominate the Bourse. (In a footnote, Ernest A. Vizetelly, the first British translator of L’argent, draws a distinction between Zola’s depiction of this aspect of Saccard’s character and Zola’s personal pro-Jewish beliefs as manifested in the later Dreyfus affair.)

From the beginning, Saccard’s Banque Universelle (Universal Bank) stands on shaky ground. In order to manipulate the price of the stock, Saccard and his confreres on the syndicate he has set up to jumpstart the enterprise buy their own stock and hide the proceeds of this illegal practice in a dummy account fronted by a straw man.

While Hamelin travels to Constantinople to lay the groundwork for their enterprise, the Banque Universelle goes from strength to strength. Stock prices soar, going from 500 francs a share to more than 3,000 francs in three years. Furthermore, Saccard buys several newspapers which serve to maintain the illusion of legitimacy, promote the Banque, excite the public, and attack Rougon.

The novel follows the fortunes of about 20 characters, cutting across all social strata, showing the effects of stock market speculation on rich and poor.

The financial events of the novel are played against Saccard’s personal life. Hamelin lives with his sister Caroline, who, against her better judgment, invests in the Banque Universelle and later becomes Saccard’s mistress. Caroline learns that Saccard fathered a son, Victor, during his first days in Paris. She rescues Victor from his life of abject poverty, placing him in a charitable institution. But Victor is completely unredeemable, given over to greed, laziness, and thievery. After he attacks one of the women at the institution, he disappears into the streets, never to be seen again.

Eventually, the Banque Universelle cannot sustain itself. Saccard’s principal rival on the Bourse, the Jewish financier Gundermann, learns about Saccard’s financial trickery and attacks, loosing stock upon the market, devaluing its price, and forcing Saccard to buy millions of shares to keep the price up. At the final collapse, the Banque holds one-fourth of its own shares worth 200 million francs. The fall of the Banque is felt across the entire financial world. Indeed, all of France feels the force of its collapse. The effects on the characters of L’argent are disastrous, including complete ruin, suicide, and exile, though some of Saccard’s syndicate members escape and Gundermann experiences a windfall. Saccard and Hamelin are sentenced to five years in prison. Through the intervention of Rougon, who doesn’t want a brother in jail, their sentences are commuted and they are forced to leave France. Saccard goes to Belgium, and the novel ends with Caroline preparing to follow her brother to Rome.

Historical background

Because the financial world is closely linked with politics, L’argent encompasses many historical events, including:

By the end of the novel, the stage is set for the Franco-Prussian War (1870-1871) and the fall of the Second Empire.

Relation to the Other Rougon-Macquart Novels

Zola’s plan for the Rougon-Macquart novels was to show how heredity and environment worked on members of one family over the course of the Second Empire. All of the descendants of Adelaïde Fouque (Tante Dide), Saccard’s grandmother, demonstrate what today would be called obsessive-compulsive behaviors to varying degrees. Saccard is obsessed with money and the building of wealth, to which everything in his life holds second place. In Le docteur Pascal, Zola describes the influence of heredity on Saccard as an “adjection” in which the natures of his avaricious parents are commingled.

Two other members of the Rougon-Macquart family also appear in L’argent: Saccard’s sons Maxime (b. 1840) and Victor (b. 1853). If his father’s obsession is with building wealth, Maxime’s obsession is with keeping it. A widower, Maxime (who played a central role in La curée) lives alone in opulence he does not share. In Le docteur Pascal, Maxime is described as prematurely aged, afraid of pleasure and indeed of all life, devoid of emotion, and cold, characteristics introduced in L’argent. Maxime is described as a “dissemination” of characteristics, having the moral prepotency of his father and the pampered egotism of his mother (Saccard’s first wife).

Victor, on the other hand, brought up in squalor, is the furthest extreme Zola illustrates of the Rougon family’s degeneracy. Like his great-grandmother Tante Dide, Victor suffers from neuralgic attacks. Unlike Jacques Lantier (his second cousin, see La bête humaine), he is unable to control his criminal impulses, and his disappearance into the streets of Paris is no surprise. Victor is described as a “fusion” of the lowest characteristics of his parents (his mother was a prostitute).

In Le docteur Pascal (set in 1872), Zola tells us that Saccard returns to Paris, institutes a newspaper, and is again making piles of money.

Rougon is the protagonist of Son Excellence Eugène Rougon, the events of which predate L’argent. Saccard’s daughter Clotilde (b. 1847) is the main female character in Le docteur Pascal.

La Curée

La Curée
Author Émile Zola
Country France
Language French
Series Les Rougon-Macquart
Genre(s) Novel
Publication date 1872
Preceded by La Fortune des Rougon
Followed by Le Ventre de Paris

La Curée (1871-2; English: The Kill) is the second novel in Émile Zola‘s twenty-volume series Les Rougon-Macquart. It deals with property speculation and the lives of the extremely wealthy Nouveau riche class of the Second Empire, against the backdrop of Baron Haussmann‘s reconstruction of Paris in the 1850s and 1860s.

Vastly different from its predecessor and prequel La Fortune des Rougon, La Curée – literally the portion of the game thrown to the dogs after a hunt, usually translated as The Kill – is a tightly-focused character study centred on three distinctive personalities: Aristide Rougon (renamed “Saccard“)–the youngest son of the ruthless and calculating peasant Pierre Rougon and the bourgeois Félicité (by whom he is much spoiled), both of them Bonapartistes and consumed by a desire for wealth–, Aristide’s young second wife Renée (his first dying not long after their move from provincial Plassans to Paris), and Maxime, Aristide’s foppish son from his first marriage.

The novel was first translated (translator unknown) very poorly and with many bowdlerizations and reissued by Henry Vizetelly in the 1880s and 1890s under the title The Rush for the Spoil, with an introduction by George Moore. A superior translation was undertaken by the poet and critic Alexander Texeira de Mattos, first published in a limited edition of 300 deluxe copies in 1895. This translation, titled The Kill, became the standard English text of the novel for over a century. In 2004, two new English editions were published, translated by Arthur Goldhammer (Modern Library) and Brian Nelson (Oxford World’s Classics); both translations were received with acclaim.

Plot summary

La Curée

A career in property speculation is born

The book opens with scenes of astonishing opulence, beginning with Renée and Maxime lazing in a luxurious horse-drawn carriage, very slowly leaving a Parisian park (the Bois de Boulogne) in the 19th century-equivalent of a traffic jam. It is made clear very early on that these are staggeringly wealthy characters not subject to the cares and difficulties faced by the everyday public; they arrive back at their enormous mansion and spend hours being dressed by their legions of servants prior to hosting a banquet attended by some of the richest and most powerful people in Paris. There seems to be almost no continuity between this scene and the end of the previous novel, until the second chapter begins and Zola reveals that this opulent scene takes place almost fourteen years after the end of the first book. Zola then rewinds time to pick up the story practically minutes after La Fortune ended.

