Guillaume Bridet assesses how Nationalism, Cosmopolitanism and Internationalism interact and differ in the French literary context during the interwar period.
Between the two world wars, a troubled period that constitutes a crisis of civilisation, Nationalism, Cosmopolitanism and Internationalism are present at the same time in literary and intellectual French life. On one hand national writers as Maurice Barrès think that France can regenerate itself only by remaining faithful to the mainly rural and catholical culture of its people. On the other hand Cosmopolitan and Internationalist writers have both Nationalism as enemy. They indeed have in common the idea that national scale in not relevant to understand what is happening in Europe and in the world. But their goals are different. Whereas Cosmopolitanism connects every individual to the others by a common membership in Cosmos and infers that laws or habits of every country can be criticized in the name of superior values, Internationalism connects workers on the basis of their membership in lower classes and tries to arouse solidarities beyond national borders. This dialectic between Nationalism, Cosmopolitanism and Internationalism enables to reconsider the French literary and intellectual life between the two world wars, but also the role that literature can play in today's globalisation.