June 20, 2021

history of a French critical edition

Don’t tell Sophie de Closets, CEO of Fayard, that she’s about to publish My fight. The answer would be: « Fake news », as she said, Wednesday, May 19, during the press conference announcing the publication, on June 2, of a book which bears a different title: Historicize evil. A critical edition of Mein Kampf. With, by way of author’s name, not that of Adolf Hitler, who published this mixture of autobiography and political manifesto in 1925 and 1926, but those of two academics, specialists in the history of Nazism: the German Andreas Wirsching and French Florent Brayard.

Article reserved for our subscribers Read also The Fayard editions announce the publication, on June 2, of their critical edition of “Mein Kampf”

The volume, which adapts and extends the book published in Germany, in January 2016, under the aegis of the Institut für Zeitgeschichte (“institute of contemporary history”), directed in Munich (Bavaria) by Andreas Wirsching, contains of course the full text of My fight translated by Olivier Mannoni. But it is bordered on all sides by notes, long introductions – one general, and one per chapter, the latter being an innovation of the French edition -, a whole set of insights, contextualizations, rectifications of the infinite lies. of the future chancellor of the IIIe Reich.

Read also (2017): Germany: “Mein Kampf” reissued, bestselling bookstore

Or a scientific critique of the text, such as any significant historical source must undergo at one time or another. We can all the more congratulate ourselves on this since this had never been the case for what was the favorite book of Nazi Germany and continues today to circulate intensely in circles of the extreme right or of the radical Islamism.

So that everything looks for the best, and the story should be able to end there. However, it has been at least five years since the mere mention of this project has caused an uproar that is struggling to die out. Re-edit My fight whether or not this formulation is “fake news”, could not, should not, leave no one indifferent. And, obviously, this was not the case.

In 2011, a legitimate project

The site, however, was slow to become a battlefield. The current CEO of Grasset, Olivier Nora, who then combined this position with the management of Fayard, remembers: “When, in 2011, we announced our project, everyone found it legitimate. ” It was the historian and publisher Anthony Rowley, to whom Olivier Nora had entrusted the historical books sector at Fayard in 2010, who had spoken to him about it first. Fabrice d’Almeida, historian, journalist, publisher, remembers how the idea of ​​resuming My fight came to his friend: “Anthony, in the late 2000s, had noticed that there were a lot of publications of versions of Hitler’s book, especially online. There was a climate. People referred to him, he was more present than ever. “

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