New writers, new literatures in the 1990s
Editors: Gill Rye and Michael Worton

The 1990s witnessed an explosion in women's writing in France, with a particularly exciting new generation of writer's coming to the fore, such as Christine Angot, Marie Darrieussecq and Regine Detambel. This book introduces an analysis of new women's writing in contemporary France, including both new writers of the 1990s and their more established counter-parts. The 1990s was an exciting period for women's writing in France. The novels of Louise Lambrichs are brilliant but troubling psychological dramas focusing on the traumas that inhabit the family romance: incest, sterility, the death those we love and the terrible legacy of mourning. The body of writing produced by Marie Redonnet between 1985 and 2000 is an unusually coherent one. The book explores the possibility of writing 'de la mélancolie' through focusing on the work of Chantal Chawaf, whose writing may be described as 'melancholic autofiction', melancholic autobiographical fiction. It places Confidence pour confidence within Constant's oeuvre as a whole, and argues for a more positive reading of the novel, a reading that throws light on the trajectory of mother-daughter relations in her fiction. Christiane Baroche was acclaimed in France first as a short-story writer. Unable to experience the freedom of their brothers and fathers, beur female protagonists are shown to experience it vicariously through the reading, and the writing of, narratives. Clotilde Escalle's private worlds of sex and violence, whose transgressions are part of real lives, shock precisely because they are brought into the public sphere, expressed in and through writing.

Open Access (free)
Chantal Chawaf ’s melancholic autofiction
Kathryn Robson

   The female vampire: Chantal Chawaf ’s melancholic autofiction Julia Kristeva opens her text, Soleil noir: dépression et mélancolie, with the claim that ‘Ecrire sur la mélancolie n’aurait de sens, pour ceux que la mélancolie ravage, que si l’écrit même venait de la mélancolie’ (‘For those who are racked by melancholia, writing about it would have meaning only if writing sprang out of that very melancholia’).1 This chapter explores the possibility of writing ‘de la mélancolie’ through focusing on the work of Chantal Chawaf, whose writing may be

in Women’s writing in contemporary France
Open Access (free)
Gill Rye and Michael Worton

the case of Chantal Chawaf, contamination. Alternatively, loss can take the form of a more conscious attempt to convey its effects and be traceable in the aesthetics of a text, surfacing in motifs, in metaphors, or in form, as for example, in the works of Paule Constant or Sibylle Lacan. Our internal selves are also manifest in other ways. Fears and fantasies are given material reality in Marie Darrieussecq’s novels of women in crisis, in the literalisation of metaphors pertaining to women’s bodies, in the undercurrents of presence and absence, in the void at the

in Women’s writing in contemporary France
Open Access (free)
Gill Rye and Michael Worton

. Indeed, if trauma is literally unspeakable – if it cannot be narrated – then the reader must locate it in the gaps, in the ellipses, in the metaphors and images, rather than in the story that is being told. In this volume, Kathryn Robson shows how the figure of the female vampire in Chantal Chawaf ’s Vers la lumière gives voice to the unspeakable loss of the narrator’s mother as, elsewhere, she reads the trauma of childhood sexual abuse in the fragmentary aesthetics of  Introduction Béatrice de Jurquet’s writing.37 Literary testimonies can challenge the limits of

in Women’s writing in contemporary France