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Malraux, André

war political solidarity written

(French, 1901–76)

Malraux was a prominent anti-fascist during the 1930s, and active in the wartime Resistance. As a close ally of de Gaulle, he later became a Government minister. His novels combine action with philosophy, and are usually set in political hot spots like Shanghai, Germany, or Civil War Spain. They also anticipated existentialism, with figures finding authenticity through political action and solidarity. La Condition Humaine (1933; Man's Estate, 1948) was an influential work, dramatizing the human cost of political necessity; its heroes are communists, slaughtered by Chinese nationalist forces under Chiang Kai-shek. Days of Hope (1938) is a large documentary novel written during the early stages of the Spanish Civil War, ending on an uplifting note of solidarity, and is regarded as Malraux's best work. The Walnut Trees of Altenburg (1943), written when Malraux had been captured in the early stages of the war, is interesting mainly for its central section concerning the narrator's father, who is shown fighting for the Germans during the First World War. Anti-Memoirs (1968) puts accounts of de Gaulle, Nehru, and Mao alongside fictional elements.

Albert Camus, Norman Mailer, Jean-Paul Sartre  JS

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