Following Eugene Rougon‘s rise to political power in Paris as mentioned in La Fortune, his younger brother Aristide – featured in the first novel as a talentless journalist, a comic character unable to commit unequivocally to the imperial cause and thus left out in the cold when the rewards were being handed out – decides to follow Eugene to Paris to help himself to the wealth and power he now believes to be his birthright. Eugene promises to help Aristide achieve these things on the condition that he stay out of his way, and change his surname to avoid the possibility of bad publicity from Aristide’s escapades rubbing off on Eugene and damaging his political chances.

Aristide chooses the surname Saccard, and Eugene gets him a seemingly mundane job at the city planning permission office. The renamed Saccard soon realises that, far from the disappointment he thought the job would be, he is actually in a position to gain insider information on the houses and other buildings that are to be demolished to build Paris’ bold new system of boulevards and wide avenues. Knowing that the owners of these properties ordered to be demolished by the city government were compensated handsomely, Saccard contrives to borrow some money in order to start buying up these properties before their doomed status becomes public knowledge, and then raking in the compensation for massive profits.

Saccard is at first unable to make much headway because he cannot lay his hands on the money to make his initial investments, but then his wife falls victim to a terminal illness. Even while she lies dying in the next room, Saccard – in a brilliantly written scene of breathtaking callousness – is already making arrangements to marry a rich country girl, Renée, who is pregnant with the child of a local labourer and whose family wishes to avoid any scandal by offering a huge dowry to any man who will marry her and claim the baby as his own. Saccard accepts this role, and his career in property speculation is born. He sends his youngest daughter back home to Plassans in the south of France, and packs his older son Maxime off to a Parisian boarding school; we meet Maxime again when he leaves school several years later and meets his new stepmother Renée, who is only a couple of years older than he is.

The flashback complete, the rest of the novel takes place after Saccard has made his enormous fortune, against the backdrop of his luxurious mansion and his astounding profligacy, and is concerned with a three-cornered plot of sexual and political intrigue. Renée and Maxime begin a semi-incestuous love affair, which Saccard suspects but appears to tolerate, perhaps due to the almost purely commercial nature of his marriage to Renée in the first place; at the same time, Saccard is trying to get Renée to part with the deeds to her ancestral family home, which would be worth millions to him but which she refuses to give up. The novel continues in this vein with the tensions continuing to mount, and culminates in a series of bitter observations by Zola on the hypocrisy and immorality of the nouveau riche.

A near-penniless journalist at the time of writing La Curée, Zola himself had no experience whatsoever of the scenes he describes in the novel. In order to counter this lack of first-hand knowledge he toured a large number of stately homes and gardens around France, taking copious notes on subjects like architecture, ladies’ and men’s fashions, jewellery, garden layouts, greenhouse plants (a very erotically-charged seduction scene takes place in Saccard’s cavernous hothouse), carriages, mannerisms, servantsliveries and so on; these notes (many volumes of which are preserved amongst the novelist’s papers) were time well spent, as many contemporary reviewers and observers praised the novel for its realism.

Roger Vadim updated the setting to modern-day Paris in a movie adaptation by Jean Cau, starring Jane Fonda, Michel Piccoli and Peter McEnery, in 1966. The film was released in English-speaking markets as The Game is Over.

Les Rougon-Macquart by Émile Zola
La Fortune des RougonLa CuréeLe Ventre de ParisLa Conquête de PlassansLa Faute de l’Abbé MouretSon Excellence Eugène RougonL’AssommoirUne Page d’amourNanaPot-BouilleAu Bonheur des DamesLa Joie de vivreGerminalL’ŒuvreLa TerreLe RêveLa Bête humaineL’ArgentLa DébâcleLe Docteur Pascal

Key themes

Primary characters

  • Aristide (Rougon) Saccard, speculator
  • Renée Saccard, wife of Aristide Saccard
  • Maxime Rougon, dandy
  • Angèle Rougon, entremetteuse
  • Eugène Rougon, politician
  • Madame Lauwerens, entremetteuse
  • Louise, fiancée of Maxime, hunchback
  • Suzanne Haffner & Adeline d’Espanet, Renée’s best friends, also a lesbian couple

Critical works

Les Rougon-Macquart by Émile Zola



February 21, 2011 at 9:54 pm | Posted in Art, Film, France, Germany, History, Literary | Leave a comment









Soundtrack for

  • · “La Marseillaise”
    (1792) (uncredited)
    Written by Claude Joseph Rouget de Lisle
    Arranged by Max Steiner
    Played during the opening credits
    Sung by Madeleine Lebeau and others at Rick’s
    Variations played often in the score

  • ·It Had to Be You”
    (1924) (uncredited)
    Music by Isham Jones
    Lyrics by Gus Kahn
    Played during the opening shot of Rick’s Café
    Performed by Dooley Wilson (piano dubbed by Elliot Carpenter)
    Also played when Laszlo and Ilsa return to Rick’s

  • · “Shine”
    (1910) (uncredited)
    Music by Ford Dabney
    Lyrics by Lew Brown and Cecil Mack
    Performed by Dooley Wilson during the opening scene at Rick’s (piano dubbed by Elliot Carpenter)

  • · “Crazy Rhythm”
    (1928) (uncredited)
    Music by Joseph Meyer and Roger Wolfe Kahn
    Played when Rick turns the man away and then talks to Ugarte
    (originally from the 1928 Broadway musical “Here’s Howe!”)

  • ·Knock on Wood”
    (1942) (uncredited)
    Music by M.K. Jerome
    Lyrics by Jack Scholl
    Performed by Dooley Wilson and band (piano dubbed by Elliot Carpenter)

  • · “The Very Thought of You”
    (1934) (uncredited)
    Music by Ray Noble
    Played when Ferrari offers to buy Rick’s and when Rick sends Yvonne home
    Also played when Sascha kisses Rick after Rick’s good deed

  • · “Baby Face”
    (1926) (uncredited)
    Music by Harry Akst
    Performed by Dooley Wilson when Renault tells Rick that there’s going to be an arrest (piano dubbed by Elliot Carpenter)

  • · “I’m Just Wild About Harry”
    Music by Eubie Blake
    Played when Renault goes downstairs and joins Major Strasser’s party

  • ·Heaven Can Wait”
    Music by Jimmy Van Heusen
    Played when Rick is introduced to Major Strasser

  • ·Speak to Me of Love”
    Music by Jean Lenoir (song “Parlez-moi d’amour”)
    Played when Laszlo and Ilsa first enter Rick’s

