Background

In my first book, Des littératures-mondes en français. Écritures singulières, poétiques transfrontalières dans la prose contemporaine (Rodopi Press, Amsterdam/New York, 2012), I analyze contemporary fiction produced by twenty writers from metropolitan France, the French Overseas Departments (e.g. Martinique, Guadeloupe, and Mauritius) and countries formerly under French colonial rule (e.g. Haiti, Algeria, Senegal, the Democratic Republic of the Congo) in order to show how writers and texts from different national, political and cultural backgrounds engage with transfrontier themes such as filiation and heritage, memory and identity, and the formation of diffracted contemporary subjects.

My current projects include two monographs and two edited volumes.

The Colonial Fortune in Contemporary French-Language Fiction (completed manuscript) originated in an observation: the subtle yet persistent presence of the colonial in narratives not directly concerned with colonial history or issues such as immigration, multiculturalism or neocolonialism. In works written by metropolitan writers, such as Claude Simon, Pierre Michon, Laurent Gaudé, Stéphane Audeguy, Régis Jauffret or Marie Darrieussecq, the reader is surprised to discover references to colonial or postcolonial history, geography, and civilization. These references are disseminated throughout the narrative and dialogues and discreetly woven into the fabric of the authorial discourse. In colonial fortune writings, the colonial figure - a trope, an event or a scene - appears both peripheral, that is ex-centric, far from the textual center and the narrative core, and liminal as a transitional object for the narrator's biographical act and a threshold for the scriptor's entrance into the realm of literature. I argue that colonial fortune writings, though distinct in style, thematic concerns, and ideological stances, share a number of discursive and narrative features crystallized around the proprioceptive and remanent dimensions of the colonial.

De la lettre morte au tombeau littéraire is dedicated to the paradigm shift in contemporary fiction from narratives that thematize the impossibility of literary and even verbal representation generated by historical traumas such as the Holocaust, slavery, genocide, torture and war (Marguerite Duras, Édouard Glissant, Gérard Étienne, and Linda Lê) to the construction of monumental narratives that reactivate the Renaissance model of the “tombeau littéraire” (Alexis Jenni, Patrick Chamoiseau, and Assia Djebar).