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Interpretation and Its Ethical Demands
Drawing on literary theory and canonical French literature, Reading Unruly examines unruliness as both an aesthetic category and a mode of reading conceived as ethical response. Zahi Zalloua argues that when faced with an unruly work of art, readers confront an ethical double bind, hesitating then between the two conflicting injunctions of either thematizing (making sense) of the literary work, or attending to its aesthetic alterity or unreadability.
Creatively hesitating between incommensurable demands (to interpret but not to translate back into familiar terms), ethical readers are invited to cultivate an appreciation for the unruly, to curb the desire for hermeneutic mastery without simultaneously renouncing meaning or the interpretive endeavor as such. Examining French texts from Montaigne’s sixteenth-century Essays to Diderot’s fictional dialogue Rameau’s Nephew and Baudelaire’s prose poems The Spleen of Paris, to the more recent works of Jean-Paul Sartre’s Nausea, Alain Robbe-Grillet’s Jealousy, and Marguerite Duras’s The Ravishing of Lol Stein, Reading Unruly demonstrates that in such an approach to literature and theory, reading itself becomes a desire for more, an ethical and aesthetic desire to prolong rather than to arrest the act of interpretation.
Accelerating Narrative from Balzac to Zola
In Real Time David F. Bell explores the decisive impact the accelerated movement of people and information had on the fictions of four giants of French realism--Balzac, Stendhal, Dumas, and Zola. _x000B__x000B_Nineteenth-century technological advances radically altered the infrastructure of France, changing the ways ordinary citizens--and literary characters--viewed time, space, distance, and speed. The most influential of these advances included the improvement of the stagecoach, the growth of road and canal networks leading to the advent of the railway, and the increasing use of mail, and of the optical telegraph. Citing examples from a wide range of novels and stories, Bell demonstrates the numerous ways in which these trends of acceleration became not just literary devices and themes but also structuring principles of the novels themselves. _x000B__x000B_Beginning with both the provincial and the Parisian communications networks of Balzac, Bell proceeds to discuss the roles of horses and optical telegraphs in Stendhal and the importance of domination of communication channels to the characters of Dumas, whose Count of Monte-Cristo might be seen as the ultimate fictional master of this accelerated culture. Finally, Bell analyzes the cinematic vision created by the arrival of the railroad, as depicted by Zola in La Bete Humaine.
From Fiction to Reality in the Nineteenth-Century French Novel
Reconstructing Woman explores a scenario common to the works of four major French novelists of the nineteenth century: Balzac, Flaubert, Zola, and Villiers. In the texts of each author, a “new Pygmalion” (as Balzac calls one of his characters) turns away from a real woman he has loved or desired and prefers instead his artificial re-creation of her. All four authors also portray the possibility that this simulacrum, which replaces the woman, could become real. The central chapters examine this plot and its meanings in multiple texts of each author (with the exception of the chapter on Villiers, in which only “L’Eve future” is considered). The premise is that this shared scenario stems from the discovery in the nineteenth century that humans are transformable. Because scientific innovations play a major part in this discovery, Dorothy Kelly reviews some of the contributing trends that attracted one or more of the authors: mesmerism, dissection, transformism and evolution, new understandings of human reproduction, spontaneous generation, puericulture, the experimental method. These ideas and practices provided the novelists with a scientific context in which controlling, changing, and creating human bodies became imaginable. At the same time, these authors explore the ways in which not only bodies but also identity can be made. In close readings, Kelly shows how these narratives reveal that linguistic and coded social structures shape human identity. Furthermore, through the representation of the power of language to do that shaping, the authors envision that their own texts would perform that function. The symbol of the reconstruction of woman thus embodies the fantasy and desire that their novels could create or transform both reality and their readers in quite literal ways. Through literary analyses, we can deduce from the texts just why this artificial creation is a woman.
