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Gendered Resistance

The Autobiographies of Simone de Beauvoir, Maya Angelou, Janet Frame and Marguerite Duras


Valérie Baisnée

Four major women's autobiographies of the twentieth century are discussed together here for the first time. Valérie Baisnée reinterprets the autobiographical writing of Simone De Beauvoir, Maya Angelou, Janet Frame and Marguerite Duras, finding some striking similarities in these women's resistance to a conservative order. Deploying a variety of theoretical approaches, from linguistic to Marxist, Baisnée endeavours to break the restrictive patterns of author-centred studies, to go beyond simple oppositions between truth and fiction, and to dispense with the facile interpretation of these texts as confessional.
For Valérie Baisnée, Autobiography is meant to represent not the true but the official version of a life, signed by the author herself and revered as hagiography by the public. ... Instead of analysing women's autobiographies as confessional, it is possible to see this mode of discourse as a means to counteract the effect of exposure of women's private lives. By revealing their past, however painful it may be, the four autobiographers studied in this book also enhance their present strength, and therefore underline the political nature of the autobiography.

Un passé contraignant

Double bind et transculturation


Michèle Bacholle-Bošković

Un passé contraignant. Double bind et transculturation de Michèle Bacholle constitue jusqu’à présent la seule étude à regrouper trois écrivains contemporains venus d’horizons très différents et formés par deux mondes contradictoires : le milieu petit-commerçant et la bourgeoisie pour Annie Ernaux, la Hongrie communiste et la Suisse francophone pour Agota Kristof, et les valeurs françaises et les traditions arabo-musulmanes pour Farida Belghoul. S’adressant aux chercheurs en littérature et culture françaises et francophones contemporaines, ainsi qu’aux psychologues, sociologues et anthropologues, Un passé contraignant présente une approche originale de l’œuvre d’Ernaux, de Kristof et de Belghoul. A la différence des travaux critiques déjà parus, ce livre tente de dépasser les binarités fondatrices de chaque écrivain et montre comment, par la mise en écriture du double bind, au moyen du double et de la schizophrénie, ces écrivains sont parvenus à échapper à une situation contraignante et à la “réorienter”. L’auteur montre que, dans ces textes empreints de postmodernisme deleuzo-guattarien, les deux mondes formateurs ont été traités de façon égalitaire et que seul un tel traitement garantit le succès de la transculturation en permettant la création d’un “tiers-espace”, né mais distinct des deux mondes originels, où peut s’épanouir la “tierce-identité” du sujet transculturé.


Edited by Peng-hsiang Chen and Whitney Crothers Dilley

The present volume of Critical Studies is a collection of selected essays on the topic of feminism and femininity in Chinese literature. Although feminism has been a hot topic in Chinese literary circles in recent years, this remarkable collection represents one of the first of its kind to be published in English. The essays have been written by well-known scholars and feminists including Kang-I Sun Chang of Yale University, and Li Ziyun, a writer and feminist in Shanghai, China. The essays are inter- and multi-disciplinary, covering several historical periods in poetry and fiction (from the Ming-Qing periods to the twentieth century). In particular, the development of women’s writing in the New Period (post-1976) is examined in depth. The articles thus offer the reader a composite and broad perspective of feminism and the treatment of the female in Chinese literature. As this remarkable new collection attests, the voices of women in China have begun calling out loudly, in ways that challenge prevalent views about the Chinese female persona.

The Importance of Reinventing Oscar

Versions of Wilde during the Last 100 Years


Edited by Uwe Böker, Richard Corballis and Julie A. Hibbard

The present collection of essays is the outcome of the Oscar Wilde conference held at the Technical University of Dresden, 31 August - 3 September 2000. The papers cover a wide range of historical and comparative aspects: they look into the status of Wilde as poet, dramatist, essayist and intellectual during his own times as well as investigate the meaning of his work for subsequent writers and critics, thus, giving an outline of the Wildean history of literary reception, intellectual discourse and media transformation. Intellectually brilliant and challenging, Oscar Wilde had been a favourite of the late Victorians, performing the roles of the dandy and the poet of art for art's sake. However, due to his questioning of prevalent moral double standards and his insistence on the autonomy of art, he was indicted for gross indecencies, convicted, and sent to prison. Instead of being ostracised, he became a source of inspiration for writers and artists on the British isles as well as on the European continent.
The papers in this volume explore such topics as Wilde's concepts of socialism and aestheticism, his fashioning of the femme fatale and of the dandy, his use of fashion and of simulation, his impact on modernism and postmodernism as well as on genres such as crime writing and fictional biography, and the influence of Wilde on writers such as James Joyce, W.B. Yeats, Joe Orton, Peter Ackroyd, Tom Stoppard, David Hare and Mark Ravenhill. Other papers focus on the reception of Wilde in Russia, former Yugoslavia, Hungary and Germany as well as on cinematic and Internet representations of Wilde. Critical and creative responses vary from the general to the specific – from traditional assessments to analyses of the arts of camp, parody, and pastiche; thus, indicative of the (sub)cultural appropriation of 'Saint Oscar' (Terry Eagleton).