As theoretical positions and as affective experiences, the twin currents of contrition – guilt and shame – permeate literary discourse and figure prominently in discussions of ethics, history, sexuality and social hierarchy. This collection of essays, on French and francophone prose, poetry, drama, visual art, cinema and thought, assesses guilt and shame in relation to structures of social morality, language and self-expression, the thinking of trauma, and the ethics of forgiveness. The authors approach their subjects via close readings and comparative study, drawing on such thinkers as Adorno, Derrida, Jankélévitch and Irigaray. Through these they consider works ranging from the medieval
Roman de la rose through to Gustave Moreau’s Symbolist painting, Giacometti’s sculpture, the films of Marina de Van and recent sub-Saharan African writing. The collection provides an
état-présent of thinking on guilt and shame in French Studies, and is the first to assemble work on this topic ranging from the thirteenth to the twenty-first century. The book contains nine contributions in English and four in French.