Redrawing French Empire in Comics by Mark McKinney investigates how comics have represented the colonization and liberation of Algeria and Indochina. It focuses on the conquest and colonization of Algeria (from 1830), the French war in Indochina (1946–1954), and the Algerian War (1954–1962). Imperialism and colonialism already featured prominently in nineteenth-century French-language comics and cartoons by Töpffer, Cham, and Petit. As society has evolved, so has the popular representation of those historical forces. French torture of Algerians during the Algerian War, once taboo, now features prominently in comics, especially since 2000, when debate on the subject was reignited in the media and the courts. The increasingly explicit and spectacular treatment in comics of the more violent and lurid aspects of colonial history and ideology is partly due to the post-1968 growth of an adult comics production and market. For example, the appearance of erotic and exotic, feminized images of Indochina in French comics in the 1980s indicated that colonial nostalgia for French Indochina had become fashionable in popular culture. Redrawing French Empire in Comics shows how contemporary cartoonists such as Alagbé, Baloup, Boudjellal, Ferrandez, and Sfar have staked out different, sometimes conflicting, positions on French colonial history.
Vol. 47 (2006) through current issue
Romance Notes, a journal that accepts articles on any literary, cultural, or linguistic topic dealing with Romance studies, appears three times a year Articles, or “notes” as they are called, can be written in any Romance language and in English and should not exceed 3,000 words. Romance Notes was founded in 1959 by Professor U. T. Holmes, Jr., and is now led by Professor Monica Rector. It has more than fifty annual volumes published as of 2012.
One of Rousseau's later and most puzzling works and never before available in English, this neglected autobiographical piece was the product of the philosopher's old age and sense of persecution. Long viewed simply as evidence of his growing paranoia, it consists of three dialogues between a character named "Rousseau" and one identified only as "Frenchman" who discuss the bad reputation and works of an author named "Jean-Jacques." Dialogues offers a fascinating retrospective of his literary career.
From the Bizarre to the Sublime
" Salvator Rosa (1615–1673) was a colorful and controversial Italian painter, talented musician, a notable comic actor, a prolific correspondent, and a successful satirist and poet. His paintings, especially his rugged landscapes and their evocation of the sublime, appealed to Romantic writers, and his work was highly influential on several generations of European writers. James S. Patty analyzes Rosa’s tremendous influence on French writers, chiefly those of the nineteenth century, such as Stendhal, Honoré de Balzac, Victor Hugo, George Sand, and Théophile Gautier. Arranged in chronological order, with numerous quotations from French fiction, poetry, drama, art criticism, art history, literary history, and reference works, Salvator Rosa in French Literature forms a narrative account of the reception of Rosa’s life and work in the world of French letters. James S. Patty, professor emeritus of French at Vanderbilt University, is the author of Dürer in French Letters . He lives in Nashville, Tennessee.
Selected Later Poems of Guillaume Apollinaire
Guillaume Apollinaire's final years exactly coincided with the clamorous advent of European Modernism and with the cataclysms of WWI. In The Self-Dismembered Man, poet Donald Revell offers new English translations of the most powerful poems Apollinaire wrote during those years: poems of nascent surrealism, of combat and of war-weariness. Here, too, is Apollinaire's last testament, "The Pretty Redhead," a farewell to the epoch that he--as poet, convict, art-critic, artilleryman and boulevardier--did so much to conjure and sustain until his death on Armistice Day in 1918. Readers of Apollinaire's more familiar early work, Alcools (Wesleyan, 1995), will find here a darker and yet more tender poet, a poet of the broken world who shares entirely the world's catastrophe even as he praises to the end its glamour and its strange innocence. This English translation, facing the original French, illuminates Apollinaire's crucial and continuing influence on the European and American avant-garde. The volume includes a short translator's preface.
Petrarchan Poetics and the Female Voice in Louise Labe
These four essays by Howard Jones, R. J. M. Blackett, Thomas Schoonover, and James M. McPherson reconsider why the Confederacy never received the foreign aid that it counted on, and trace the war's impact upon European and Latin nations and dependencies. The book provides fresh perspectives regarding Britain’s refusal to recognize the Confederacy, the role abroad of pro-Union African-American lecturers, French emperor Napoleon III's intervention in Mexico, and the Civil War's meaning to peoples all over the world.