Contemporary French fictions of suicide: a medical humanities approach

Katie Jones*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Abstract

This paper compares Catherine Cusset’s L’autre qu’on adorait (2016) and Régis Jauffret’s Lacrimosa (2008), as examples of 21st-century novels in which suicide is the central focus. Recent texts tend to move away from earlier portrayals of suicide as a philosophical or aesthetic gesture towards a deeper engagement with the causes and consequences of suicide. Placing these highly literary autofictions within a wider context of cultural interest in suicide extending to popular genres, I suggest that their formal complexity allows them to engage critically with stereotypes, and represent the unknowability of the suicidal mind. I also argue that literary representation of mental illness should be seen as part of a broader public discourse that influences social attitudes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)173-190
JournalEssays in French Literature and Culture
Issue number58
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2021

Keywords

  • Suicide
  • Jauffret
  • Cusset
  • Autofiction
  • Medical Humanities

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