  • ·Love for Sale”
    Music by Cole Porter
    Played when Renault joins Laszlo and Ilsa at their table

  • ·Tango Delle Rose”
    (1928) (uncredited)
    aka “The Song of the Rose”
    Written by Filippo Schreier and Aldo Bottero
    Performed by Corinna Mura (vocal and guitar)

  • ·Avalon”
    (1920) (uncredited)
    Music by Vincent Rose
    Performed by Dooley Wilson while talking to Ilsa (piano dubbed by Elliot Carpenter)

  • · “As Time Goes By”
    (1931) (uncredited)
    Written by Herman Hupfeld
    Performed by Dooley Wilson (piano dubbed by Elliot Carpenter)
    Variations played often in the score
    (originally from the 1932 Broadway show “Everybody’s Welcome”)

  • · “Piano Improvisation”
    Music by Frank Perkins
    Performed by Dooley Wilson after trying to talk Rick into leaving (piano dubbed by Elliot Carpenter)

  • ·Perfidia
    (1939) (uncredited)
    Music by Alberto Domínguez
    Played when Rick and Ilsa are dancing at the Paris nightclub

  • · “If I Could Be with You”
    (1926) (uncredited)
    Music by James P. Johnson
    Played when the man gets his pocket picked and the Germans enter Rick’s

  • ·You Must Have Been a Beautiful Baby”
    (1938) (uncredited)
    Music by Harry Warren
    Played when Yvonne walks into Rick’s with the German officer

  • · “Die Wacht am Rhein”
    (1854) (uncredited)
    Music by Karl Wilhelm (1854)
    Lyrics by Max Schneckenburger (1840) (from his poem)
    Arranged by Max Steiner
    Sung by the Germans at Rick’s

  • · “Das Lied der Deutschen”
    (1841) (uncredited)
    aka “Deutschland über Alles”
    Music by Joseph Haydn (1797)
    Arranged by Max Steiner
    Played before and after Major Strasser orders Renault to shut down Rick’s


“Speak to me of love” also appears in the 1990 movie, “Henry and June.”

  • ·Speak to Me of Love”
    Music by Jean Lenoir (song “Parlez-moi d’amour”)
    Played when Laszlo and Ilsa first enter Rick’s

The song “J’attendrai”, not listed above, also appears in “Casablanca” as a Paris memory, in the flashbacks.

J’attendrai Song

“J’attendrai” (French for “I Will Wait”[1]) is a French popular song recorded by Rina Ketty in 1938. It is a translation of the Italian song “Tornerai” (Italian for “You Will Return”[2]) composed by Dino Olivieri[3] (music) and Nino Rastelli (lyrics) in 1933; the French lyrics were written by Louis Potérat.[4] The song was also recorded in German under the title “Komm zurück”, in Czech as “Věřím vám” and in Polish as “Czekam cię” (with lyrics translated by Andrzej Włast).

Achieving great popularity in its day, the song has since come to be seen as emblematic of the start of World War II.

Other recordings

Mieczysław Fogg

Polish cover of this song, titled “Czekam cię”, with lyrics by Andrzej Włast, was recorded twice by Mieczysław Fogg – first recording was made in 1939 and released by Syrena Rekord under catalog number 2294[5]. Second rendition of this song was recorded about 1961 as a part of medley, and was issued on several LPs[6][7][8].
A more recent popular version was recorded by Dalida for her 1975 album J’attendrai. The following year, she covered the song again for her disco album Coup de chapeau au passé: that version reached the Dutch charts on February 21, 1976. It spent 4 weeks on the charts and as # 9 in 1 week.[9]

Antonella Ruggiero

A recent version of this song was recorded by Italian singer Antonella Ruggiero on the album Souvenir d’Italie, published in 2007 , and is currently available on iTunes.

Vicky Leandros

In 2010 Greek singer Vicky Leandros recorded this song in a new German version titled ” Wenn Du Gehst ” ( When you leave ) which is included in her album “Zeitlos” ( Timeless )

Other artists and usage in popular culture

The Rina Ketty recording appears in the German movie Das Boot or The Boat by Wolfgang Petersen starring Jürgen Prochnow. The commander plays it over the intercom shortly after leaving port.

The intro of J’attendrai is also heard in a sleeping quarters of the underground barracks of Fort Eben-Emael. The room shows visitors what sleeping quarters of regular soldiers looked like in 1940, when Belgium was attacked by Nazi-Germany.

J’attendrai is the main song in the Arch of Triumph, a 1985 film starring Anthony Hopkins and Lesley-Anne Down

J’attendrai has also been recorded by the legendary jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt, and by Tino Rossi. The song called J’attendrai by Claude François is a French version of Reach out I’ll be there.

A recording of J’attendrai by Jean Sablon features in the 2006 motion picture A Good Year. The Rina Ketty recording was used at the beginning of the 2007 documentary My Enemy’s Enemy, about the life and trial of Klaus Barbie.

The Vanessa Redgrave character, the Jewish songstress, sings it in “Playing for Time” where it also signals the winds of war leading directly to WW II.


1. LEO Dict: declination table of attendre

2. LEO Dict: declination table of tornare

3. IMDB: Dino Olivieri

4. Rina Ketty: profile

5. Tomasz Lerski (2004). Syrena Record – pierwsza polska wytwórnia fonograficzna – Poland’s first recording company – 1904-1939. New York, Warszawa: Karin. Label of company from 1920 to 1929 ISBN 978-83-917189-0-2.

6. L0351 by Polskie Nagrania “Muza”

7. XL0272 by Polskie Nagrania “Muza”

8. PNCD0662 by Polskie Nagrania “Muza”

9. – Dalida – J’attendrai



January 31, 2011 at 12:43 am | Posted in Books, Film, France, Germany, History, Literary, Philosophy, World-system | Leave a comment










Household Turmoil Interacts with Historical Turmoil

Several historically attune movies show or hint at a connection between psychosexual murkiness at the level of the household and societal turmoil such as war and revolution.

The personal and the historical are intertwined by psychology.

This link between the micro-world and the macro-world is adumbrated in these movies:

1.   “Murmur of the Heart” (Louis Malle)

2.    “Wild reeds” (Andre Techine)

3.    “Coup de Grace” (Volker Schloendorff)

The first links provincial France and the looming French defeat in Dien Ben Phu and Vietnam circa 1954 with a hypersexualized situation at the level of one family.

Wild Reeds (French: Les Roseaux sauvages) is a 1994 French drama film directed by André Téchiné, about the sensitive passage in the adulthood and in awakening of sexuality by four youths at the end of the Algerian War. The film is set in south-west France in 1962.

