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Narratives of French Modernity

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

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Edited By Lorna Milne and Mary Orr

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’.

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Acknowledgements - ix

Extract

Acknowledgements The editors would like to thank the University of St Andrews for its insti- tutional and financial support of this volume and the symposium which gave it birth. The financial support for indexing by the School of Modern Languages, University of Southampton is also gratefully acknowledged. We also thank Paresh Raval and Nikki Puckey for their invaluable assist- ance and the incomparable Mary Rigby for her unstinting assistance in preparing the final typescript. To our good friend, Christine Gascoigne, warmest thanks for your help, support and proactive collusions at all stages of this project. The editors thank PhotoSCALA, Florence, for permission to repro- duce the image ‘Niger-Tessaoua: Femma Haoussa’ by Claude Lacombe in Michael Kelly’s chapter. Every ef fort has been made to trace copyright holders and to obtain their permission for the use of copyright material. The publisher apolo- gizes for any errors or omissions in the above list and would be grateful for notification of any corrections that should be incorporated in future reprints or editions of this book.

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