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Grant number like: FA-50179-04

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Alice Y. Kaplan
Duke University (Durham, NC 27705-4677)

Fellowships for University Teachers
Research Programs

[Grant products]

$40,000 (approved)
$40,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
1/1/2004 – 12/31/2004

The Interpreter: Louis Guilloux and the Story of Segregated Justice in Liberated France

My purpose in this study is to use literature to provide a history of the Liberation--chiefly the role of the segregated U.S. army--from both the French and the American points of view and to illuminate the sensibility and creative process of a much admired but little known writer, considered by his contemporaries (Gide, Malraux, Camus) to be the moral conscience of his generation. "The Interpreter" is based on the experience of Louis Guilloux, who worked for American military justice in Brittany from August through October, 1944. His job was to translate in courts martial of GIs who had committed crimes involving French civilians. In his work with the army, Guilloux experienced the daily shock of official racial segregation. Thirty years later, he described his time with the Americans in a novel called "OK, Joe." By studying Guilloux's experience and grounding it in meticulous archival sources (both French and American, including courts martial transcripts of Guilloux's cases), I am returning as a critic to the same moral issues Guilloux raised in fiction: issues of justice, human equality, and national difference.