New York: Longmans, Green and Co., 1942. Early printing. Octavo, original blue cloth, original dust jacket.Trace of wear to upper and lower edges, modest wear to corners, spine ends, and fore-edges of bright, unclipped jacket. A very good copy. Item #841
"MORE THAN EVER FRANCE SEEMS LIKE A LIVING PERSON, PRECIOUS IN BODY AND SOUL, PRECIOUS TO THE WORLD" Early printing of Jacques Maritain's portrait of France humiliated under Nazi occupation. Maritain left France in January 1940 to fulfil his academic obligations in America, teaching a course at the Pontifical Institute of Medieval Studies and lecturing at colleges and universities. Germany's swift springtime victory on the Western Front led to the surrender and occupation of France in June. For Maritain, returning to his homeland was no longer possible and this essay was written in exile. The text includes a brief Preface (dated, "New York, November 21, 1940") and seven sections: I. France in Humiliation, II. Politics, III. The People, IV. The Military Knockout, V. The Armistice, VI. The French in Defeat. VII. Through the Disaster. In the concluding chapter, Maritain recalls France's close ties to the Blessed Mother ("The Virgin has appeared on French soil more than in any other country") and summons the Church militant in the spirit of Joan of Arc: "when the heinous threats of our age closed up on France, the Church militant canonized her." A Post-Scriptum (dated, "April 7, 1941") updates the military situation and offers a renewed sense of hope and resolve: "The French people are in a state of silent concentration on all of their energies, physical and moral. They are enduring many things which they know are not eternal. Immobile and voiceless in the dark night, they remain awake—and wait for the day of resurgence and liberty." Third printing (October 1942), first published in May 1941 as the inaugural title in the Golden Measure Books series, edited by Maritain and Julie Kernan, intended to foster "a common respect for the image of God in man and in a common feeling for liberty."