Psychosexual murkiness is part of a “system” connecting the macro-world with the micro-world.

Coup de grâce

Marguerite Yourcenar 1903–1987

Set in the Baltic provinces in the aftermath of World War I, Coup de Grace tells the story of an intimacy that grows between three young people hemmed in by civil war: Erick, a Prussian fighting with the White Russians against the Bolsheviks; Conrad, his best friend from childhood; and Sophie, whose unrequited love for Conrad becomes an unbearable burden.

Biographical Information

Yourcenar was born into two very old, wealthy, and influential families from Belgium and France. Her mother, a native of Brussels, died ten days after giving birth. Consequently, Yourcenar was raised and educated by her father, Michel de Crayencour, a Frenchman, in Mont-Noir, Lille, and Paris. As her teacher, mentor, and sole intellectual companion, Yourcenar’s father encouraged her to study the classics, to begin writing poetry, and to read French, Latin, Greek, and English literature. She wrote her first poems when she was fourteen and her first volume, Le jardin des chimères, was privately published in 1921; she later dismissed this work as possessing only “the virtue of childish simplicity.” For this book, she and her father anagrammatized “Crayencour” to devise the pen name Yourcenar, which she adopted as her legal name in 1947. For most of the 1920s she and her father traveled through Europe enjoying a life devoted to literary, aesthetic, and intellectual pursuits. In 1929, after her father’s death and the loss of much of her inherited fortune in the stock market crash of that year, Yourcenar published her first novel, Alexis (Alexis); this was her first work to be accepted by a commercial publisher and was her only major work that her father read. In the 1930s, she published prolifically in a variety of genres, including a critical volume on the Greek poet Pindar simply entitled Pindare (1932); a unique book of prose, poetry, and aphorisms examining various aspects of love, Feux (1938; Fires); two collections of short fiction, La mort conduit l’attelage (1934) and Nouvelles orientales (1938; Oriental Tales); and a book-length essay on dreams, Les songes et les sorts (1938). She also translated Virginia Woolf’s 1931 novel The Waves into French in 1937 and two years later published her second major novel, Le coup de grâce (1939; Coup de Grâce). Able to support herself with her writing in these years, she traveled widely in Italy, Germany, and Greece; in 1937 she briefly visited the United States, where she lectured at several colleges and studied the life of the Roman emperor Hadrian (A.D. 76-138) at Yale University. Travel restrictions imposed throughout Europe during World War II forced Yourcenar back to the United States, where she worked briefly as a journalist and commercial translator before becoming a part-time instructor at Sarah Lawrence College in 1942. Her literary output was slight until 1948, when trunks containing her collected notes on Hadrian arrived from France. Inspired by these notes, Yourcenar began composing what many critics consider her greatest work, Mémoires d’Hadrien (1951; Memoirs of Hadrian). The 1968 novel L’oeuvre au noir (The Abyss), is widely considered her second masterpiece.

In 1980 she became the first woman elected to the Académie Française in the three-century history of the institution whose members include writers, politicians, scholars, and scientists.

Yourcenar remained an active traveler and writer for the rest of her life, nearly completing the final volume, Quoi? L’éternite (1990), of her autobiographical trilogy known as Le labyrinthe du monde before her death at the age of 84.

Major Works

Although Yourcenar produced important works in a variety of genres, her reputation rests primarily on her novels. Her first attempt in the genre, Alexis, is structured as a récit, a classical form of the French short story designed to recount, ostensibly as an aid to the examination of conscience, a significant deed or event in a concise, rapid narrative. The novel proceeds as a letter written by the title character, a talented musician finally avowing his homosexuality, to his wife, Monique, as an apologia for deserting her and their new baby, and to express his regret at having lived misleadingly with her for so long. Anticipating Memoirs of Hadrian with its epistolary form, the novel also inaugurates many of Yourcenar’s signature themes, namely the artist’s struggle to maintain and express his sensibilities in a hostile environment; male homosexuality; love and pleasure; and the emergence of self-identity and its relation to guilt.

Coup de Grâce, which also uses the first-person récit form, examines the lives of three characters caught in romantic and political turmoil. Set in the late 1920s during the civil wars touched off by the Russian Revolution in the Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, the novel is “remembered” by Eric von Lhommond, an aristocratic adventurer and romantic mercenary whose purely class-based, nonideological objections to Communism provide his pretext for participating in Europe’s military conflicts. He recounts his relationships with Conrad, a young man whom he loved, and Conrad’s idealistic sister Sophie, who fell in love with Eric but was rejected and finally executed by him. Coup de Grâce further develops Yourcenar’s notion of love as fate and examines the abuse of power in its physical, emotional, and political forms. Critics note that the novel also presents, in the character of Eric, the prototype for Yourcenar’s hallmark larger-than-life protagonist, clearly prefiguring the Hadrian of Memoirs of Hadrian and Zeno of The Abyss.

As Ann M. Begley has pointed out, Yourcenar’s fascination with Hadrian began when she read Gustave Flaubert’s description of the emperor’s era: “Just when the gods had ceased to be and the Christ had not yet come, there was a unique moment in history, between Cicero and Marcus Aurelius, when man stood alone.”

Memoirs of Hadrian is an epistolary novel consisting of the aging emperor Hadrian’s letter to his seventeen-year-old adoptive grandson and heir, Marcus Aurelius, the purpose of which is to pass on the lessons learned in an eventful, varied life. With her stated intention of conveying the psychology of the age, Yourcenar largely avoids plot and melodrama, focusing instead on anecdotal depictions of Hadrian’s career and his meditations on politics, war, art, religion, destiny, and love between and among the sexes. Yourcenar depicts Hadrian as the quintessential warrior-poet, an agnostic who has succeeded in forging a personal moral code with the support of neither ancient myth nor Christian faith. Like Hadrian, Zeno in The Abyss is a faithless man, but one whose personal understanding is achieved through lifelong study and service to the sick. Set during the sixteenth century, the novel details the divergent paths taken by Henri-Maximilian Ligre, scion of a wealthy and powerful family who seeks adventure and fame as a soldier, and his bastard cousin Zeno, a studious, metaphysically-oriented man who despises his cousin’s life and devotes himself to the investigation of philosophy, alchemy, medicine, and mysticism. Portrayed in a Faustian light, Zeno’s quest for an authentic life and truth is seen as heresy by the leaders of his age. The Abyss is a further examination of Yourcenar’s interests in the implications of fate, emergent self-identity, and the relation of magic and philosophy.

Critical Reception

Before the publication of Memoirs of Hadrian, Yourcenar’s works received little attention outside a relatively small group of intellectual readers. Le jardin des chimères, for example, was ignored by most reviewers, but attracted the enthusiastic attention of Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore, who invited Yourcenar to live in India.

