Narratives of French Modernity

Themes, Forms and Metamorphoses- Essays in Honour of David Gascoigne

by Lorna Milne (Volume editor) Mary Orr (Volume editor)
©2011 Others X, 353 Pages
Series: Modern French Identities, Volume 62


Inspired by the work of their colleague David Gascoigne, a group of scholars from the UK and France examine in this book the narrative strategies of some of the most interesting and important French writers of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Stretching chronologically from 1905 to 2005, the volume examines a wide variety of prose genres, from pornography to Bildungsroman to magic realism, as well as poetry. Michel Tournier figures in several of the contributions, emerging as something of a touchstone for many of the thematic preoccupations that are common throughout the period: 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 ‘robinsonade’, to undermine authoritative ‘métarécits’. Probing these themes and forms, and their metamorphoses across 100 years, the essays demonstrate a striking degree of continuity, linking writers as different as Apollinaire and Houellebecq or Valéry and Fleutiaux, and highlight the difficulty of dividing the period neatly into chronologically ordered categories labelled ‘modern’ or ‘postmodern’.


X, 353
ISBN (Softcover)
Publication date
2011 (August)
wide variety of prose genres, from pornography to continuity linking writers as different as Apolli twentieth and twenty-first centuries' most intere Fleutiaux pornography Bildungsroman magic realism polar Apollinaire Houellebecq Valéry
Oxford, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, New York, Wien, 2011. X, 353 pp., num. coloured and b/w ill., 1 table

Biographical notes

Lorna Milne (Volume editor) Mary Orr (Volume editor)

Lorna Milne is Professor of French at the University of St Andrews. She is the author of monographs on Michel Tournier and Patrick Chamoiseau, and works on modern and contemporary literature from metropolitan France and the Caribbean. Mary Orr is Professor of French at the University of Southampton. Her most recent monographs are Intertextuality: Debates and Contexts (2003) and Flaubert’s Tentation: Remapping Nineteenth-Century Histories of Religion and Science (2008). She is currently working on the place and roles of women in early nineteenth-century European natural science and its writing.


Title: Narratives of French Modernity