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Masking Strategies

Unwrapping the French Paratext


Edited By Alistair Rolls and Maire-Laure Vuaille-Barcan

Gérard Genette’s seminal study of the paratext, Seuils (1987), is the starting point for this collection of essays, all of which seek not only to engage with Genette’s taxonomy and apply it, but also to interrogate it and to move through and beyond it. In addition to mapping Genette’s organization of (para)textual space onto a number of French texts, including novels and plays, texts translated into French, book series and publishing marketing material, these essays take up some of the challenges raised in Seuils as well as posing their own. For example, the relationship between Genette’s work and deconstructionist approaches to text and the intersection of paratextuality and translation, which are hinted at by Genette, are explored in more detail in the volume, as is the notion of moving through and beyond the paratext. As such, this book offers a significant re-engagement with and deployment of paratextual theory and practice.


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‘Un jeu avec le je’: Frédéric Beigbeder and the Value of the Authorial Paratext 85


MURRAY PRATT ‘Un jeu avec le je’: Frédéric Beigbeder and the Value of the Authorial Paratext 11 septembre 2001. Les Twin Towers se sont écroulés. – Après-midi piscine. – L’Egoïste romantique, p. 216 Notre égoïsme économique est devenu un mode de vie – L’Egoïste romantique, p. 32 Frédéric Beigbeder is known to the French public as an author of novels, autobiographical texts, and chronicles. Among his best known works are 99 francs, a fictionalized rise-and-fall account detailing the excesses and hypocrisy of the advertising industry, which was adapted for the cinema in 2007 by Jan Kounen, and Windows on the World, published in 2003, a meditation on the lives of characters caught up in the events of 11 September 2001 in New York. He has also written the scenario for two bandes dessinées about the lives of the super rich. He has worked as an editor, advertising executive, literary critic, music compiler, political advisor and television presenter. Beigbeder is a celebrity who writes about celebrity, often about his own celebrity, whether actual or distorted in the form of an avatar or double, and using either his own name, such as in Un roman français, or that of alter egos, such as Octave Parengo or Oscar Dufresne, as is the case, respectively, in the thinly veiled fiction 99 francs (2000) and in the ambigu- ously autobiographical journal, L’Egoïste romantique (2005), about which Beigbeder comments, ‘[c]’est un antijournal […]. A partir de mes...

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