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Proof through the NightMusic and the Great War$
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Glenn Watkins

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780520231580

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520231580.001.0001

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War and the Children

War and the Children

(p.103) 6 War and the Children
Proof through the Night

Glenn Watkins

University of California Press

In wartime Paris, the offices of the various charities that registered and distributed tickets for food, clothing, and lodging were frequently manned by writers and artists. One of the most important of these charities, the Children of Flanders Rescue Committee, was organized in 1915 by Edith Wharton. Wharton's overall commitment and generosity were hardly to be questioned, and it was in order to sustain these charities through the winter of 1915–1916 that she determined to compile Le livre des sans-foyer (The Book of the Homeless). At about the same time as Wharton was compiling her anthology Claude Debussy, now ravaged with cancer, took up his pen once more to write the text and music of his last completed composition, “Noël des enfants qui n'ont plus de maisons.” Throughout the Great War, the effects of the conflict on children fostered a potent imagery, and numerous acts of heroism, both real and imagined, proliferated. During the war, France may have produced “the first grand moral and intellectual mobilisation of the concept of childhood in the field of European politics.”.

Keywords:   France, children, Great War, charities, Edith Wharton, Claude Debussy, childhood, imagery, heroism

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