Excerpted from Hans-Bernhard Moeller and George Lellis’

Volker Schlöndorff’s Cinema: Adaptation, Politics, and theMovie


Despite its modest claims, Volker Schlöndorff’s twelfth film, Coup de Grâce (Der Fangschuss, 1976), can be considered a jewel among his creations. Adapted from Marguerite Yourcenar’s novel by the same title, this film brings the 1920s heritage to life, thanks to quilted jackets, frozen landscapes, impersonal firing squads, uniformed soldiers folk dancing at war-ravaged estates: images, sound, and texture evocative of revolutionary Russia. In addition, actress Valeska Gert, 1920s exponent of avant-garde pantomime, expressionist dance, and women’s liberation, graces the screen in one of her final performances, as Aunt Praskovia.

It marks, at the same time, Schlöndorff’s return to and recapitulation of his own cinematic methods from Young Törless (1966) and The Sudden Wealth of Poor People of Kombach (1971). It presents Margarethe von Trotta, here also Schlöndorff’s screenwriter, in some of her most convincing scenes as an actress. It carries on the portrayal of rebel women in the line of A Free Woman (1972) and The Lost Honor of Katharina Blum (1975), though in more spartan visual style. In all its simplicity, this is a key work by a pivotal literary filmmaker of Young and New German cinemas.

Coup de Grâce places the reader or viewer in conditions of near-civil war that raged in the Baltic provinces near Riga in the early twenties. Radical Bolsheviks, Estonian and Latvian nationalists, German junkers, and White Russians, as well as fortune hunters and volunteer militias, attack each other. One reactionary stronghold is the castle Kratovice, ancestral home of Konrad von Reval (Rüdiger Kirschstein), who returns as an officer and finds his sister Sophie (Margarethe von Trotta). She falls in love with his comrade Erich von Lhomond (Matthias Habich), also a childhood friend, from whose masculine point of view Yourcenar’s novel is written. She politically sympathizes with village Bolsheviks, but when Erich does not return her love, she moves to the communist camp.

Schlöndorff has, in fact, reconfigured the point of view within the narrative situation: as the material changes from book form to the film medium, Sophie turns into Erich’s co-protagonist.

This change proves useful to Schlöndorff’s personal set of themes, since instead of an officer and his memories, a woman moves to the forefront along with the conflicts of her emotions, her epoch, and her environment.

In the adaptation process, Schlöndorff has set up an unusual narrative structure. On one hand, he is taking a book that features a male point of view and evokes the genre of the war film––a genre usually characterized by a male point of view. On the other hand, the shift away from a first-person male narrator represents here a subverting of the war film’s usual masculine perspective.

Schlöndorff’s film develops its love-story narrative in parallel to its war-film narrative. In Coup de Grâce, Sophie’s intertwined expectations for meaningful relationships, personal happiness, and sexual fulfillment are at odds with the largely male-created universe of militarism. Schlöndorff creates a world of intimacy without sex, of sex without intimacy, and of both without happiness. In terms of film genre, the movie asks whether the traditionally configured love story can survive if the woman seeks to be the man’s equal and strives to propagate values counter to repressive masculine ones. Sophie is open, while Erich clings to orthodox formalities and appearances. She is self-disclosing, Erich evasive and even duplicitous. We are never sure whether his feelings for the contessa are sexual, fraternal, or controllingly paternalistic. This ambiguity throws audience identification onto the side of Sophie.

One particular leitmotif of the film’s indirect narrative technique draws attention to political aspects. It cinematically establishes a close link between the contessa and a captured rebel. The latter is not present in Yourcenar’s novel and thus becomes a cinema-specific addition that multiplies meanings through visual echoes and parallels. Both characters are interrogated by Erich in a way that may suggest Schlöndorff’s German point of view. Both are executed according to martial laws. Understood in a broader sense, the film actually offers two “coups de grâce.” In both cases, the business of the execution is cold and efficient; the executioners have little time. Nor does the camera allow the viewer much chance to sympathize, because both “coups de grâce” are photographed from a distance. Both times, executioners shamelessly leave corpses behind, like piles of trash.

Such touches caused a number of critics to comment on the more reserved, artistically quieter approach of Coup de Grâce. In New German Film, Timothy Corrigan positions the work as inferior to films that are more directly subversive. But Corrigan’s analysis misses many of the ways in which Schlöndorff provokes activated viewing and audience reflection. One can argue that Schlöndorff assembles an array of alienating strategies that operate subtly and scrape against the grain of a superficially realist narrative. This movie’s narrative contains many gaps and ellipses, as well as many places where, with characterizations developed only through externalized behavior, motivation is implicit or ambiguous; all of these require an alert viewer to fill in what is missing.

In her introduction to the Coup de Grâce novel, Marguerite Yourcenar insists that her intentions were not to side with any political group or party but rather to present a “study in character and emotion.” Schlöndorff achieves something different. Although it is clear that his political sympathies are not anti-Bolshevik, he never establishes whether his drama should be interpreted personally or politically and so challenges the viewer to resolve the tension between the two.

It is clear that conflicts between the sexes, women’s themes, rebellion, and politics, as well as German history, offer points of contact between Schlöndorff’s film and Yourcenar’s novel.

Coup de Grâce

Volker Schlondorff’s Cinema: Adaptation, Politics, and theMovieAppropriate,” by Hans-Bernhard Moeller and George Lellis.

Coup de grâce

Volker Schlöndorff




August 22, 2010 at 2:47 am | Posted in Books, France, Globalization, History, Military, World-system | Leave a comment










French Colonial Warfare and the Emergence of the

Modern World-System

France’s “new colonial expansion” began in June 1830 when an expeditionary force of 37,000 men was landed near Algiers, their purpose being “to avenge an insult to the consul of France by the local ruler, the bey of Algiers.”

In the military classic, Makers of Modern Strategy [1],

Chapter 10 is entitled: Bugeaud, Gallieni, Lyautey: The Development of French Colonial Warfare.

The author of this chapter, Jean Gottmann, a teacher in the Army Specialized Training Program at Princeton when this collection of essays on the development of military theory appeared, tells us by way of introduction:

“Colonial warfare is quite different from what is commonly known as continental warfare. It is generally fought in remote countries over large areas of unknown territory, against a foe superior in number and in his knowledge of the terrain but inferior in material organization and in means of supply from abroad. In colonial wars quality must therefore balance a probable inferiority in quantity, and a colonial war is, by its very nature, fought between adversaries of strikingly different levels of civilization.”

By levels of “civilization,” the author obviously means levels of technological development.

