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Enduring Negativity

Representations of Albinism in the Novels of Didier Destremau, Patrick Grainville and Williams Sassine

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Charlotte Baker

This study focuses on fictional representations of albinism in the work of the French writers Didier Destremau and Patrick Grainville, and the Francophone Guinean writer Williams Sassine. The focus on selected novels allows for an in-depth study of each narrative and sheds new critical light on these under-studied writers, permitting a comparative discussion of the novels in relation to other writing about albinism. A series of common themes can be found in these novels, which, although present in different combinations and intensities, echo the preoccupations of all fictional writing about albinism. They include a recognition of the problematic relationship between inner and outer reality (in both bodily terms and in relation to notions of inclusion and exclusion), the challenging of accepted categories and designations, and the consequent problematisation of the relationship between Self and Other. Bound up with these issues, of course, are questions of identity and power.

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Acknowledgements -vii

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Acknowledgements I would like to thank the many people who have contributed in so many dif ferent ways to the completion of this book. At Nottingham University, where this project was initiated, I benefited from engagement with fellow postgraduates and academics in the Department of French and Franco- phone Studies. Since I first began to work on this project as my Masters dissertation, developed it into a doctoral thesis and reworked it for publi- cation, Nicki Hitchcott has generously of fered much-valued intellectual guidance and professional advice. Zoë Norridge and Susan Dickinson have provided invaluable critique and encouragement, and conversations with Femi Adebajo, Nathaniel Boso and Ademola Abass provided stimulating discussions and fruitful leads. Christopher Johnson of fered helpful advice on drafts of the chapters and I am indebted to Roger Little and Kathryn Batchelor, for their invaluable comments. I am grateful to Charles Forsdick and Allyson Fiddler for their encour- agement to pursue the publication of Enduring Negativity. I would also like to thank colleagues in the Department of European Languages and Cultures, members of the African Studies Group and colleagues in the Centre for Transcultural Writing and Research at Lancaster University who have heard and given feedback on sections of this book presented as work in progress papers. My thanks also go to colleagues in the Society for Francophone Postcolonial Studies as well as delegates at conferences in the UK, USA and South Africa who have shown such interest in this project and of fered their insightful comments....

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