Unanimism


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Unanimism

 

(French, unanimisme), a school in French literature. Unanimism arose in the first decade of the 20th century and included among its adherents J. Romains, G. Duhamel, R. Arcos, G. Chennevière, C. Vildrac, and L. Durtain. Romains, who wrote the manifesto Unanimist Feelings and Poetry (1905), was the leader of the school.

Having declared their opposition to symbolism, the unanimists strove for simplicity of style and for truthful depiction of reality. They sympathized with the poor and advocated the unity of peoples and the merging of man with nature. The unanimists’ desire to restore concreteness and lyric spontaneity to poetry drew them to free verse. They were, however, prevented from embracing realism by the eclecticism of their views, their abstract humanism, and their mystical cult of the “unanimity” of all human groups, irrespective of class or economic condition.

The philosophical foundation of unanimism comprised the sociology of E. Durkheim, the philosophical principles of H. Bergson and some tenets of American pragmatism. The social and humanistic poetry of W. Whitman and E. Verhaeren served as literary models for unanimism. The school was closely associated with the artistic group l’Abbaye.

As pacifists, the unanimists condemned World War I. Their paths later diverged. Although the basic ideas of the unanimists were idealistic and contradictory, at the time of its emergence the school represented a positive influence on the development of French literature.

REFERENCES

Istoriia frantsuzskoi literatury, vol. 3. Moscow, 1959. Chapter 17.
Cuisenier, A. Jules Romains: L’Unanimisme et les hommes de bonne volonté. Paris, 1969.
Minot, P., T. Maulnier, and R. Mallet. Hommage à la mémoire de J. Romains. Paris, 1973.

M. A. GOL’DMAN

References in periodicals archive ?
Drama of the Group: A Study of Unanimism in the Plays of Jules Romains.
Lopez argues that Andrade accepted concepts from Positivism, Unanimism, and Marxism, which he incorporated in his Catholic faith.
The mobilizing effort of the revolution, the massive and indiscriminate measures of its repression, and the authoritarian military state that issued from it, all powerfully combined in the sublimation of Algerian society--an enormously varied, diverse, culturally heterogeneous society--in an inflexible ideological unanimism, the denial or suppression of individualities, particularisms, divergences, and dissidence, and, of course, in the disenfranchisement of the people from the (self-)government supposedly constituted by and for them in the achievement of independence: (18)
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Unanimism is the philosophy behind the social merging that occurs in Mrs.
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Harrison's enlightened attempt to understand the nature of religious commitment leads her to consider a small and esoteric literary movement like Unanimism as an emblem of larger redemptive trends in the early twentieth century.
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He mentions unanimism, surrealism, German expressionism, and other contemporary artistic movements relevant to Beckett, but his treatment of Beckett as modernist (let alone postmodernist) tends to be brisk and perfunctory.
The title "Personalism" suggests that he had in mind Whitman's Democratic Vistas, where Whitman, who had inspired a number of French writers associated with Bloch and Barbusse (including Jules Romains, whose theory of Unanimism inspired his Men of Good Will, the first volume of which Wright knew in the early 1930s, according to Fabre's unrivaled knowledge of Wright's reading), romantically envisions a society developing best from the interiority of individual subjects.
But what starts out as a promising critique of "popular" culture ends up expressing the old anxiety for unanimism threatened by "alien" ideas: "Tina's songs," Joyce condemns, "also typify the poststructuralist sensibility" ("|Who'" 373).