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28/11/2010

Laura Reeck : Writerly Identities in Beur Fiction and Beyond

Pour les lecteurs en langue anglaise voici un livre qui devrait intéresser celles et ceux qui se passionnent pour les auteurs français dont les thèmes de prédilection portent sur l’immigration, les questions culturelles et identitaires, la banlieue ou la relégation sociale, la langue comme territoire et comme identité... Autant de questions (et d’œuvres) qui pourraient bousculer le bon ordonnancement de la société, une certaine doxa imperméable aux mouvements des hommes et des idées et aider à réfléchir à la place ou au rôle de la fiction, de la littérature, dans nos quotidiens.

L’auteure, Laura Reek, professeure associée au Allegheny College étudie ici les romans de Azouz Begag, Farida Belghoul, Leïla Sebbar, Saïd Mohamed, Rachid Djaïdani, et  Mohamed Razane.  Un regard excentré, américain, sur un pan entier de la littérature française par trop délaissé…  « at home ».

On y reviendra…

 

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Voici ce que dit la quatrième de couverture :

The focus of this book is provided by postcolonial writing in France. Laura Reeck traces the evolution of this extensive corpus of works, locating these contributions within the context of contemporary cultural, political, and social challenges associated with the unresolved legacy of colonialism, arguing for their pertinence to current debates on republican ideals and values and to the treatment of underrepresented communities, and underscoring their vital role in expanding perceptions of multicultural realities. The result is a more rigorous and comprehensive understanding of culture and politics in contemporary France.” — Dominic Thomas, University of California, Los Angeles, author of Black France: Colonialism, Immigration, and Transnationalism

 

Writerly Identities in Beur Fiction and Beyond presents insightful analyses both of established Beur authors and classics of that literature and of more recent writers and works. This book is a must-read for anyone interested not only in contemporary French studies but also in immigrant literature, comparative literature, postcolonial studies, and Arab studies.”Michele Bacholle-Boskovic, Eastern Connecticut State University, author of Un passé contraignant: Double bind et transculturation

 

Writerly Identities in Beur Fiction and Beyond explores the Beur/banlieue literary and cultural field from its beginnings in the 1980s to the present. It examines a set of postcolonial bildungsroman novels by Azouz Begag, Farida Belghoul, Leïla Sebbar, Saïd Mohamed, Rachid Djaïdani, and Mohamed Razane. In these novels, the central characters are authors who struggle to find self-identity and a place in the world through writing and authorship. The book thus explores the different ways all these novels relate the process of “becoming” to the process of writing. Neither process is straightforward as the author-characters struggle to put their lives into words, settle upon a genre of writing, and adopt an authorial persona.

Each chapter of Writerly Identities in Beur Fiction and Beyond focuses on a given author’s own relationship to writing before assessing his or her use of the author-character as a proxy. In so doing, the study as a whole explores a set of literary questions (genre, textual authority, reception) and engages them against the backdrop of socio-cultural challenges facing contemporary French society. These include debates on education, cultural literacy, diversity and equal opportunity, and the banlieue environment. Finally, it argues in relation to the authors and novels in question for the particular relevance of “rooted and vernacular” cosmopolitanism, which suggests both that exploration of the world must begin at home and that stories are crucial for such explorations.

 

Laura Reeck is associate professor of French at Allegheny College.

 

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