Inspired by the work of their colleague David Gascoigne, a group of scholars from the UK and France examine the narrative strategies of some of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries’ most interesting and important French writers. Stretching chronologically from 1905 to 2005, this volume evokes a wide variety of prose genres, from pornography to Bildungsroman, ‘polar’ and magic realism as well as some poetry. Michel Tournier figures in several of the contributions, emerging as something of a touchstone for many of the thematic preoccupations that are evidently common throughout the period: the crisis of values and authority, self and other, identity, spirituality, migration and exile, sexuality, the body, violence and war, and language. The authors also examine the flourishing of intertextuality, as well as the use of traditional forms, such as mythical structures and the Robinsonnade, to undermine authoritative ‘métarécits’. Probing these themes and forms, and their metamorphoses across 100 years, these essays demonstrate a striking degree of continuity linking writers as different as Apollinaire and Houellebecq, Valéry and Fleutiaux, and highlight the difficulty of dividing the period neatly into chronologically-ordered categories labelled ‘modern’ or ‘postmodern’. A substantial Introduction by Lorna Milne and Mary Orr brings together the themes and forms explored in the volume, setting them in a new approach to 'metamorphic' intertextuality.
|Modern French Identities
- 1. French literature--20th century--History and criticism. 2. French literature--21st century--History and criticism