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The "I" of the Text
In Medieval Autographies, A. C. Spearing develops a new engagement of narrative theory with medieval English first-person writing, focusing on the roles and functions of the “I” as a shifting textual phenomenon, not to be defined either as autobiographical or as the label of a fictional speaker or narrator. Spearing identifies and explores a previously unrecognized category of medieval English poetry, calling it "autography.” He describes this form as emerging in the mid-fourteenth century and consisting of extended nonlyrical writings in the first person, embracing prologues, authorial interventions in and commentaries on third-person narratives, and descendants of the dit, a genre of French medieval poetry. He argues that autography arose as a means of liberation from the requirement to tell stories with preordained conclusions and as a way of achieving a closer relation to lived experience, with all its unpredictability and inconsistencies. Autographies, he claims, are marked by a cluster of characteristics including a correspondence to the texture of life as it is experienced, a montage-like unpredictability of structure, and a concern with writing and textuality. Beginning with what may be the earliest extended first-person narrative in Middle English, Winner and Waster, the book examines instances of the dit as discussed by French scholars, analyzes Chaucer’s Wife of Bath’s Prologue as a textual performance, and devotes separate chapters to detailed readings of Hoccleve’s Regement of Princes prologue, his Complaint and Dialogue, and the witty first-person elements in Osbern Bokenham’s legends of saints. An afterword suggests possible further applications of the concept of autography, including discussion of the intermittent autographic commentaries on the narrative in Troilus and Criseyde and Capgrave’s Life of Saint Katherine.
Migrations of Holocaust Remembrance
Since World War II, French and Francophone literature and film have repeatedly sought not to singularize the Holocaust as the paradigm of historical trauma but rather to connect its memory with other memories of violence, namely that of colonialism. These works produced what Debarati Sanyal calls a “memory-incomplicity” attuned to the gray zones that implicate different regimes of violence across history as well as those of different subject positions such as victim, perpetrator, witness, and reader/spectator. Examining a range of works from Albert Camus, Primo Levi, Alain Resnais, and Jean-Paul Sartre to Jonathan Littell, Assia Djebar, Giorgio Agamben, and Boualem Sansal, Memory and Complicity develops an inquiry into the political force and ethical dangers of such implications, contrasting them with contemporary models for thinking about trauma and violence and offering an extended meditation on the role of aesthetic form, especially allegory, within acts of transhistorical remembrance. What are the political benefits and ethical risks of invoking the memory of one history in order to address another? What is the role of complicity in making these connections? How does complicity, rather than affect based discourses of trauma, shame and melancholy, open a critical engagement with the violence of history? What is it about literature and film that have made them such powerful vehicles for this kind of connective memory work?As it offers new readings of some of the most celebrated and controversial novelists, filmmakers, and playwrights from the French-speaking world, Memory and Complicity addresses these questions in order to reframe the way we think about historical memory and its political uses today.
The Mystic, the Sensualist, and the Artist in the Works of Julien Green
American writer Julien Green's (1900--1998) origins, artistic motivation, and identity was a source of mystery and confusion even for those that most fêted him. The first non-French national to be elected to the Académie française, Green authored several novels ( The Dark Journey, The Closed Garden, Moira, Each Man in His Darkness, and the Dixie trilogy), a four-volume autobiography ( The Green Paradise, The War at Sixteen, Love in America and Restless Youth), and his famous Diary.
In this study, John. M Dunaway begins with an examination of the autobiographical context of Julien Green's works, in which the duality of mystic and sensualist is quite clearly polarized. He then proceeds through a selected series of Green's fictional works in an attempt to show the birth and nature of the third self as a personal myth of the artist. He then considers the fiction in chronological order with the intention of demonstrating the evolution of the myth of the third self in Green's career.
Jules Verne (1828-1905) was the first author to popularize the literary genre of science fiction. Written in 1898 and part of the author's famous series Voyages Extraordinaires, The Mighty Orinoco tells the story of a young man's search for his father along the then-uncharted Orinoco River of Venezuela. The text contains all the ingredients of a classic Verne scientific-adventure tale: exploration and discovery, humor and drama, dastardly villains and intrepid heroes, and a host of near-fatal encounters with crocodiles, jungle fever, Indians and outlaws -- all set in a wonderfully exotic locale. The Mighty Orinoco also includes a unique twist that will appeal to feminists -- readers will need to discover it for themselves. This Wesleyan edition features notes, and a critical introduction by renowned Verne scholar Walter James Miller, as well as reproductions of the illustrations from the original French edition.
