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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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albinism 1 discrimination 53 genetics 15, 39 HIV AIDS 67 inscrutable albino 170 language 2, 52, 54 media representation 51 misconceptions 65 myth v, 57, 73, 74, 202, 206, 212 nègre blanc 2 ocular albinism 2 oculocutaneous albinism 1 prevalence 2 stereotype v, 57, 58, 59, 62, 82, 211 Anzieu, Didier 36, 37, 198 Bakhtin, Mikhail 48 grotesque 49 belonging 98 Berlin Conference 131 Bhabha, Homi 15, 16, 58, 113, 160 Blumenbach, Johann Friedrich 27 body, the 20, 49, 164 albino body 23 body modification 99 colour 25 inscription 166 skin 24, 37 tattooing 100 boundary, the 131, 139 centre/margin dichotomy 134 Destremau, Didier: Nègre blanc 4, 8, 25, 29, 30, 38, 43, 44, 45, 52, 55, 61, 62, 64, 65, 66, 68, 69, 70, 72, 75, 77, 78, 89, 90, 92, 99, 100, 102, 103, 108, 110, 114, 116, 121, 122, 126, 127, 128, 130, 132, 134, 137, 138, 139, 142, 145, 158, 159, 163, 182, 183, 193, 197 disability 20, 41, 42, 45, 55, 58, 62, 84, 88, 91, 118, 135, 171, 180, 183, 189 Douglas, Mary 118 exclusion 87, 91 Fanon, Frantz 3, 16, 17, 26, 32, 35, 50, 53, 102, 124, 143, 144, 151, 157, 158, 160, 172, 173, 184, 199, 200, 203, 204 Les Damnés de la terre 17, 124, 203 Peau noire, masques blancs 3, 16, 17, 26, 32, 35, 50, 53, 102, 143, 144, 151, 157, 158, 172, 184, 203 forest 122 freakery 51 freak shows 51, 128 Grainville, Patrick:...

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