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Essays in French Literature, Thought and Cinema


Isabelle McNeill and Bradley Stephens

As a concept, transmission is crucial to our understanding of how ideas circulate within and across cultures. It opens up a series of questions that link to key debates concerning the exchange of knowledge. Bringing together research from a broad range of areas in French studies, this volume investigates the workings of transmission in relation to canonical and contemporary figures alike, including Proust, Barthes, Derrida, Jean-Luc Godard, and Claire Denis. The essays collected here offer a lively response to the themes of transmission, considering literature and philosophy from the medieval period onwards, as well as modern cinema and critical theory. The first section traces concepts of malign transmission that have informed medieval, early modern and finally contemporary representations of contagion. The second section addresses the impact of trauma, along with its imperative to testify to, or transmit, painful experiences such as rape and the Holocaust. The final section considers transmission in terms of a signal that carries a message, as well as the media that transport or encode that signal.
Contents: Isabelle McNeill/Bradley Stephens: Begin Transmission – Catherine Léglu: Nourishing Lineage in Coudrette’s Roman de Mélusine ou Histoire de Lusignan (1401) – Michael Moriarty: The Transmission of Original Sin: the doctrine of the Fall in seventeenth-century thought – Natalie Sheehan: Acknowledging the Intermediary: a look at scapegoats, supplements and the temptation of mimetic contagion in Girard, Derrida, and Agamben – Laura McMahon: The Contagious Body of the Film: Claire Denis’s Trouble Every Day (2001) – Andrew Asibong: Moja Sestra: Marie NDiaye and the transmission of horrific kinship – Kathryn Robson: From Beneath the Skin: rape and testimony in Nancy Huston’s Histoire d’Omaya (1985) – Ferzina Banaji: Alain Resnais’s Nuit et Brouillard (1955): memory, time and distance – Lucy O’Meara: ‘L’affaire Barthes’ and Ownership of the Voice – Sarah Joseph: Marcel and Albertine: a Proustian psychoanalysis of listening? – Stephen Forcer: Ceci n’est pas une transmission : Dada and surrealism in work by Jean-Luc Godard and Anne-Marie Miéville.