Chapter 7 Overstepping and Blurring Boundaries: Queer(ing) Autofiction in Wendy Delorme’s La Mère, la Sainte et la Putain

In: Transgression(s) in Twenty-First-Century Women's Writing in French
Michèle A. Schaal
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Wendy Delorme published her first, heavily autobiographical novel Quatrième Generation in 2006. Her three subsequent books also drew on her life, namely her lesbian identity, sex-positive feminism, queer activism and performances. This chapter demonstrates how Delorme proposes a queer, boundary-crossing autofiction in her second novel La Mère, la Sainte et la Putain (2012). If the ‘core’ requirement for autofiction is to mix autobiographical facts with fiction, the genre may be said to overstep or blur literary boundaries. Queer theory and practice aim at destroying hegemonic categories through the proliferation of meanings and identities. Queer oversteps too, even destroys, boundaries. By queer(ing) autofiction in La Mère, la Sainte et la Putain, Delorme questions literary and identity borders through a collage of first-person narratives. She reveals that personal or fictional identities never solely depend on facts but on the legacy or influence of other people or genres. In her narrative, Delorme also pursues her critical examination of gender, heteronormativity, and heteropatriarchy through autofiction: her exposition of problematic social patterns and discriminations and how those are overstepped.

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