Expounding the theory of colonial warfare, Gottmann notes that “as far as possible,” the campaign “must avoid destruction.” One reason is “to preserve the productive potential of the theater of operations,” but more importantly “because the conquered country is to be integrated immediately after the conquest into the ‘imperial’ whole, politically as well as economically.”

“Preserving” the Enemy

Thus it is “desirable” that “the territory should be in the best possible condition when conquest has been effected. The problem is not so much ‘to defeat the enemy in the most decisive manner’ as to subordinate him at the lowest cost and in a way to guarantee permanent pacification.”

French imperialism learned how to do this in practice before it developed the body of military theory which still governs thinking in the domain of colonial conquest.

France’s “new colonial expansion” began in June 1830 when an expeditionary force of 37,000 men was landed near Algiers, their purpose being “to avenge an insult to the consul of France by the local ruler, the bey of Algiers.”

The French forces quickly took Algiers but they ran into difficulty in extending their conquest into the interior.

“The native forces were at home; their chief weapon was mobility. Gathering suddenly at unexpected points, they attacked columns, raided convoys, set French establishments afire; they attacked columns on the flanks and from the rear, inflicting heavy losses, destroying or stealing equipment. Then they disappeared, melting away into the landscape before the heavy European military machine had a chance to re-form and resume operations.”

For ten years the French “generally met disaster,” until in 1840 Marshal Thomas Bugeaud was appointed governor general and commander in chief in Algeria. In six years he pacified the country. He discarded the Napoleonic concepts of warfare that had been perfected in Europe and set out to increase the mobility of the French colonial army, converting it into a force proficient in counterguerrilla war.

One of his primary aims was to strike fear in “the natives.” “In this and many other respects Bugeaud followed the lines of the ancient Roman strategy in Africa.” As with the Romans, Bugeaud took as his principal aim not so much to defeat the indigenous population as to “subdue” them “so that after a defeat they will not attempt to reorganize for battle at another time and place.” This required the employment of economic and political means as well as the force of arms. We see that the concepts operative in modern colonial war do have a respectable age if they are not so respectable in other ways.

Bugeaud, in Gottmann’s opinion, knew how to make his study of history pay off:

“This restoration of the tactics of ancient Rome in the nineteenth century proved wise and successful: Since the epoch of Jugurtha, in defiance of time, neither the terrain nor the tactics of the natives had changed. The methods used by the Romans to conquer the province of Africa was [sic] used by the French with equal success. The thorough training in the classics given in French colleges thus proved an incalculable aid to French generals in Africa.

“Bugeaud, utilizing the Roman battle formation of the square, did not forget the importance of political action in the ancient techniques of empire building. He endeavored to weaken the enemy by internal discord and division, playing on the antagonisms between varied interests, groups, and leaders. Political warfare remained for the French, and for all other expansionist powers, one of the main weapons. Thus Bugeaud laid the foundation of a new school of military thought which developed even more in the following half century. In the ranks of the French armies he was the first soldier of the nineteenth century to renounce Napoleon’s teaching as unsuited to every particular environment. He revived old Roman methods which had yielded good results.”

Bugeaud’s concepts were further developed by Marshal Joseph Gallieni, who became famous among colonial butchers for his skill in “pacification” work in Indochina at the turn of the century, above all in Tonkin, whose capital, Hanoi, is now a familiar name even to children barely old enough to turn on a television switch. Gallieni succeeded in pacifying rebellious Tonkin in four years (1892-96). He was then transferred to Madagascar where his good works gained him even greater renown.

In Indochina Gallieni trained a younger officer from Paris, Louis-Hubert Lyautey, whom he later called to Madagascar for additional experience. Lyautey in time gained an independent niche in the history of imperialist conquest as the pacifier of Morocco. It is mainly to Lyautey that military theory owes the codification of French experience in subduing Indochina, Madagascar and North Africa. In a “brilliant article” published in 1900 Lyautey expounded these concepts.

The first concept is “progressive occupation.” Instead of columns thrusting like spears into the countryside, the front should be a “regularly progressing tide” of occupying forces.

“There was no intention, of course, of suppressing completely the column of attacking troops: Such an operation is generally indispensable at the outset to impress the enemy with his inferiority to the military force of the colonizing power,” Gottmann explains. “But no definite and lasting achievement results from the ‘coup de force’ alone, occupation must follow and here we have Lyautey’s famous statement: ‘Military occupation consists less in military operations that in an organization on the march’.” [Emphasis in original.]

And what does “an organization on the march” mean?

“It is an organization of the conquered territory set up, not behind the active front, but marching step by step with the armies as they advance. This organization must not be simply a new hierarchy imposed on the area but a network covering it, worked out in advance in the most minute detail and with the greatest care.”

General Duchemin, an ardent disciple of Gallieni, drew the following vivid analogy in describing how to handle “pirates” – as guerrilla fighters were called in those days by the imperialist bandits:

“The pirate is a plant which grows only on certain grounds … The most efficient method is to render the ground unsuitable to him … There are no pirates in completely organized countries. To pluck wild plants is not sufficient: One must plough the conquered soil, enclose it, and then sow it with the good grain, which is the only means to make it unsuitable to the tares. The same happens on the land desolated by piracy: Armed occupation, with or without armed combat, ploughs it; the establishment of a military belt encloses and isolates it; finally the reconstitution and equipment of the population, the installation of markets and cultures, the construction of roads, sow the good grain and make the conquered region unsuitable to the pirate, if it is not the latter himself who, transformed, cooperates in this evolutionary process.”

The language of this official 1895 report to the governor general of Indochina sounds rather quaint now.

Besides “an organization on the march,” a correct political approach is an absolute essential. This was stressed by Gallieni himself in instructions issued May 22, 1898, at Madagascar:

“The best means for achieving pacification in our new colony is provided by combined application of force and politics. It must be remembered that, in the course of colonial struggles, we should turn to destruction only as a last resort and only as a preliminary to better reconstruction. We must always treat the country and its inhabitants with consideration, since the former is destined to receive our future colonial enterprises and the latter will be our main agents and collaborators in the development of our enterprises.

“Every time that the necessities of war force one of our colonial officers to take action against a village or an inhabited center, his first concern, once submission of the inhabitants has been achieved, should be reconstruction of the village, creation of a market, and establishment of a school. It is by combined use of politics and force that pacification of a country and its future organization will be achieved. Political action is by far the more important. It derives its greater power from the organization of the country and its inhabitants.” [Emphasis in the original.]

This really has a modern ring! Our first concern must be reconstruction-once submission of the inhabitants has been secured … What else but such topics did Johnson discuss with his protégé Ky at Honolulu?

“As pacification gains ground,” continued Gallieni, “the country becomes more civilized, markets are reopened, trade is re-established. The role of the soldier becomes of secondary importance. The activity of the administrator begins. It is necessary, on the one hand, to study and satisfy the social requirements of the subject people and, on the other hand, to promote the development of colonization, which will utilize the natural resources of the soil and open the outlets for European trade.”

