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New writers, new literatures in the 1990s
Editors: and

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)
Street and theatre at the end of Fordism
David Calder

– the familiar denizens of ‘the street’ – together with visual artists and theatre troupes seeking to experiment with alternative modes of expanding and engaging with their publics. The festival ran for three subsequent summers and, in retrospect, assumed the status of a ­‘foundational moment’ for contemporary French street theatre.1 It is historical coincidence that this foundational moment was so neatly bookended by two key episodes in the collapse of the Fordist compromise and the end of post-World War II economic growth. The spring property crash did not directly

in Street theatre and the production of postindustrial space
Open Access (free)
Gill Rye
and
Michael Worton

self is also clearly manifest and, indeed, foregrounded in the work of a significant number of the contemporary French women writers discussed in this volume. The authorial self as narrator or protagonist is subject to the same tensions and negotiations as other aspects of the self – above all, in relation to her readers. Sophie Calle’s experiments with her/self both challenge and implicate the reader in an ethical relation to the text, in which respect for the other and the self is precisely at stake. In Detambel’s L’Ecrivaillon, the writing self is embodied, only to

in Women’s writing in contemporary France
Working memories
Author:

Street theatre and the production of postindustrial space explores how street theatre transforms industrial space into postindustrial space. Deindustrializing communities have increasingly turned to cultural projects to commemorate industrial heritage while simultaneously generating surplus value and jobs in a changing economy. Through analysis of French street theatre companies working out of converted industrial sites, this book reveals how theatre and performance more generally participate in and make historical sense of ongoing urban and economic change. The book argues, firstly, that deindustrialization and redevelopment rely on the spatial and temporal logics of theatre and performance. Redevelopment requires theatrical events and performative acts that revise, resituate, and re-embody particular pasts. The book proposes working memory as a central metaphor for these processes. The book argues, secondly, that in contemporary France street theatre has emerged as working memory's privileged artistic form. If the transition from industrial to postindustrial space relies on theatrical logics, those logics will manifest differently depending on geographic context. The book links the proliferation of street theatre in France since the 1970s to the crisis in Fordist-Taylorist modernity. How have street theatre companies converted spaces of manufacturing into spaces of theatrical production? How do these companies (with municipal governments and developers) connect their work to the work that occurred in these spaces in the past? How do those connections manifest in theatrical events, and how do such events give shape and meaning to redevelopment? Street theatre’s function is both economic and historiographic. It makes the past intelligible as past and useful to the present.

Ann-Kristin Wallengren

to some of the moments’ most essential functions, which are that they often incline towards ‘aesthetic and thematic excessiveness’ and thus evoke strong affective responses in the audience. 12 The affective power of musical moments is central to Phil Powrie’s discussion in his monograph Music in Contemporary French Cinema: The Crystal Song in which he, like Herzog, draws on the writings of Gilles Deleuze as a starting point for discussion. However, as mentioned, Powrie mostly confines himself to

in Ingmar Bergman
Open Access (free)
Working memory
David Calder

on that history as a source of stability even as the group shapes and reshapes it, thereby revealing how unstable it is. This interweaving of authenticity and fakery, of duration and ephemerality, of embodiment and absence, of time and space, makes up the fabric of history, memory, and, of course, theatre. Introduction: working memory 3 This is a book about how street theatre companies and their performances produce postindustrial space. It takes as its objects of analysis the institutions and events of contemporary French street theatre. At its core, this book

in Street theatre and the production of postindustrial space
Open Access (free)
Gill Rye
and
Michael Worton

introduced to the work of writers such as Christine Angot, Virginie Despentes, Linda Lê and Lorette Nobécourt at the very same time that these authors were still in the process of establishing their names.1 On the cusp of a new century and, of course, a new millennium, it is both time and timely to publish this collection of critical essays on writing by women in contemporary France. The writers discussed include a number of important names, such as Angot, Marie Darrieussecq, Régine Detambel and Agnès Desarthe, whose work was first published in the s, as well as

in Women’s writing in contemporary France
Open Access (free)
Chantal Chawaf ’s melancholic autofiction
Kathryn Robson

Chawaf ’s writing does not, then, denote a liberating fusion or interchange between self and other, writing subject and text, text and reader, that is so often associated with contemporary French women’s writing.20 Vers la lumière, which has hitherto been read almost exclusively in relation to Cixous’s work, may thus offer a different understanding of the fusion between self and other in contemporary women’s writing. In Vers la lumière, self and other merge in a crippling, inescapable living death, that offers none of the possibilities of self-reinvention and renewal

in Women’s writing in contemporary France
Siobhán McIlvanney

desolation when Malika learns of the death of her best friend. Georgette! ends with the departure of the protagonist in that the reader presumes she has died under the wheels of a car, although the absence of a full stop after the work’s final sentence makes such a conclusion ambiguous.  Writing the dynamics of identity Ultimately, then, all three texts conclude by a form of inconclusiveness, a lack of resolution reflected in the uncertain sense of self experienced by their beur protagonists in contemporary France, and in the girls’ status as cultural nomads never

in Women’s writing in contemporary France
Open Access (free)
The Algerian war and the ‘emancipation’ of Muslim women, 1954–62
Author:

In May 1958, and four years into the Algerian War of Independence, a revolt again appropriated the revolutionary and republican symbolism of the French Revolution by seizing power through a Committee of Public Safety. This book explores why a repressive colonial system that had for over a century maintained the material and intellectual backwardness of Algerian women now turned to an extensive programme of 'emancipation'. After a brief background sketch of the situation of Algerian women during the post-war decade, it discusses the various factors contributed to the emergence of the first significant women's organisations in the main urban centres. It was only after the outbreak of the rebellion in 1954 and the arrival of many hundreds of wives of army officers that the model of female interventionism became dramatically activated. The French military intervention in Algeria during 1954-1962 derived its force from the Orientalist current in European colonialism and also seemed to foreshadow the revival of global Islamophobia after 1979 and the eventual moves to 'liberate' Muslim societies by US-led neo-imperialism in Afghanistan and Iraq. For the women of Bordj Okhriss, as throughout Algeria, the French army represented a dangerous and powerful force associated with mass destruction, brutality and rape. The central contradiction facing the mobile socio-medical teams teams was how to gain the trust of Algerian women and to bring them social progress and emancipation when they themselves were part of an army that had destroyed their villages and driven them into refugee camps.