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Stains / Les taches

Communication and Contamination in French and Francophone Literature and Culture

by Zoe Angelis (Volume editor) Blake Gutt (Volume editor)
Edited Collection XIV, 266 Pages
Series: Modern French Identities, Volume 129

Table Of Content

  • Cover
  • Title
  • Copyright
  • About the editors
  • About the book
  • This eBook can be cited
  • List of figures
  • Acknowledgements
  • Introduction: The stain and/as human; the stain and/as art (Zoe Angelis and Blake Gutt)
  • Part I Communication
  • 1 Shakespeare s’est trompé. La tache aveugle au théâtre (Pierre Bayard)
  • 2 Punctuation as the mark of experience: Or, how Barthesian photography has a point (Nicolas Estournel)
  • 3 L’image absolue: Autobiography and photography in Marguerite Duras’s L’Amant (Elizabeth Woodward)
  • 4 The cinematic Rorschach: Deciphering signs and stains with Michaux and Brakhage (Jules O’Dwyer)
  • 5 Lacunes : pour une étude conjointe des formes noires dans les calotypes (1840–1860) et dans la poésie mallarméenne (fin XIXe s.) (Nina Ferrer-Gleize)
  • 6 Violent erasures: Atrocity, photographic archives, and the Algerian War of Independence (1954–1962) (Katarzyna Falęcka)
  • Part II Contamination
  • 7 Franju’s animals: Stains, traces, histories (Laura McMahon)
  • 8 The pure experience of impurity: Georges Bataille, a stain in/on the history of French thought (Marie Chabbert)
  • 9 The aporias of matter: Bataille’s subjective stain and/at the origin of Žižek’s materialism (Kevin Kennedy)
  • 10 La représentation de l’abject chez Proust, Bataille, et Quignard (Rodolphe Gauthier)
  • 11 Taches de La Peste : domination et insoumission chez Camus (Lina Villate Torres)
  • 12 Les taches du passé : du souvenir traumatique à la guérison de l’âme (Sara Jeffar)
  • Coda : Vis ma vie (suite) [extract] (Olivier Cadiot)
  • Notes on contributors
  • Index
  • Series index

Zoe Angelis and Blake Gutt (eds)

Stains / Les taches

Communication and Contamination
in French and Francophone
Literature and Culture

Oxford · Bern · Berlin · Bruxelles · New York · Wien

About the editors

Zoe Angelis is a PhD candidate in the French Department and at Lucy Cavendish College, Cambridge. Her doctoral project, entitled ‘The intersection of literature and reality in the works of Bataille and Blanchot’, examines the question of what kind of real is addressed in writing (and how that might differ from more conventional representations of reality), as well as the question of writing’s own ‘being’ (that is, the particularity of its mode of being, its peculiar reality/irreality).

Blake Gutt is a postdoctoral scholar with the Michigan Society of Fellows and an assistant professor in the department of Romance Languages and Literatures at the University of Michigan. His PhD, completed in 2018 at the University of Cambridge, was entitled ‘Rhizomes, Parasites, Folds and Trees: Systems of Thought in Medieval French and Catalan Literary Texts’. His current project examines representations of gender transition and transformation in medieval European literary texts through the lens of modern transgender theory.

About the book

This volume explores and challenges the extensive possible meanings and semantic connotations of the stain, including dirt, blood, dye, clue, symptom, shadow, smudge, memory, crack, trace and blindspot. The roles, functions, workings and unworkings of stains are interrogated across a range of disciplinary areas in French and Francophone literature and culture. The collection provides a theoretical framework for the significance of the stain in interpretation across a wide range of disciplines as well as offering close readings of films, photographs, paintings and literary texts in which the figure of the stain appears. In this respect, the following key notions are addressed and reconfigured: presence and absence, obscurity, visibility and legibility, form(lessness) and (non)representation, the (non)human and the animal, language and materiality, experience and knowledge, suffering and healing, remembering and forgetting. In parallel, the collection offers innovative readings of the work of key thinkers, examining how Barthes, Proust, Bataille, Camus and others engage with the topic of stains. This volume presents the stain as a powerful critical tool which complicates and contaminates historical, ethical, aesthetic and methodological boundaries. The essays celebrate the productive potential of the stain as an oblique means of accessing and uncovering significant and unexpected continuities and discontinuities.