That should now read “American” trade, of course.

Besides “progressive occupation,” and “organization on the march,” Lyautey stresses the conversion of the colonial army into an administrative setup in which the police function is relegated to “special troops, the military and civilian police.”

From Terror to Reconstruction

In other words, the troops that invade a country marked for imperialist victimization deliberately aim in their first moves to strike the deepest possible fear and terror in the indigenous population by demonstrating an implacability and military superiority that appear absolutely invincible.

Then through a series of transitional stages this same occupation force moves toward reconstruction, toward the conversion of leading indigenous figures into servile agents (the “anti-Communists” of today), and finally toward domination of the country’s economy, complete control of its politics, and – in the good old days of imperialism – outright administration.

With this pattern clearly conceived from the very beginning, the imperialist conquerors try to keep their tactics supple so as to facilitate passing over into the successive stages as smoothly as possible. In fact, they seek to combine them where it can be done. “Pacification” is viewed as part and parcel of military action – the positive component of the war of conquest.

In 1903 Lyautey was sent to western Algeria where Moroccan tribes were giving the French imperialists “trouble.” His assignment was to “pacify” Morocco. This took many years, the climax coming after 1912 when he was made the resident general and commander in chief of the country, a post he kept until 1925. In a letter to Gallieni dated November 14, 1903, Lyautey outlined his objectives. Gottmann describes them as follows:

“Two points in particular deserve special comment for they were to remain the bases of Lyautey’s Moroccan strategy and policy. 1. In the field of diplomacy he advocated a loyal alliance with the sultan’s government and representatives. No action was to be taken in Moroccan territory except in agreement with the official Moroccan authorities and with their help. This ‘entente cordiale’ was the basis of the protectorate.

“2. In the field of strategy one paragraph of the letter is fundamental: ‘In fact, the final establishment of the system of protection that I project will be accomplished very gradually; it would be impossible for me to assign even an approximate date for its realization, although I incline to believe that the result can be achieved more rapidly than most people think. It will advance not by column, nor by mighty blows, but as a patch of oil spreads, through a step by step progression, playing alternately on all the local elements, utilizing the divisions and rivalries between tribes and between their chiefs.’ The strategy of the ‘oil patch,’ the famous ‘tâche d’huile,’ will take its place in history as the phrase which best characterizes the French penetration and pacification of Morocco.”

Lyautey’s work in Morocco “is now reputed to be the masterpiece of French colonization,” according to Gottmann. In 1912, when Lyautey began final operations, the country was in “complete revolt.” In two expeditions Lyautey re-established control of the main cities.

“Those were swift and daring blows, frequently studied since and described by colonial and military historians as models. The speed of the initial success was largely due to Lyautey’s policy with respect to the natives which was put into effect from the first day. Its ultimate success depended, of course, on the period that followed.”

The secret was to combine the military blows with “organization on the march … To support the advancing front, a large scale and costly policy of economic development was immediately started in the rear: The hostile tribes had to be convinced of the advantages of French rule. In two years appreciable results were obtained.” Lyautey called it the “policy of the smile.”

In the final stage the tactic of the “oil patch” was used to conquer the mountain fastnesses where tribes lived that “accepted no rule, not even that of the sultan, and they were determined to fight to death against the foreigners.” Lyautey’s sophisticated strategy proved sufficient to subdue them – at least for a time.

Technological Advances

Since Lyautey’s day, the imperialist military theory of colonial war has made no basic advance.

“The principal improvements added to Lyautey’s strategy and tactics after 1925,” Gottmann notes, “were largely due to the extensive use by his pupils of the newest weapons which advancing military technology put at their disposal: the motor car and the airplane. Both fitted admirably into the Moroccan picture, for the dominant trend of colonial warfare was toward increased mobility.

Henceforth the tools were at hand. Motorization of the columns and of the services of supply greatly increased the speed and effectiveness of encircling movements and surprise blows. Bombing from the air robbed the natives of their chief trump card: fire from dominating positions in the mountains.

These modern methods were especially employed in the last steps of the Moroccan pacification of 1931-1934.”

In his Instruction Generate, issued February 19, 1932, General Huré summed up the directives for the employment of motorized columns.

“It shows,” says Gottmann, “the application of both Bugeaud’s and Lyautey’s lessons: Attack is made on large fronts ensuring the safety of the rear; in the mountains, action is through parallel or convergent valley; attack is by surprise from bases carefully prepared in the rear and progressing with rapidity. The terrain is conquered by auxiliary units, artillery and air force, then occupied by the regular troops (native troops have a better knowledge of the terrain and a greater mobility but, as they are unable to hold the area taken, this is done by the regular troops which thus will have to fight only in defensive positions). The terrain must be organized as soon as conquered – shovels and pick axes are as necessary as rifles and guns; every conquered position must be linked to the rear by a road as soon as possible; it is by means of roads that the country is controlled.”

How little has been changed in the basic concepts of colonial war since Lyautey’s time was indicated by the “New York Times” commentator Hanson Baldwin on Vietnam in the late sixties.

Lyautey’s writings still constituted the Pentagon’s bible and Naldwin’s basic analyses in the general strategy of colonial war in Vietnam.

It was a considerable error to think that in Vietnam what can be expected is a repetition of French experience in conquering Indochina, Algeria, Madagascar and Morocco with American military prowess compensating for the handicaps involved in pacifying “natives” who have already been “pacified” many times.

Revolutionary Expertise

Second, the accumulated experience of the Vietnamese people counted heavily in the scales in the conflict with American imperialism. They were no longer the same kind of people as those on whom Gallieni and Lyautey first tested out their concepts. Besides their early experience with French imperialism, the Vietnamese added the experience of the struggle with the Japanese imperialist invaders and then the invasion mounted by the French once more after World War II.

In each case the imperialist invaders followed the same basic concepts-the concepts of Bugeaud, Galliéni and Lyautey, right down to the “oil spot” technique, the use of economic blandishments and the support of venal types in the national political arena willing to betray their people and serve as puppets.

Lyautey’s modern disciples.


1. This book, edited by Edward Mead Earle, was published in 1944 by Princeton University Press.

Makers of Modern Strategy from Machiavelli to the Nuclear Age

Peter Paret (Editor)

Gordon A. Craig (Editor)

Felix Gilbert (Editor)

Makers of Modern Strategy , first published in 1943, deserved and demanded updating. The 28 essays in the new volume offer 7 more than in the original and range from excellent to outstanding. They reflect the skills of a cross-section of leading military historians. But re viving a classic is a difficult task. Some original contributions were discarded, some rewritten, some left virtually in tact. Old and new frequently coexist awkwardly, as when Hajo Holbom and Gunther Rothenberg compete for 19th- century Germany. The editors’ reluctance to impose a common format added to an intellectual diffusion most visible in a split between biographic and thematic approaches. As a result, this revision cannot equal its predecessor’s status as a standard text. As an antholo gy, however, the work is brilliantly successful and that is no mean achievement.


