Subjects Not-at-home: Forms of the Uncanny in the Contemporary French Novel

Emmanuel Carrère, Marie NDiaye, Eugène Savitzkaya


Subjects Not-at-home is the first book-length study of the concept of the uncanny ( Das Unheimliche) in the context of French literature. It explores the ways in which certain contemporary French novelists are exploiting the themes, imagery and dynamics of the uncanny to generate a repertoire of narrative tactics for the portrayal of the chez soi. Through an analysis of nine novels by Marie NDiaye, Eugène Savitzkaya and Emmanuel Carrère, the author reveals a developing tendency within current writing to re-appropriate figures of the strange – the double, intellectual uncertainty, the fragmented body, the spectral, the haunted house – in order to represent the ‘familiar’ spaces of the home, the family, the self and the everyday. This problematic is situated with respect to tendencies in present-day French writing, with the uncanny being viewed as a particular approach to the contemporary novel’s inclination to privilege the site of the chez soi. Readings of the literary texts are informed by philosophical, psychoanalytic and literary reinterpretations of the Freudian uncanny, with an emphasis on the historical and contextual evolution of the concept itself.

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List of Abbreviations
Das Unheimliche
Extra-Ordinary Homes
A Narrative Ethics of the Unhomely
General Conclusion