We all have our own history… a story to live, to read, to listen, to share, to tell.
Telling History is the theme of the next edition of the Colmar Book Festival. This is not about speaking of the trend of storytelling made by communicators, but more praising Literature and History, bound together or not by a shared subject matter, staying or not in one other’s company with their native or adopted babies, in a highly eventful year 2018 in terms of commemorations.
Look at the facts:
1518: Publication of Utopia by Thomas More
1918: End of the First World War
1958: The Fifth Republic
1968: A rising tide of revolutionary perspective with masses of French workers in struggle
How many fictional frescos share stories of men, women, or group of people, all settled into a troubled world during a major period in the history of humanity? Just as Pierre Pelot narrates the horrific tale of The Thirty Years War in Les Vosges, writers humanize History by combining real and fictional characters according to the long-standing French tradition since Dumas’s and Hugo’s works.
There’s the history, may it be painful or joyful, its handover or non-transmission, but found in the memory of every generation. The Art of Losing by Alice Zeniter deals with the memory of the Harkis. And the memory of the Malgré-Nous, referring to men of the Alsace-Moselle region who were conscripted and sent against their will into the German Wehrmacht or in the Waffen-SS, during the Second World War.
Then there’s the beautiful literary language of certain historians or their ability to make us feel the daily life through the court records or the newspaper of the time.
Telling History (her/his story) is the fashionable art of biographies, autobiographies, and autobiographical fictions. Aragon spoke about « menti-vrai ». There’s no real equivalent word in English, but « the truth about lying » would be here the closest meaning.
Telling History is for certain journalists a way of placing themselves in the shoes of somebody else : a cleaning lady (Florence Aubenas), or a migrant (Arthur Freyer Laleix). It is also a way of having their therapy and resilience. It is the great wind of the imaginary, this vital need of the little man to grow up and shape his personality.
So – on a small or capital H – jump on board with us to the 29th Book Festival of Colmar.