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Experiment and Experience

Women’s Writing in France 2000–2010


Edited By Gill Rye and Amaleena Damlé

Experiment and Experience is a collection of critical essays on twenty-first-century women-authored literature in France. In particular, the volume focuses on how contemporary women’s writing engages creatively with socio-political issues and real-life experiences. Authors covered include well-established names, the ‘new generation’ of writers who first came to the fore of the French literary scene in the 1990s and whose work has now matured into an important œuvre, as well as new emerging writers of the 2000s, whose work is already attracting scholarly and critical attention. Within the overarching theme of ‘experiment and experience’, the contributors explore a range of issues: identities, family relations, violence, borders and limits, and the environment. They consider fiction, autobiography, writing for the theatre, autofiction and other hybrid genres and forms. Their analyses highlight difficult issues, refreshing perspectives and exciting new themes at the start of the new millennium and moving forward into the coming decades.


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Part II Family Matters


Julie Rodgers Rewriting the Mother–Daughter Plot: Fête des mères by Florence Emptaz Mother–Daughter Writing In The Mother/Daughter Plot (1989), a seminal text examining the repre- sentation of the mother–daughter relationship in women’s writing from a psychoanalytical and feminist perspective, Marianne Hirsch establishes four distinct variations of mother–daughter writing. The first is charac- terized by ‘maternal repression’, where the mother in the daughter’s text is either dead, absent, silent, trivialized or inef fective. The second type relates to mother–daughter writing which features the daughter as artist, who, despite having rejected the mother’s life model by not becoming a mother herself, experiences the need to incorporate the mother’s voice into her own artistic vision. It is a phase of mother–daughter writing that oscillates between the need for both connection to and disconnection from the mother. In the third, which Hirsch labels matricentric mother– daughter writing, the mother becomes, more than ever before, a central preoccupation of the daughter’s text if not an absolute precondition. The daughter, through writing, expresses a desire to re-experience the mother and examine the intertwined realities of mother and daughter. It is impor- tant, however, not to misread this stage of increasing matricentralization as giving rise to an unproblematic valorization of the mother, for much of this type of mother–daughter writing continues to be marked by a need on the part of the daughter to sever the bond with the mother in order to assert herself as an individual....

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