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Alienation and Alterity

Otherness in Modern and Contemporary Francophone Contexts

Helen Vassallo and Paul Cooke

Discussions of French ‘identity’ have frequently emphasised the importance of a highly centralised Republican model inherited from the Revolution. In reality, however, France also has a rich heritage of diversity that has often found expression in contingent sub-cultures marked by marginalisation and otherness – whether social, religious, gendered, sexual, linguistic or ethnic. This range of sub-cultures and variety of ways of thinking the ‘other’ underlines the fact that ‘norms’ can only exist by the concomitant existence of difference(s). The essays in this collection, which derive from the conference ‘Alienation and Alterity: Otherness in Modern and Contemporary Francophone Contexts’, held at the University of Exeter in September 2007, explore various aspects of this diversity in French and Francophone literature, culture, and cinema from the nineteenth to the twenty-first century. The contributions demonstrate that while alienation (from a cultural ‘norm’ and also from oneself) can certainly be painful and problematic, it is also a privileged position which allows the ‘étranger’ to consider the world and his/her relationship to it in an ‘other’ way.
Contents: Helen Vassallo/Paul Cooke: Introduction – Owen Heathcote: Queer Nation, Queer Alienation? Avatars of Monsieur Vénus – Oliver Davis: Guillaume Dustan’s ‘autopornobiographie’: Is There Room for Trash in the Queer Subcultural Archive? – Brigitte Rollet : Altérité textuelle et sexuelle ? Le cinéma populaire français contemporain et l’homosexualité – Andrew Asibong: Viral Women: Singular, Collective and Progressive Infection in Hiroshima mon amour, Les Yeux sans visage and Trouble Every Day – Martin Hurcombe: Back to Spain: Commitment in Crisis in Four French Novels of the Spanish Civil War (1958-1962) – Eva Pich-Ponce : Aliénation ou la recherche de l’altérité dans Un Joualonais sa Joualonie de Marie-Claire Blais – John Kristian Sanaker/David-Alexandre Wagner : Hétérolinguisme filmique : l’exemple du cinéma de banlieue – Nicole Fayard: ‘Faire parler ces femmes […] les libérer. Parce que dans les quartiers, on ne dit rien’: Alienation, Sexual Violence and Textual Survival in the Work of Jamila Aït-Abbas, Samira Bellil, Leila and Loubna Méliane – Fiona Handyside: The Margins Don’t Have to Be Marginal: The banlieue in the Films of Eric Rohmer – Benjamin Andréo : ‘Exercices d’exorcisme’ : les sorts et glossolalies artaldiens ou la pragmatique de l’altérité – Louise Hardwick: ‘Est-ce cela être « aliéné» ?’ Alienation in Maryse Condé’s Le Cœur à rire et à pleurer – Kate Roy: A Multiple Otherness: Beginning with Difference in the Writing of Leïla Sebbar – Jeanne Hyvrard : Penser l’aliénation et l’altérité.