Writing Exile and Engendering Subjectivity in Modern French and Francophone Literature - SAMLA - November 9-11, 2012

full name / name of organization: 
Rosie Courville, South Atlantic Modern Language Association
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In her 2004 novel Biographie de la faim, Amélie Nothomb describes her experience of exile as the child of a Belgian diplomat: "Jamais était le pays que j'habitais. C'était un pays sans retour. Je ne l'aimais pas…Les habitants de jamais n'ont pas d'espoir. La langue qu'ils parlent est la nostalgie. Leur monnaie est le temps qui passe: ils sont incapables d'en mettre de côté et leur vie se dilapide en direction d'un gouffre qui s'appelle la mort et qui est la capitale de leur pays" (67-68). In modern French literature of the periphery, many authors have detailed the complicated experience of developing subjectivity in the face of catastrophic exile like that of Nothomb. For these authors, the act of writing becomes a way in which they are able to reconcile their identity in the face of the traumatic rupture of their selfhood. This panel seeks to explore the relationship between exile and writing as an act of self-assertion in modern French and Francophone literature and seeks papers that examine exile in various French-speaking cultural contexts. Papers may address the particular difficulties of exile for marginalized groups living in a Western context or they may also address the particular difficulties that authors experience upon returning to their home cultures after spending significant time in the West. By June 15th , please send abstracts of no more than 300 words to Rosie Courville, Louisiana State University (rharri2@tigers.lsu.edu).