[The essays] are authoritative and convincing. Taken together, they demonstrate the complexity of strategy and the importance of it being closely integrated with politics. — Review

Product Details:

· Hardcover: 566 pages

· Publisher: Princeton Univ Pr. 1st Ed.

· June 1943

· Language: English

· ISBN-10: 0691069077

· ISBN-13: 978-0691069074

Product Details:

· Paperback: 942 pages

· Publisher: Princeton University Press

· March 1 1986

· Language: English

· ISBN-10: 0691027641

· ISBN-13: 978-0691027647

French Modern:

Norms and Forms of the Social Environment

Paul Rabinow (Author)

Editorial Reviews


“This path-breaking book opens up topics for some new, contemporary analysis of modernity that go well beyond its immediate occasion in the colonial city…. It is a stimulating and exciting performance.”

—Fredric R. Jameson

Product Description

In this study of space and power and knowledge in France from the 1830s through the 1930s, Rabinow uses the tools of anthropology, philosophy, and cultural criticism to examine how social environment was perceived and described.

Ranging from epidemiology to the layout of colonial cities, he shows how modernity was revealed in urban planning, architecture, health and welfare administration, and social legislation.

Product Details:

· Paperback: 464 pages

· Publisher: University Of Chicago Press

· December 1 1995

· Language: English

· ISBN-10: 0226701743

· ISBN-13: 978-0226701745

The idea that colonies were laboratories of modernity has become a central tenet of foucauldian studies (Foucault’s own theoretical perspective was centered on the archeology of Western knowledge, and he didn’t devote much attention to colonies and empires). According to this line of thought, the creation of norms and forms suitable for the government of society, the disciplining of bodies, and the constitution of selves owes much to the colonial experience, where these norms and disciplines were first tested and implemented.

This axiom has generated many academic studies (works by Timothy Mitchell or Ann Laura Stoler come to mind). However, it raises several questions. First, how is it to be reconciled with the view, standard in French historiography, that the two world wars and particularly the Vichy episode were formative eras during which most elements constitutive of French modernity were laid down?

In other words, are the origins of the French modern to be found in colonies and imperial rule, or in wartime governmentality and European centers of power?

Second, the scholar needs to turn his or her attention to colonial officers who experimented with new modes of coercion and subjectification of populations. Most of them came from the higher layers of French society, and had received their education and training prior to their assignments to the empire’s outposts. If there was indeed an enormous amount of knowledge produced in and for the colonies, these ideas and techniques did not come fully armed from the minds of almighty colonial administrators. They had their origins in metropolitan France, where they were first conceived and made intelligible in a certain social and intellectual context.

Third, techniques of government tested in the colonies were not directly applicable to metropolitan France. In order to apply to the French context, they had to undergo a profound transformation that made them fit the domestic social environment. Empires employed raw force abroad but were subject to democratic rule domestically. Consequently, the modalities of power used by imperial rule in the colonies were very different from Foucault’s own definition of power, which consists of very subtle forms of interrelation that do not always follow hierarchical patterns. Scholars who apply Foucault to the colonial context therefore need first to clarify and adapt his conceptual tools, which were designed with a different domain in mind.

This being said, Rabinow’s French Modern is a valuable study of the origins of French modernity from the 1830s to the 1930s that applies the intellectual method pioneered by Michel Foucault (as the book shows, this method owes much to Foucault’s own teacher Georges Canguilhem). The author takes as his starting point the triumph of urban planning in postwar France. ‘Villes nouvelles’ sprang up, housing projects were built, and there was–at least until 1968–a remarkable consensus among professionals on how French cities should be remodeled.

As a later chapter makes it clear, it was in Morocco, under Hubert Lyautey’s leadership around the time of the First World War, that France‘s first comprehensive experiment with urban planning took place. According to Rabinow, “the modernity of Casablanca and Rabat in terms of equipment, specialization of quarters, and circulation planning surpassed anything in France.” And “even the harshest critics of Lyautey’s colonial aims concede that Rabat‘s extension was an aesthetic success.”

Lyautey’s other, more contentious achievement was the military pacification of Morocco. He spelled out his doctrine as follows: “Vex not tradition, leave custom be. Never forget that in every society there is a class to be governed, and a natural-born ruling class upon whom all depends. Link their interests to ours.” It is important to remind here that colonialism was first and foremost a military enterprise, and therefore combined the two laboratories of modernity–colonial exploitation and the war economy–identified in the first half of the twentieth century.

According to Rabinow, the theory of pacification and the rise of modern planning share a common perspective: the shift from the moral to the social, and the realization that the management of social antagonisms rested not on the cultivation of virtue among the protagonists, but on the manipulation of social norms that could be scientifically derived. The author find this shift’ starting point in the cholera epidemic of 1832: housing and social conditions, not topographic proximity, proved to be the primary variable in the localization of the disease.

Rabinow tracks this emergence of social norms in a number of fields, with architecture and the birth of urban planning providing a common thread. The emergence of norms as the privileged means of understanding and defining society was reflected in new scientific discourses, new administrative practices, and new conceptions of social order, ushering in a long period of experimentation with what would later form welfare policies. New concepts emerged, such as ‘amenagement’, ‘equipement’, ‘milieux’, ‘conditions de vie’, ‘agglomerations’, etc. Empirically quite disparate, they nonetheless reveal a certain commonality, and together they formed the discursive space which would be filled during and after World War II in a more substantial and enduring manner.

The book’s narrative turns in part around a series of individuals, some well-known like Saint-Simon, Le Play and Lyautey, others long forgotten like the architects Tony Garnier and Henri Prost.

Described successively as “technicians of general ideas”, “specific intellectuals” and “unbureaucratic bureaucrats”, they were the forerunners of the technocratic society which emerged in France after the Second World War. Echoing Barres’ call for “Experimentation–that is what all Frenchmen of good faith should demand–social laboratories”, members of one of these key circles said of themselves: “we tried to be irreproachable technicians.”

These figures were the real heroes of the laboratories where modern France was conceived.

French Colonial Warfare and the Emergence of the Modern World-System

France’s “new colonial expansion” began in June 1830 when an expeditionary force of 37,000 men was landed near Algiers, their purpose being “to avenge an insult to the consul of France by the local ruler, the bey of Algiers.”


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