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Authorship on Trial: Treason at the Dawn of the Cold War, 1944-1949

The research project is funded by the Swedish Research Council, 2017-2020.

Researcher: Marius Hentea

This project examines authorship in the post-World War II period through the lens of treason trials (or ‘affairs’) in four countries (France, Norway, the UK, and the US). The post-war period was a critical moment in the emergence of new ways of thinking about literature and its social and cultural values. This impacted the role authors could play in contemporary social debates but also what values they had to subscribe to, either by the iron hand of law or the social pressures of the majority.

Authors and intellectuals were among the first collaborators targeted after the fighting ended, partly because their writings could be used as evidence of collaboration. High-profile targets for treason indictments like Knut Hamsun in Norway and Ezra Pound in the US showed the resolve of governments to punish deviant political beliefs as the history of the war period was reshaped to a changing political reality, namely the dawn of the Cold War.

This comparative international project will spotlight differing judicial treatments of authors and expose the various institutional mechanisms politicising authorship, showing the contrasting ways in which authorship was reconceptualised in this period.

Page Manager: Annika Andersson|Last update: 1/11/2017

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