The Construction of an Image in Aviation: the Case of René Fonck and the French Press (1917-1926)

Abstract : The case of René Fonck is exceptional. The pilot became an ace late in May 1917 but his military performance soon earned him attention in the French press. He was nicknamed “Guynemer’s avenger”, the “invincible boche killer”, “knight of the sky”, and the modern sportsman; in other words, he was indentified in the general newspapers whereas industrial modernity was impersonal. Elected a “député-aviateur” after the war, Fonck extended his aspirations with repeated successes. As a public figure, he seemed to fly over common people and triggered the imaginary of flying, still in the making. Although it later became a weapon, aviation first incarnated constant progress and fascinated the public in the 1920s. However, Fonck’s missed attempt to fly over the Atlantic on September 1926 revealed his limits, which were relayed by the press. The hero now shown as a mere mortal was defeated. This article aims to analyze the way the French press crafted the figure of Fonck from an aerial imaginary that was touched by the absolute.
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https://halshs.archives-ouvertes.fr/halshs-02053772
Contributor : Damien Accoulon <>
Submitted on : Friday, March 1, 2019 - 3:20:43 PM
Last modification on : Tuesday, November 19, 2019 - 9:33:05 AM

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  • HAL Id : halshs-02053772, version 1

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Damien Accoulon. The Construction of an Image in Aviation: the Case of René Fonck and the French Press (1917-1926). Nacelles, Presses Universitaires du Midi, 2019, La presse et la conquête de l’air. Histoires, imaginaires, poétiques, Automne 2018 (5). ⟨halshs-02053772⟩

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