Gringoire (newspaper)

Typical cover of Gringoire.

Gringoire (French pronunciation: [ɡʁɛ̃ɡwaʁ]) was a political and literary weekly newspaper in France, founded in 1928 by Horace de Carbuccia (son-in-law of Jean Chiappe, the prefect of police involved in the Stavisky Affair), Georges Suarez and Joseph Kessel.[1]

It was one of the great inter-war weekly French papers, following a formula started by Candide, and taken up not only by Gringoire but also by the left-wing papers Vendredi and Marianne. The style involved according significant space to politics, having a high-quality literature page, having grand reportages and grand feuilletons (in this case with Pierre Drieu La Rochelle and Francis Carco), satirical cartoons (the main illustrator of Gringoire was Roger Roy), and a simple presentation.

From the centre-right to right-wing nationalism

At the outset Gringoire was a pamphlet, the principal trait of a paper called a macédoine, a term coined by Carbuccia himself. Marxism and the left in general were its favourite targets. Initially, however, it was not a paper of the extreme-right; it was content to represent the right-wing fringe of the Union nationale led by Raymond Poincaré, with a veteran-like style which it retained throughout.

After 6 February 1934, following the general trend toward radicalisation, Gringoire became antiparliamentarian. The influence of Action française made itself felt. In October 1935, Gringoire declared itself against the international sanctions imposed on Italy following its invasion of Abyssinia. For a long time the paper had showed itself favourable to Italian fascism, as well as to the Salazar regime in Portugal. It also developed an increasingly marked Anglophobia. Henri Béraud, the paper's editor, published in the 11 October 1935 issue an article titled "Do we have to reduce England to slavery?". From 1930 the paper, at first Germanophobe and nationalist, slid towards a clear hostility to war, and even to any military intervention in Europe.

An example is the novelist Romain Gary who published two novels in Gringoire: The Storm (15 February 1935) and A Small Woman (24 May 1935), under his real name Roman Kacew. When the journal, "having turned strongly to the right, then to the extreme-right" introduced fascist and anti-semitic ideas, Gary stopped sending his writings despite the significant compensation he received, of 1000 francs per 6-column page.[2]

In his essay on William Butler Yeats, George Orwell cites the predominance of advertising by clairvoyants in Gringoire as an example of the affinity of mysticism with right-wing politics.[3]

From anti-militarism to Vichyism

From 1936 onwards, a second radicalisation took place, involving a convergence of anti-war views and a vitriolic hostility to the left. People who espoused war were deemed by extension communist sympathisers. This view was tinged with anti-semitism and xenophobia; the Jews were accused of wanting war in order to overthrow the Nazi regime (which Gringoire did not explicitly endorse but refrained from criticising); they were also accused of spreading the red revolution from Moscow. Jews were also the supreme agents of communism in France, and favoured immigration, despised by Gringoire as a source of problems.

The Popular Front of France and the Popular Front of Spain were excoriated by Gringoire. André Tardieu was the editorial writer from 1936 to 1939; when he had a stroke, Philippe Henriot and Roland Dorgelès joined the editorship.

In the 1930s, Gringoire was widely appreciated—to the same extent as Candide, L'Action française and Je suis partout—in right-wing and extreme-right Romanian circles. It sold excellently in Bucharest.

Gringoire approved the Munich Accords, which provoked a fight between Tardieu (who opposed the accords) and Béraud (who was in favour). In spring 1939, Gringoire criticised the 1938 invasion of Czechoslovakia by Germany, and from July 1939 to May 1940, rallied to the politics of national defence. Its tone changed after the defeat; Gringoire, allying with the Vichy regime, fully approved the armistice and Philippe Pétain's national revolution. However, while most of the journalists were ideologically collaborationists, Carbuccia was, according to Pascal Ory, in favour of strategic collaboration. He stopped the newspaper's circulation on 25 May 1944.

Among the paper's contributors was Irène Némirovsky, a politically conservative ethnic Jew of Russian origin who had converted to Catholicism. After the war started, Gringoire was the only magazine that continued to publish her work, pseudonymously, thus "guarantee[ing] Némirovsky's family some desperately needed income." She was arrested in 1942 by the French gendarmerie and handed over to the Nazis; she died of typhus a month after her arrest.[4]

Principal sources


  1. Myriam Anissimov, Romain Gary, Le Caméléon, éditions Folio, 2006, chapitre 19, p. 145.
  2. Myriam Anissimov, Romain Gary, Le Caméléon, éditions Folio, 2006, chap. 19, p. 145 and p. 147).
  3. George Orwell (January 1943). "W.B. Yeats". O. Dag.
  4. Messud, Claire (2008). "Introduction". Irene Némirovsky--Four Novels. Knopf. pp. ix–xix. ISBN 9780307267085.
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