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L’Acte inqualifiable, ou le meurtre au féminin / Unspeakable Acts: Murder by Women


Edited By Émeline Jouve, Aurélie Guillain and Laurence Talairach-Vielmas

Qu’elle soit appelée meurtrière, assassine ou tueuse, la femme qui commet un homicide élude les catégories usuelles : elle dérange l’ordre social, bouleverse les rapports de forces symboliques et inquiète les dispositifs judiciaires. Cet ouvrage collectif bilingue (français et anglais) interroge la manière dont l’écriture ou la réécriture du meurtre au féminin contribue à façonner et à problématiser la mémoire collective de ces affaires criminelles qui font figure d’exception.

Female murderers often elude firmly established categories as they disrupt the social and symbolic orders of patriarchal societies and call into question the well-oiled mechanisms of their legal systems. This collection of essays (in French and in English) examines the making of narratives that have staged actual or fictional female murderers, influencing the ways in which these women are collectively remembered – narratives that often lay bare the covert foundations of the indictment process.

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Tensions and Blurring Effects Linked to the Use of the Coordinator OR in ‘Child’s Play’ by Alice Munro


Blandine PENNEC

Alice Munro’s ‘Child’s Play’1 is a prototypical example of a short story based on an extended flashback. The question of memory is at the heart of the narration, and all the more so since the protagonists, Marlene and Charlene, have committed an irreparable act. The story is that of a summer vacation that freezes the two girls in time and unites them around a horrifying act. Marlene and Charlene first meet at a summer camp where they become friends. Marlene tells Charlene about Verna, a mentally handicapped girl with whom she grew up. Marlene thinks that Verna is endowed with some sort of evil power which frightens her and triggers feelings of repulsion in Charlene as well. Then comes the last weekend of the camp, and Verna arrives with a whole group of ‘Specials’, that is to say handicapped children. Marlene and Charlene happen to be alone with Verna and, driven by ambiguous feelings, they eventually push her head beneath the water.

Discovering a story in which victimization is the driving force, the reader can only wonder if truth-telling really motivates the narration. Rather, it seems that conflicts between guilt and denial are at stake, and that the narrative strategies are based on retention rather than revelation. The murder is all the more unspeakable as it was committed by little girls: the difficulty inherent in naming the unthinkable act and the culprits is inscribed in the linguistic fabric of the text: it...

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