This paper argues that the Gesta Francorum could have been written in Latin as a text designed for performance. It starts by looking at the style and approach of the text itself, arguing that whilst the Gesta’s Latin is close to the vernacular it has strong performative elements. It argues that Latin texts could be made comprehensible to a non-Latin literate public in a range of contexts. It explores the linguistic climate in Southern Italy and Sicily at this time and argues that Latin would not only have been comprehensible to the audience but a possible lingua franca for wider use, meaning that the text could have served as a pivot text for other languages. The paper concludes that looking at the text as designed for oral delivery offers insight into why it seems to have existed in several versions, why it was seen as so unusual by contemporaries and why it was so influential.
L’article définit la nouvelle graphique Tout sera oublié
de Mathias Énard et Pierre Marquès comme fiction métahistoriographique. Le livre représente une réflexion profonde sur le problème de la mémoire et de l’oubli d’évènements historiques violents. L’article analyse les différentes techniques de commémoration auxquels le livre fait appel : le monument classique, le mémorial, la mémoire individuelle, le témoignage oral, le texte littéraire et l’image. C’est aussi à travers le rapport souvent embrouillé entre texte et image que le problème de la représentation et de l’irreprésentable est abordé dans Tout sera oublié
. Le livre peut être lu comme un commentaire métapoétique sur le rôle que peuvent jouer l’art et la littérature dans la création d’une mémoire collective.
This chapter examines how Annie Ernaux rewrites the textual boundary between youth and age in Mémoire de fille (2016). Throughout her life Ernaux has written and rewritten aspects of her life history, but in Mémoire de fille she excavates a period of her life that has only been referred to briefly in previous texts. I will consider how this new piece in the puzzle both completes and complicates the representation of the author’s life and epoch in Ernaux’s œuvre, focusing particularly on the textual relationship between youth and age. In Les Années, in part through the shift from ‘je’ to ‘elle’, Ernaux represents her ageing self as estranged from her younger selves in a continuing process of loss; Shirley Jordan has argued that the voice of the ageing narrator in this text is marked by a new ‘fragility, anxiety and fear’ (2011, 138). Here I will argue that in Mémoire de fille, the confrontation with memories of an abusive relationship leads to a new, and stronger voice of ageing, and through the construction of a ‘survivor narrative’ to a new iteration of Ernaux’s feminist politics.
This essay traces the problem of world literature in key writings by the Egyptian scientist and littérateur Aḥmad Zakī Abū Shādī. Abū Shādī’s early nod to world literature (1908–1909) intimates the challenge of making literary particularity heard in the homogenizing harmonies of a world dominated by English. That problem persists in his account of a 1926 meeting with the Bengali polymath Rabindranath Tagore and in an essay of 1928 inspired by that meeting: one of the first manifestos of al-adab al-ʿālamī (world literature) in Arabic, predating the 1936 appearance of al-adab al-muqāran (comparative literature). While Abū Shādī lauds Tagore’s refusal to compare literatures East and West and insistence on the spiritual unity of all literatures, his struggles to articulate a world in which harmony is not an alibi for hierarchy suggest that neither comparative literature nor its would-be leveler – world literature – can shed the haunting specter of inequality.
Scholarship on production of cultural goods highlights translation of literary works as a key mechanism of cultural circulation. This article rethinks circulation beyond translation. It argues that changes in aesthetic labels applied to cultural goods can prompt a scale shifting that favors the diffusion of these goods beyond their vernacular space of circulation. This article studies the transnational success of the label literatura latinoamericana, which from the 1960s onward gained acceptance in Spanish, English, French, and other languages as the label that best captured the region’s literary uniqueness. This change in aesthetic labeling made it possible for literatura latinoamericana to enter world literature and for literary works such as One Hundred Years of Solitude to circulate at an unprecedented scale, as international bestsellers and classics. The article finds that aesthetic labeling – a “cultural kind” in the arts – is a far-reaching and understudied mechanism in cultural production and circulation.
The Rings of Saturn and other works by W.G. Sebald are discussed in conjunction with Landscape of Farewell, by Australian novelist Alex Miller, extending Aimé Césaire’s choc-en-retour, or “boomerang effect,” and following Michael Rothberg’s articulation of “Multidimensional Memory,” to inform a comparative, transcontinental analysis of specific aftershocks of colonialism. Contexts include contemporary Brussels, Indigenous Australia and the eroded coast of East Anglia. The effects of competing and complementary trajectories that arise from postcolonial memory, the presence of found books, following Homi Bhabha, and the intertextual presences of Joseph Conrad and explorer Ludwig Leichhardt, are discussed. The role of poesis articulated by an uncertain narrator against a background of exploitation and genocide is evaluated, as well as the effects of colonial activity on the landscape itself. In conclusion, the article considers the role of literature in effecting reconciliation and restitution.
In an era where cultural festivals multiply, so-called African festivals have spread in Africa, but also outside of the continent, in major cities as well as in little-known villages, for example in provincial France. What are some of their implications and effects in the case of francophone African literature? These events privilege a continental representation of literature, which often reveals itself as problematic when confronted with the complex geographies of the texts and authors represented at these festivals. Using cross-disciplinary methodology, this critical inquiry reads different reallocations of this persistent African matrix through a typology and contemporary examples (Kossi Efoui’s writings, the “Étonnants Voyageurs” and “Plein sud” festivals). As an object of study, festivals bear witness to the necessity of expanding the toolbox of the (world) literary scholar by making use of documentary sources and adopting ethnographic approaches. It reveals a structural tension between an African map and various concrete territories, where local issues matter often more than this continental category, and can affect the form and content of literature itself.
This article reads the introductions of two anthologies of Harlem Renaissance poetry published in the Weimar Republic in 1929 and 1932 respectively. Taking into account the history of the concept of Volk and its changing connotations in the interwar years, I argue that both editors problematically and subversively interpret the Harlem Renaissance as an American Volk tradition for their German readers. I contend that this act of interpretation questions and critiques the limits of not only the linguistic meaning of Volk, but also the limits of the concept of political belonging that the word represents in the German inter-war years. The article argues, concomitantly, for closer attention to anthologies of world literature and the paratexts of translations.