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Redefining the Real

The Fantastic in Contemporary French and Francophone Women’s Writing


Margaret-Anne Hutton

What is ‘the literary fantastic’ and how does it manifest itself in the texts of French and francophone women writers publishing at the close of the twentieth and start of the twenty-first century? What do we mean today when we talk of ‘the real’ and ‘realism’? These are just some of the questions addressed by the papers in this volume which derive from a conference entitled ‘The Fantastic in Contemporary Women’s Writing in French’ held in London in September 2007. This book sets out to refocus through a non-realist lens on the works of high-profile authors (Darrieussecq, Nothomb, Germain, Cixous and NDiaye) and some of their less highly publicised contemporaries. It analyses and mobilises a wide range of both gendered and non-gendered practices and theories of ‘the contemporary fantastic’ whilst critically interrogating both of the latter terms and their inter-relation.
Contents: Margaret-Anne Hutton: Introduction – Catherine Rodgers: Between ‘white’ and ‘blanc’: the margin of the fantastic in Marie Darrieussecq’s White – Gill Rye: Marie Darrieussecq’s Le Pays: threshold worlds – Philippa Caine: Redefining the boundaries of corpo-reality for la femme in Marie Darrieussecq’s Naissances des fantômes – Marinella Termite : Métamorphose des objets – Margaret Topping: Orientalism and fairytale in Amélie Nothomb’s autofictions – Rosalind Silvester: Reincarnation in Ying Chen’s works: reality, fantasy or madness? – Sabine Loucif : Le fantastique dans Les trois Parques de Linda Lê – Margaret Braswell: Domestic chores, celestial bodies: the phenomenon of women’s labour in the poetry of Vénus Khoury-Ghata – Annik Doquire Kerszberg : Antonine Maillet et l’écriture à remonter le temps – Jean-Xavier Ridon : Elizabeth Vonarburg : pour une redéfinition du voyage spatio-temporel – Julia Dobson: Cixous’s theatre and the dramatic returns of the dead – Margaret-Anne Hutton: Textures and spectres in Sylvie Germain’s Magnus – Deborah Gaensbauer: Further outside the bounds: mobilization of the fantastic as trauma narrative in Marie NDiaye’s En famille – Marie-Claire Barnet : ‘Espèce de vilaine fée’ ou comment les esprits revinrent à Eve Brulard : la sorcière dans l’œuvre de Marie NDiaye – Daisy Connon: Marie NDiaye’s haunted house: uncanny autofiction in Autoportrait en vert.