French Fascism and History in 'Speck's Idea'

Studies in Canadian Literature 40.2, 2016

29 Pages Posted: 22 Aug 2015 Last revised: 12 Jan 2016

Andy Lamey

University of California, San Diego (UCSD), Division of Arts and Humanities, Department of Philosophy

Date Written: August 20, 2015

Abstract

“Speck’s Idea” is Mavis Gallant’s most widely published short story and arguably her masterpiece. Through its depiction of its central character the story dramatizes how a segment of France’s population could tolerate and condone fascism for reasons other than an inherent attraction to fascist ideas. These reasons include indifference and self-interest. Gallant’s story thus illustrates how fascism drew not merely on ideological, but also on opportunistic, motivations. The story also depicts pitfalls of understanding particular to the contemporary, post-fascist age. They include explanations of fascism that emphasize the uniquely monstrous character of its adherents, or denunciations of the work of fascist intellectuals that are so prejudicial that they take a step toward fascism in the very moment of opposing it.

Keywords: Mavis Gallant, fascism, French history

Suggested Citation

Lamey, Andy, French Fascism and History in 'Speck's Idea' (August 20, 2015). Studies in Canadian Literature 40.2, 2016. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2648599

Andy Lamey (Contact Author)

University of California, San Diego (UCSD), Division of Arts and Humanities, Department of Philosophy ( email )

9500 Gilman Drive
La Jolla, CA 92093-0119
United States

HOME PAGE: http://andylamey.com

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