This eBook can be cited

This edition of the eBook can be cited. To enable this we have marked the start and end of a page. In cases where a word straddles a page break, the marker is placed inside the word at exactly the same position as in the physical book. This means that occasionally a word might be bifurcated by this marker.

Figures

Jules O’Dwyer, ‘The cinematic Rorschach: Deciphering signs and stains with Michaux and Brakhage’

Figure 4.1. Chinese Series, Stan Brakhage, 2003. Courtesy of the Estate of Stan Brakhage and Fred Camper (<http://www.fredcamper.com>).

Nina Ferrer-Gleize, ‘Lacunes : pour une étude conjointe des formes noires dans les calotypes (1840–1860) et dans la poésie mallarméenne (fin XIXe s.)’

Figure 5.1. Henri le Secq, Carrière, entrée d’une galerie, vers 1850. Papier salé, 50,8 x 37,8 cm. © Bibliothèque des Arts Décoratifs, Paris.

Figure 5.2. Gustave de Beaucorps, Porte de l’Alhambra n°40, 1858. Papier albuminé, 38 x 27,5 cm. © Bibliothèque nationale de France, Paris.

Figure 5.3. Maxime Du Camp, Le Kaire. Maison et jardin dans le quartier Frank, 1851. Papier salé, 31 x 14,5 cm. © Bibliothèque nationale de France, Paris.

Figure 5.4. John Beasley Greene, Louqsor. Sculpture historique du Pylône. Massif de gauche n°2, 1854. Papier salé, 30,5 x 23 cm. © Bibliothèque de l’Institut de France, Paris.

Figure 5.5. Henri Le Secq, Paris, neige au Champ-de-Mars, entre 1852 et 1853. Papier salé, 24 x 24,7 cm. © Bibliothèque des Arts Décoratifs, Paris.←ix | x→

Figure 5.6. Alexander Cozens, exemple de macule, dans Nouvelle méthode pour assister l’invention dans le dessin de compositions originales de paysages, trad. Patrice Oliete Loscos (Paris : Allia, 2005), 41. Encre sur papier, 24 x 31,4 cm, 1785.

Figure 5.7. Stéphane Mallarmé, Un coup de dés jamais n’abolira le hasard, in Stéphane Mallarmé, Igitur, Divagations, Un coup de dés (Paris : Poésie, Gallimard, 2003), 417–40 (428–29). 38 x 56 cm, 1897.

Katarzyna Falęcka, ‘Violent erasures: Atrocity, photographic archives, and the Algerian War of Independence (1954–1962)’

Figure 6.1. ‘Algérie, 1954–2012. Histoire et espérances’, Manière de voir–Le Monde diplomatique, no. 121, February/March 2012. Cover page with photograph by Bruno Boudjelal. © Bruno Boudjelal / Agence VU’.

Figure 6.2. Hamid Boudjelal, c. 1954–1962. Black and white print / Hahnemühle Photo Rag Bright White 310 gr, 45 cm × 30 cm. Reprinted in Nicolas Bancel, Pascal Blanchard and Sandrine Lemaire, ‘La torture en miroir’, Manière de voir–Le Monde diplomatique, no. 121, February/March 2012, 80–83 (81). © Bruno Boudjelal / Agence VU’.

Figure 6.3. Bruno Boudjelal, Scrapbooks, 2009. Mixed media, 38 cm × 24 cm. © Bruno Boudjelal / Agence VU’.

Figure 6.4. Bruno Boudjelal, Disquiet Days/Jours intranquilles, c. 1997. Black & white print / Hahnemühle Photo Rag Bright White 310 gr, 30 cm × 45 cm. © Bruno Boudjelal / Agence VU’.

Figure 6.5. Bruno Boudjelal, Scrapbooks, 2009. Mixed media, 38 cm × 24 cm. © Bruno Boudjelal / Agence VU’.←x | xi→

Figure 6.6. Bruno Boudjelal, Disquiet Days/Jours intranquilles, 1999. Black & white print / Hahnemühle Photo Rag Bright White 310 gr, 30 cm × 45 cm. © Bruno Boudjelal / Agence VU’.

Laura McMahon, ‘Franju’s animals: Stains, traces, histories’

Figure 7.1. Heads of calves (Franju, Le Sang des bêtes, 1949).

Figure 7.2. The horse arrives at the slaughterhouse (Franju, Le Sang des bêtes, 1949).

