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Sensational InternationalismThe Paris Commune and the Remapping of American Memory in the Long Nineteenth Century$
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J. Michelle Coghlan

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781474411202

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474411202.001.0001

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Restaging Horror: Insurgent Memories of the Commune in the 1930s

Restaging Horror: Insurgent Memories of the Commune in the 1930s

(p.130) Chapter 5 Restaging Horror: Insurgent Memories of the Commune in the 1930s
Sensational Internationalism

J. Michelle Coghlan

Edinburgh University Press

This concluding chapter turns from James’s multivalent spatial memory to a series of radical texts that unearth precisely that “other” Paris for the Popular Front by exploring Guy Endore’s 1933 bestseller, The Werewolf of Paris, a novel whose unlikely return to the Commune interrupts both its ostensible horror plot and its initial setting in 1920s Expat Paris. Reading Endore’s retelling of the Commune alongside both contemporary worker theater productions and agitprop that drew on the conventions of pulp fiction to reclaim 1871 for the American Left, I recover the way that radical pulp and radical theater in this period used the medium of horror to radically transform historical fiction and conventional histories of the Commune. Redeploying the sensational tropes so often mobilized in mainstream American narratives of the Commune so as to restage the horror of the Commune as its suppression rather than its existence, these texts escape the cul-de-sac of trauma by espousing what I term an “insurgent” rather than simply melancholic fixity on the past, refashioning the space of the Commune in Marxist thought and U.S. memory.

Keywords:   Guy Endore, The Werewolf of Paris, Herbert Gorman, Jonathan Bishop, CPUSA pamphlets, Popular Front, Commune Celebrations, Radical Memory

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