How many identities make one? The curious case of romain gary

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Romain Gary was born in Lithuania, moved to France at age 14, and spent much of his adult life in Britain and America. He represents an unusually extreme case of multiple identity in a transnational context. Despite this, Gary’s literary œuvre is not much concerned with the problem of identity. It exhibits instead a tension between protest at the inhumanity of men and the need to adapt to changing historical circumstances. The dialectic between opposition and adaptation is exemplified by the textual history of Éducation européenne.First published in wartime Britain, then amended for publication in Liberation France, then rewritten in cold war California, it was finally given a ‘definitive’ hybrid version in French. The same message is pursued in all versions but from different author-positions. It is argued that the revisions serve to dedramatise the psychological question of identity, and to redirect attention to the moral aims of writing fiction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)21-28
Number of pages8
JournalLanguage and Intercultural Communication
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Feb 15 2004

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Communication
  • Linguistics and Language


  • Adaptation
  • Assimilation
  • Moral issues in fiction
  • Rewriting
  • Romain Gary
  • Transnational writing
  • Èducation européenne


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