Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Even as a youth Bernanos had expressed disdain for disincarnate idealism which he opposed to incarnate virtue and truth. As evidenced in early correspondence and articles, and quite in contrast to the abstractions of Republican rhetoric, he placed great importance on the living out of what one professed as true and good.;In his fiction this principle of incarnation was to assume primary importance and he related it more and more to a specifically Christian context. His fictional heroes, whose faith is expressed by action in their daily lives, exemplify the Christian vocation of making the presence of Christ manifest on earth. They are frequently opposed in the novels to lip-service Christians or Christians whose faith is but a cultural habit and therefore disincarnate, stripped of that love and action which would make it authentic.;While living in Majorca Bernanos' experience of the Spanish Civil War finally prompted him to create the neologism "desincarnation" to denote what he perceived as modern man's general tendency to prefer abstraction and disincarnate ideals to incarnate reality. Further, in Les Grands cimetieres sous la lune, the key phrase "la desincarnation du Verbe" specifically identifies the process which Bernanos saw as the root cause of the dechristianization of Europe: the refusal of Christians themselves to incarnate the charity of Christ.;As Europe fell prey to fascist and Nazi barbarity Bernanos continued to reflect deeply upon the "desincarnation du Verbe" as the real cause behind the disintegration of Christian Europe. In his view, the true object being attacked by the unleashed forces of evil was nothing less than the continuation of the incarnation of Christ by believers. The War ended, Bernanos turned his attention to the dehumanizing effects of technology, identifying still another aspect of this process of "desincarnation."



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