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Experiment and Experience

Women’s Writing in France 2000–2010

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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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Gill Rye Conclusion

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Marie-Claire Barnet’s analysis of how the varied work of Marie Darrieussecq engages with the technological age, with the euphoric highs and traumatic crises of modern life, with borders and identities in what is a multilingual, transcultural and globalized world, is an appropriate note on which to end this volume on experiment and experience in twenty-first-century women’s writing in France. As well as taking stock of what has been happening in women’s writing in the first decade, the collection thus also of fers tantaliz- ing glimpses of the next decade to come – in terms of potential topics and issues as well as new forms of writing and performance – implicitly asking what shape our reading matter will take in 2020. Will France’s love af fair with literature and the material book continue or will digital publishing have taken over? Or will e-books and e-readers already have given way to the next instalment in this whirling technological revolution that we are living through? Who will the new readers be? What is clearer, though, is that storytelling – in all its various guises and forms – will undoubtedly survive. The enduring appeal of storytelling by women, while having centuries of history, continues to develop and to keep pace with, or forge ahead of, its times, both in content and form. As 1990s women’s writing in France of fered new stories of sex and sexuality, the body and the self, and also ushered in a dark side to women’s writing that ref lected the angst and memory...

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