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Fictions of Race in Contemporary French Literature French Writers : French Writers, White Writing - Étienne Achille

Fictions of Race in Contemporary French Literature French Writers

French Writers, White Writing

By: Étienne Achille, Oana Panaïté

Hardcover | 30 June 2024

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Contemporary French writers have embarked on various quests for new sources of thematic and formal inspiration which are increasingly tied to issues of postcolonial legacies. However, French literature has never been consistently examined through the lens of race, ethnicity, and its relation to (post)coloniality. Fictions of Race in Contemporary French Literature is the first scholarly study to engage with the figure of the White writer and explore the White literary gaze in contemporary France. The book highlights the inherent postcoloniality of White Hexagonal literature in a context marked by institutionalized colour-blindness, and offers a reflection on responsible writing in and about postcolonial France.The book identifies a set of formal features, functions, and aesthetic dispositions which reveal the ways in which White writers grapple with postcolonial subjects. It focuses on seven case studies featuring texts by Marie Darrieussecq, Virginie Despentes, Annie Ernaux, Nicolas Fargues, Pierre Lemaitre, Édouard Louis, and Nicolas Mathieu. Achille and Panaïté argue that it is imperative to recast the enduring boundedness of race and empire as a matter of equal concern to White and non-White writers.
Industry Reviews
Is French literature locked into a white privilege that makes it incapable of thinking about race? A provocative reflection on the future of French universalism in the post-colonial era, taking us on a remarkable journey through contemporary 'white' literary creation. * Alexandre Gefen, Directeur de Recherche (CNRS) Author of La litterature est une affaire politique (2022) and Reparer le monde : La litterature francaise face au XXIe siecle (2017) *
This book is a key intervention that no serious scholar of contemporary French literature can ignore. Debunking the claims to colour-blindness ingrained in republican universalist discourse, it challenges us to foreground the figure of the White writer in debates about race, culture and the afterlives of empire in France. The result is a robust refusal of any assumptions regarding the neutrality of Whiteness in French contexts and an assertion of the importance of postcoloniality for understandings of White and non-White authors alike. * Charles Forsdick, Drapers Professor of French, University of Cambridge *
This book is a key intervention that no serious scholar of contemporary French literature can ignore. Debunking the claims to colour-blindness ingrained in republican universalist discourse, it challenges us to foreground the figure of the White writer in debates about race, culture and the afterlives of empire in France. The result is a robust refusal of any assumptions regarding the neutrality of Whiteness in French contexts and an assertion of the importance of postcoloniality for understandings of White and non-White authors alike. * Charles Forsdick, Drapers Professor of French, University of Cambridge *

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