Writing Postcolonial France : Haunting, Literature, and the Maghreb
This book is the first literary study to examine how France has failed to come to terms with the end of its empire, and is now haunted by the legacy of its colonial relationship with North Africa. It examines the form assumed by the ghosts of the past in fiction from a range of genres (travel writing, detective fiction, life writing, historical fiction, women's writing) produced within metropolitan France, and assesses the implications of haunting for French cultural memory.
- Hardback | 196 pages
- 157.48 x 231.14 x 20.32mm | 453.59g
- 01 Aug 2011
- Lexington Books
- Lanham, MD, United States
Table of contents
Chapter 1 Introduction Chapter 2 Chapter 1: The Return of the Colonial in Le Clezio, Bona and Sebbar Chapter 3 Chapter 2: 17 October 1961: Haunting in Kettane, Sebbar, Maspero and Daeninckx Chapter 4 Chapter 3: Writing from Algeria: Haunted Narratives in Cardinal and Cixous Chapter 5 Chapter 4: Abjection: The Stranger Within in Prevost and Bouraoui Chapter 6 Afterword
If, since the publication of Derrida's Spectres de Marx in 1993, metaphors of haunting and spectrality have become abundant in both literary criticism and postcolonial theory, Barclay's book artfully redeploys such figures in her examination of France's memory of the colonial past. Drawing on a range of texts, each illustrating a differently 'haunted' relationship between French cultural consciousness and the legacy of colonialism in the Maghreb, the work puts forward the challenging thesis that France has still not come to terms with its colonial losses. Moreover, not only does this elegant study shed new light on the representation of the cultural memory of the colonised Maghreb, but it also argues that literature itself retains a particular and privileged function in its illumination of the return of the repressed. Literary works themselves are shown to present their readers with an otherness that forces them to engage with the ghosts of memory. -- Jane Hiddleston, Fellow in French, University of Oxford A number of critics have described the persistent, often sublimated presence of the colonial past in France's postcolonial present. Few, however, have analysed this phenomenon with the degree of originality and subtlety evident in Fiona Barclay's new book. This study identifies the spectres of decolonization that haunt the contemporary French-speaking world. Telling such ghost stories allows Barclay to explore consciousness of the colonial past, and to interrogate the unresolved mourning with which this is often related. This is a timely and welcome contribution to Francophone postcolonial studies - and to postcolonial studies more generally. -- Charles Forsdick, James Barrow Professor of French, University of Liverpool, UK Through her careful analysis of a broad range of literary texts that connect France and the Maghreb, Barclay's book makes a key contribution to our understanding of the colonial ghosts that haunt postcolonial French literature, society and culture. Her detailed study of spectrality transcends geographical borders to challenge conventional narratives of contemporary metropolitan France and argues convincingly for the need to rethink the relationship between France and its former colonies. -- Joseph McGonagle, University of Manchester
About Fiona Barclay
Fiona Barclay is lecturer in the school of languages, cultures, and religions at the University of Stirling.