Figure 7.3. Cutting into the horse’s lips (Franju, Le Sang des bêtes, 1949).

Figure 7.4. The horse is dragged into the slaughterhouse (Franju, Le Sang des bêtes, 1949).←xi | xii→ ←xii | xiii→

Acknowledgements

‘Stains’ / « Les taches » began as the Cambridge French Graduate Conference 2016, conceived and organized by Zoe Angelis, Melissa Berrill, and Blake Gutt. The conference took place on 27 and 28 May 2016 at Emmanuel College, Cambridge, where we welcomed eighteen postgraduate and early career speakers from the UK, France, Belgium, Algeria, Morocco and the USA, as well as our two keynote speakers, Pierre Bayard and Laura McMahon. We are very grateful to the Society for French Studies, and to the French Department of the University of Cambridge, for the funding which made this event possible. Our thanks go to Professor Michael Moriarty for giving the opening address. This volume presents essays developed from a selection of the papers delivered at the conference. We are very grateful, once again, to the French Department of the University of Cambridge for the financial support which allowed us to publish this collection. Our thanks are owed to Laurel Plapp and her team at Peter Lang, who have patiently guided us through the preparation of the manuscript.

We would like to thank everyone who attended the conference, and particularly those who helped organize and chair panels: Giulia Boitani, Susie Cronin, Felix Duperrier, Cillian Ó Fathaigh, Stefano Milonia, Matt Phillips and Milosz Paul Rosinski. Thanks are due to Jeff Barda and Jean Khalfa, who arranged a poetry reading by Olivier Cadiot to coincide with the end of the conference.

Our heartfelt thanks go to Bill Burgwinkle, for his support and advice throughout; to Ian James for his advice and assistance; to our forerunners, Matt Phillips and Tomas Weber, for sharing their wisdom; to Ségolène Gence for assistance with proofreading; to Gildas Tilliette, for checking translations; to Olivier Cadiot, for kindly allowing us to reproduce an extract from one of his poems, inspired by the ‘stains’ conference, as this volume’s coda; and to Pierre Bayard for his generous offer to adopt both of us, to allow us to escape the horrors of Grexit and Brexit respectively.←xiii | xiv→

Finally, we would like to dedicate this volume to Anna Ellen Stephenson, born 29 November 2017, who came into existence and grew up faster than this book.

Zoe Angelis and Blake Gutt

Summary

This volume explores and challenges the extensive possible meanings and semantic connotations of the stain, including dirt, blood, dye, clue, symptom, shadow, smudge, memory, crack, trace and blindspot. The roles, functions, workings and unworkings of stains are interrogated across a range of disciplinary areas in French and Francophone literature and culture. The collection provides a theoretical framework for the significance of the stain in interpretation across a wide range of disciplines as well as offering close readings of films, photographs, paintings and literary texts in which the figure of the stain appears. In this respect, the following key notions are addressed and reconfigured: presence and absence, obscurity, visibility and legibility, form(lessness) and (non)representation, the (non)human and the animal, language and materiality, experience and knowledge, suffering and healing, remembering and forgetting. In parallel, the collection offers innovative readings of the work of key thinkers, examining how Barthes, Proust, Bataille, Camus and others engage with the topic of stains. This volume presents the stain as a powerful critical tool which complicates and contaminates historical, ethical, aesthetic and methodological boundaries. The essays celebrate the productive potential of the stain as an oblique means of accessing and uncovering significant and unexpected continuities and discontinuities.

Biographical notes

Zoe Angelis (Volume editor) Blake Gutt (Volume editor)

Zoe Angelis is a PhD candidate in the French Department and at Lucy Cavendish College, Cambridge. Her doctoral project, entitled «The intersection of literature and reality in the works of Bataille and Blanchot», examines the question of what kind of real is addressed in writing (and how that might differ from more conventional representations of reality), as well as the question of writing’s own «being» (that is, the particularity of its mode of being, its peculiar reality/irreality). Blake Gutt is a postdoctoral scholar with the Michigan Society of Fellows and an assistant professor in the department of Romance Languages and Literatures at the University of Michigan. His PhD, completed in 2018 at the University of Cambridge, was entitled «Rhizomes, Parasites, Folds and Trees: Systems of Thought in Medieval French and Catalan Literary Texts». His current project examines representations of gender transition and transformation in medieval European literary texts through the lens of modern transgender theory.

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Title: Stains / Les taches