Between Present and Past: Nostalgia in Francophone Literature; NeMLA April 7-10, 2010

full name / name of organization: 
Amy L. Hubbell, Kansas State University
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"Nostalgia tells it like it wasn't," according to David Lowenthal's 1989 article, yet many are compelled to cling to their longing for the past. This is especially true for many French and Francophone authors who lived through the end of colonialism. While they may overtly deny their nostalgia, it is difficult to escape the compulsion to recreate the time before their exile. Authors such as Albert Camus, Marguerite Duras, and Marie Cardinal, among many others, cannot help but recreate their colonial homes even when they write from a postcolonial position. Rewriting the past can be therapeutic and obsessive. As Judith Butler explains in "The Pleasure of Repetition" (1990), repeating the past is a vain effort "to inhabit that past within the terms of the present and effect its fantasized reconstruction." In an attempt to understand how nostalgia affects memory writing and how writing sustains nostalgia, this panel will examine the recreation of the past in French and Francophone postcolonial literature. Email Amy L. Hubbell ( with proposed abstracts of 300 words by September 30, 2009.

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Additional Conference Information:
The 41st Annual Convention will feature approximately 350 sessions, as well as dynamic speakers and cultural events. Details and the complete Call for Papers for the 2010 Convention are posted at

Interested participants may submit abstracts to more than one NeMLA session; however panelists can only present one paper (panel or seminar). Convention participants may present a paper at a panel and also present at a creative session or participate in a roundtable.

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