CONTRIBUTORS: Walter James Miller, Stanford Luce, Arthur B. Evans.
Proust the Skeptic
Marcel Proust was long the object of a cult in which the main point of reading his great novel In Search of Lost Time was to find, with its narrator, a redemptive epiphany in a pastry and a cup of lime-blossom tea. We now live in less confident times, in ways that place great strain on the assumptions and beliefs that made those earlier readings possible. This has led to a new manner of reading Proust, against the grain. In Mirages and Mad Beliefs, Christopher Prendergast argues the case differently, with the grain, on the basis that Proust himself was prey to self-doubt and found numerous, if indirect, ways of letting us know. Prendergast traces in detail the locations and forms of a quietly nondogmatic yet insistently skeptical voice that questions the redemptive aesthetic the novel is so often taken to celebrate, bringing the reader to wonder whether that aesthetic is but another instance of the mirage or the mad belief that, in other guises, figures prominently in In Search of Lost Time. In tracing the modalities of this self-pressuring voice, Prendergast ranges far and wide, across a multiplicity of ideas, themes, sources, and stylistic registers in Proust's literary thought and writing practice, attentive at every point to inflections of detail, in a sustained account of Proust the skeptic for the contemporary reader.
French Detours, 1900-1930
Regards sur les Essais
Les Essais de Montaigne sont Poeuvre la plus indispensable pour quiconque veut comprendre l’histoire de la pensee occidentale depuis le 16e siècle (T.S. Eliot dixit). De par la grande diversite des themes explores, cet ouvrage s’adresse a tous ceux (specialistes et amateurs) qui s’interessent ce grand ecrivain-philosophe français. Parmi les aspects importants de l’oeuvre de Montaigne qui sont examines se trouvent l’Apologie de Raymond Sebond, l’autoportrait dans l’essai De la presomption, la poetique montaignienne, les rapports entre le texte et le lecteur, la metaphore de la balance dans Des livres et De trois commerces, le “desordre” des Essais, Porthodoxie religieuse de l’auteur, les rapports Montaigne/Descartes, la notion de l’ame, les “causes perdues” de l’histoire et les excipit des Essais.
Dans les onze communications que renferme ce volume, communications faites par des specialistes canadiens, americains et français lors du colloque organise en 1980 par l’Universite de Western Ontario à l’occasion du quatrieme centenaire de la publication des Essais, les auteurs ont aborde maints aspects de Poeuvre, tout en mettant a contribution les abondantes ressources de la critique de ces dernieres decennies. Tant d’analyses penetrantes ne manqueront pas de passionner tous les lecteurs des Essais de Montaigne.
Authority and Governance in the Essais
Michel de Montaigne (1533-92) is principally known today as a literary figure--the inventor of the modern essay and the pioneer of autobiographical self-exploration who retired from politics in midlife to write his private, philosophical, and apolitical Essais. But, as Biancamaria Fontana argues in Montaigne's Politics, a novel, vivid account of the political meaning of the Essais in the context of Montaigne's life and times, his retirement from the Bordeaux parliament in 1570 "could be said to have marked the beginning, rather than the end, of his public career." He later served as mayor of Bordeaux and advisor to King Henry of Navarre, and, as Fontana argues, Montaigne's Essais very much reflect his ongoing involvement and preoccupation with contemporary politics--particularly the politics of France's civil wars between Catholics and Protestants. Fontana shows that the Essais, although written as a record of Montaigne's personal experiences, do nothing less than set forth the first major critique of France's ancien régime, anticipating the main themes of Enlightenment writers such as Voltaire and Diderot. Challenging the views that Montaigne was politically aloof or evasive, or that he was a conservative skeptic and supporter of absolute monarchy, Fontana explores many of the central political issues in Montaigne's work--the reform of legal institutions, the prospects of religious toleration, the role of public opinion, and the legitimacy of political regimes.
The Will of the French Revolution
Mourning Glory sheds light on troubled times as it shows how passion and prejudice, grief and denial all contributed to the continuing creation of a revolutionary legacy that still affects our understanding of the nature of language and history.