Remnants of Empire in Algeria and Vietnam

Remnants of Empire in Algeria and Vietnam : Women, Words, and War

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In Remnants of Empire in Algeria and Vietnam: Women, Words, and War author Pamela A. Pears proposes a new approach to Francophone studies. The work uses postcolonial theory, along with gender and feminist inquiries, to emphasize the connections between two Francophone literatures, Algerian and Vietnamese. Specifically Pears focuses on four novels: Yamina Mechakra's La Grotte eclatee, Ly Thu Ho's Le Mirage de la paix, Malika Mokeddem's L'Interdite, and Kim Lefevre's Retour a la saison des pluies. All four novels show the profound transformation of women's roles in Algeria and Vietnam during and following the presence of French colonialism. These four authors never attempt to unfold a clear and single definition of the postcolonial female subject. Instead, they explore the various subjective possibilities, expand on them, and ultimately place them in question. Although the differences between Algeria and Vietnam are striking, it is through their connections to one another that we can foreground postcolonial gender issues.
Whereas geographical boundaries and official nationalities serve as divisive classifications, the links between the works lead us to a much more engaging dialogue and ultimate understanding of postcolonial Francophone literature.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 176 pages
  • 152.4 x 223.52 x 17.78mm | 249.47g
  • Lanham, MD, United States
  • English
  • Revised ed.
  • 0739120220
  • 9780739120224

Table of contents

Chapter 1 Framing, Defining, and Questioning Chapter 2 Making the Link Chapter 3 War Chapter 4 Postwar Fragmentation
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Review quote

This remarkable comparative study of francophone literature cuts through scholarly barriers with rare elegance. Grounding her discussion in a rich and varied theoretical framework, Pears deftly questions the very notion of francophonie and at the same time reasserts connections between Vietnam and Algeria from a historical perspective... Through careful analysis, Pears clarifies the position of the postcolonial woman writer as distinct from hybrid, and the notion of fragmentation as a positive, enriching one. A model of its genre, this book will engage all who are interested in francophone literature. Essential. CHOICE In Remnants of Empire in Algeria and Vietnam Pamela A. Pears presents a scintillating analysis of the historical parallels between the two former French colonies and then sets out to study the on-going dialogue between writers located within several languages and three nations, Algeria, France and Vietnam. In this truly original project, Pears shows the role that four important women writers have played in confronting the legacies of colonialism and the wars of national liberation. Focusing on novels caught in the flows of nations and empires, Pears offers a new perspective on the postcolonial world by showing with the utmost conviction and skill the role literature plays in launching new demands for equality. -- Philip Watts, associate professor, and chair, Department of French and Italian, University of Pittsburgh This monograph has the merit of illustrating many of its established issues such as the questions of hybridity and fragmentation. H-France Review Pamela Pears has written a compelling study of Algerian and Vietnamese francophone women's writing. She argues convincingly that the experience of French colonialism, the changing role of women in society, and the narrative technique of fragmentation link the writings of Algerian novelists, Yamina Mechakra and Malika Mokeddem to Vietnamese writers Ly Thu Ho and Kim Lefevre. As Pears aptly notes, women, words, and war are the vestiges of the colonial empire that France secured in the nineteenth century and lost in the twentieth. Cultural influences survive political and military struggles. These writers use the French language and innovative narrative techniques to express the complex nature of the postcolonial female subject. -- Mildred Mortimer, professor of French and Francophone studies, University of Colorado, Boulder
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About Pamela A. Pears

Pamela A. Pears is assistant professor of French at Washington College.
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