Many Haitian writers since the earthquake that destroyed Port-au-Prince in January 2010 have developed in their works of fiction the theme of writing the disaster, expressing it in various forms. The aim of this paper is to analyze the strategies adopted to write about the psychological and social effects of the cataclysmic event in two post-earthquake novels, Marvin Victor’s Corps mêlés (2011) and Makenzy Orcel’s Les Immortelles (2010). In questioning the relationship between literature and the present-time, the two Haitian writers chose different styles and forms to transpose into fiction the disruptions caused by the earthquake. We will focus our attention on two narrative strategies in particular: the interior monologue chosen by Victor and the hybrid narration preferred by Orcel.
Fascinated with Mexico continually since childhood, J.M.G. Le Clézio publishes the, inspired by the countr y, novel Ourania in 2006. The author’s concern for the survival of the Mexican world has not escaped his critics. It is worth noting, however, that the writer’s emphasis on the role of the oral tradition in the Amerindian culture and their ecological attitudes are evident. The culture of the spoken language (along with the belief in the magic of words) is contrasted with the western culture of the written language (stressing the emptiness of words). The analysis of this issue and the study of the formal procedures by which Le Clézio moves from the spoken to the written language may give us a sense of the suggestive voice of the Mexican peoples along with their ecological attitudes. It seems that J.M.G. Le Clézio, who protects tribal societies who know how to use the world in a moderate way, promotes, among others, their respect for the natural environment.
In his fifth novel La Nuit des morts-vivants, François Blais, a Quebec writer of the young generation, created yet another pair of kindred spirits after Iphigénie en Haute-Ville. The characters are young people addicted to all kinds of fiction, from high literature to video games, and they make reflections on the borders between fiction and reality that are worthy of a literary critic or a very conscious reader. Devoting every moment that they have at their disposal to reading books, watching films, and playing video games, Pavel and Moly are outstanding due to their erudition, even if they are simultaneously typical representatives of the generation with low-paid jobs or living on social benefits and realizing themselves only in the substitute world of fiction.
Contemporary biographical fictions in France: between narrative and visual – This paper discusses an evolution of point of view on biographical fictions from 90’ to the present, due to the important increase of literary practices exploring images and their role in the constitution of the biographical discourse. The relation between fiction and reality presented from the point of view of Paul Ricoeur’s ‘narrative identity’ in first approaches of biographical fictions is now substituted by the reflection about the relation between narrative and visual which discloses, particularly in the case of biographical portraits of writers, the commemorative aspects of a literary text.
Micro-(h)istorical narratives by Claude Duneton and Jean Echenoz – The purpose of this article is a comparative study of two recent French novels, Le Monument. Roman vrai by Claude Duneton (2004) and 1914 by Jean Echenoz (2012), which, in spite of formal and ideological differences, approach the theme of the Great War in a way similar to micro-historical frameworks. Like historians representing this field of historiography, both writers depict the four years of the First World War by focusing on a small community and a geographical space limited to a small location on the home-front. Referring to the distinction between roman de l’historien (the historian’s novel) and roman du témoin (the witness’s novel) proposed by Emmanuel Bouju, the author of the article analyses the strategies used by the novelists to create an indirect witness’s point-of-view, juxtaposed with the perspective of the contemporary recipient of the events that happened a hundred years ago.
Tanguy Viel’s novels are peculiar variations on well-known novelistic genres: they creatively re-work familiar plot configurations, narrative strategies and thematic concerns. It would appear that this subversive re-activation of the genre can be related to this contemporary literary aesthetics which foregrounds blurring of generic boundaries and mixing of traditional forms. In this context the ambiguous generic status of Viel’s fiction deserves close scrutiny, which is precisely the aim of the present paper: it analyses his last novel Paris-Brest (2009) within the framework of selected contemporary theories of genre.
In father’s footsteps or a problematic filiation. Dominique Jamet’s case – There is a phenomenon to be observed in contemporary French literature, namely the renewal of the novel through writing about self and the day-to-day reality in the context of family history. Writers reach into the past, often traumatic and painful, in order to rebuild their own broken identity, scarred by the memory of their parents’ troubled past. This is the case with Dominique Jamet. He returns to history with a capital H (the interwar period, World War Two, the Vichy regime and the subsequent issues of accounting for collaboration), so as to draw the figure of his father, Claude, an “intellectual” turncoat. The questionable filiation is the point of departure for writing two autobiographical texts. Also, it had undoubtedly been an inspiration for Un traître, a novel published in 2008, which is a fictitious reconstruction of the biography of Jacques Vasseur, an infamous French collaborator.