Robert Poulet

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Robert Poulet
Born (1893-09-04)4 September 1893
Liège, Belgium
Died 6 October 1989(1989-10-06) (aged 96)
Marly-le-Roi, Belgium
Nationality  Belgium
Occupation journalist, literary critic, writer

Robert Poulet (4 September 1893 - 6 October 1989) was a Belgian writer, literary critic and journalist. Politically he was a Maurras-inspired integral nationalist who became associated with a collaborationist newspaper during the occupation of Belgium by Nazi Germany.

Literature[edit]

Educated at the Faculté des Mines in his hometown, Poulet served in the First World War and before taking odd jobs in Belgium and France.[1] He began writing for a number of literary reviews in the 1920s and published his first novel, the surrealist Handji, in 1931.[2] He became a part of the 'Groupe du Lundi' that built up around Franz Hellens which attacked the regional novels prevalent in France at the time and instead endorsed magic realism.[3] As a literary critic he became noted for his rejection of female authors, dismissing them as midinettes en diable.[4]

Politics[edit]

Poulet was involved in politics during the early 1930s when he was a member of the corporatist study group Réaction.[5] Although not altogether enamoured of Nazism he became the 'political director' of Le Nouveau Journal, a collaborationist paper launched by Paul Colin in October 1940.[5] A strong supporter of Belgian independence, he was heavily influenced by Charles Maurras and the Action Française and by 1941 was in agreement with Raymond de Becker that a corporatist, authoritarian party of state should be created. His idea was soon abandoned however when the Nazis decide to instead back Léon Degrelle and Rexism, a philosophy to which Poulet was opposed.[6]

Despite all of this Poulet never opposed the Nazis and frequently wrote in support of them during his time at Le Nouveau Journal.[7] He also praised them in their war against the Soviet Union due to his own strict anti-communism.[8] He was sentenced to death in October 1945 for collaboration but, after serving six years imprisonment, ostensibly on 'death row', he was released and allowed to return to France.[9]

Later years[edit]

Following his move to France he published a number of autobiographical novels in which he sought to justify his war-time collaboration as merely trying to safeguard the monarchy and Belgian independence. He would also act as a reader at Éditions Denoël and Plon, as well as writing for the far right journal Rivarol, the Catholic paper Présent and Ecrits de Paris, amongst other publications.[10] He was a close friend and supporter of Robert Faurisson and joined him in advocating Holocaust denial.[11] Despite Poulet's controversial opinions, famed The Adventures of Tintin cartoonist Hergé, who worked for Poulet during the war, maintained a lifelong friendship with Poulet until Hergé's death in 1983.[11] Poulet's autobiography, Ce n'est pas un vie, appeared in 1976. He died in 1989.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Adèle King, Rereading Camara Laye, 2002, p. 132
  2. ^ King, Rereading Camara Laye, p. 133
  3. ^ King, Rereading Camara Laye, p. 134
  4. ^ Toril Moi, Simone de Beauvoir: The Making of an Intellectual Woman, 1994, pp. 78-9
  5. ^ a b David Littlejohn, The Patriotic Traitors, London: Heinemann, 1972, p. 152
  6. ^ King, Rereading Camara Laye, p. 135
  7. ^ King, Rereading Camara Laye, p. 137
  8. ^ Lindsay Waters & Wlad Godzich, Reading de Man Reading, 1989, p. 16
  9. ^ King, Rereading Camara Laye, pp. 137-8
  10. ^ King, Rereading Camara Laye, p. 138
  11. ^ a b Mark McKinney, History and Politics in French-Language Comics and Graphic Novels, p. 38