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La greffe générale: the voice of French facially injured soldiers

Gehrhardt, M. ORCID: (2018) La greffe générale: the voice of French facially injured soldiers. Modern and Contemporary France, 26 (4). pp. 353-368. ISSN 1469-9869

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1080/09639489.2018.1458295


Like the combatants on the frontline, the wounded soldiers of the First World War wrote and published newspapers during the sometimes lengthy periods of time they spent in hospital. La Greffe Générale is the journal written by and for facially injured combatants treated at the Val-de-Grâce military hospital in Paris. Throughout the eight issues released between December 1917 and July 1918, the voices of these men can be heard. Whilst the surgeons’ perspective prevails in most remaining documents to do with French maxillofacial wards, La Greffe Générale gives an insight into the experiences of injury and treatment from the point of view of the wounded and convalescent combatants. The specific challenges faced by facially injured men are reflected in their writings, as this article shows. At the same time, their newspaper is in itself an attempt to respond to some of these issues. Ultimately, the patients’ publication reveals how gueules cassées, as French disfigured veterans came to be known, tried to collectively cope with their changed lives. The ethos reflected in, and fuelled by, La Greffe Générale played, this article argues, a significant part in the later constitution of the facially disfigured men’s organization, the Association des Gueules Cassées.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Arts, Humanities and Social Science > School of Literature and Languages > Languages and Cultures > French
ID Code:76229
Publisher:Taylor and Francis


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