Current Issue Abstracts

Vol. 45.3 Fall 2020

 

ARTICLES

 

Morphologie de la richesse chez Balzac
Francesco Spandri

La Comédie humaine accorde moins de place au concept de production (propre au XIXe siècle) qu'à celui de richesse (caractéristique de l'âge classique), mais la portée de l'économie politique n'échappe pas à Balzac. Cette science est essentielle pour comprendre le fonctionnement du dispositif fictionnel. Le discours romanesque ne cesse en effet de souligner deux points cruciaux: la multiformité de la richesse et l'effort de l'individu pour maîtriser cette réalité protéiforme. Le mot multiformité est en réalité à prendre comme synonyme de duplicité, puisque le roman balzacien semble concevoir la richesse comme un champ traversé par une tension fondamentale: celle qui marque le rapport entre la terre et l'argent. Ces deux facteurs déterminants de la mimesis balzacienne entretiennent un rapport qui devient de plus en plus asymétrique et qui s'offre comme l'image réfractée d'une société et d'une économie en voie de mutation. Mais ce rapport complexe contribue surtout à construire une représentation capable de saisir les enjeux qui intéressent l'individu moderne. Étudiés simultanément, la terre et l'argent permettent ainsi d'expliciter le lien qui existe entre la forme de la richesse, ses destinations possibles et les enjeux de la liberté individuelle. C'est en se plaçant au point de contact entre deux formes de richesse que le roman balzacien parvient à raconter les mœurs contemporaines.


Le "Napoléon de la réclame": l'antonomase, une "tropomanie" dix-neuvièmiste au prisme de la presse satirique
Luca Di Gregorio

Parmi les traits saillants de l’idiotisme critique du XIXe siècle, il en est un qui frappe par sa récurrence et la place emblématique qu’il s’est adjugée dans les discours journalistiques, et en particulier ceux qui concernent la littérature. Le Walter Scott français, le Gaboriau anglais ou le Gustave Aimard des jungles parisiennes sont autant d’exemples d’antonomases fonctionnalisées pour faire circuler des noms d’écrivains par adossement à des homologues locaux ou jugés plus universels. Peut-être à cause de leur accoutumante redondance, ces notations semblent restées recouvertes d’une sorte de voile d’évidence pour les spécialistes. Perçues comme de simples chevilles rhétoriques du discours, apparemment dénuées de fonctions, elles ont été lues sans être interrogées; et, si certains auteurs ont pu noter leur valeur significative, elles n’ont pas fait l’objet d’une étude plus approfondie.

À la façon d’une “micro-histoire discursive,” l’article s’attachera à objectiver les raisons, enjeux et conditions de la singulière fortune de cette figure qui, à partir de 1820, fait l’objet d’une véritable “tropomanie” dans le débat culturel dix-neuvièmiste, ce dont témoigne un large paratexte, de la presse aux préfaces. Une attention particulière sera portée sur les antonomases les plus récurrentes et les principaux usages du procédé pour le classement des œuvres et la discussion des auteurs. À ces fins, l’examen des antonomases métaphoriques et des auteurs-genres gagnera également à s’enquérir de leurs détournements dans la presse satirique (en particulier Le Charivari et Le Tintamarre), éclairage grossissant et réflexif qui achève de sanctionner la popularité toute dix-neuvièmiste de ce trope.

The Absurdity of the Aftermath in Daoud's Meursault, contre-enquête
Catherine Talley

This essay interrogates the relationship between Kamel Daoud's novel Meursault, contre-enquête and Albert Camus's L'Étranger through an extended reading of Meursault's narrative form. I argue that the complexity of this relationship only fully emerges when Daoud's novel is read as such—not by tallying the aspects that are critical of Camus and those that are sympathetic, but by considering its narrative conception and unfolding. Attending in particular to the key features of its narrative instance and use of metalepsis, I show how Meursault approaches the project of postcolonial counternarrative differently than canonical remakes, emphasizing the experiences that render 'writing back' impossible. Through an exploration of the aftermath of colonial violence and the forms of irremediable epistemic and ethical uncertainty it produces, Daoud redefines absurdity, from the nihilistic universal articulated by the narrator of L'Étranger, to a historical condition linked to the history and legacies of colonial violence—a definition of absurdity that I argue places him in close relationship to Camus, and particularly the Camus of La Chute.


Re-Gendering the Hold: Fabienne Kanor's Ecological "Quarrel with History"
Franck H. Andrianarivo

This essay argues for an ecofeminist rendering of Fabienne Kanor's neo-slave narrative Humus (2006). My contention is that Kanor's text supports a sustainable initiative concerned with the preservation of minor histories of enslavement. I show how, operating like a fertilizer, so to speak, Humus supplies nutrients in the form of twelve individual narratives that the author has imagined from an apparently trivial anecdote recuperated from the on-board journal of a French ship captain written in 1774. Dissatisfied with Captain Louis Mosnier's dry depiction of fourteen enslaved Black women who chose to jump off his ship in a desperate attempt to escape enslavement, Kanor reshuffles his narrative by filling in the gaps left in his dehumanizing account of the women's discontinued non-history with Humus. To this end, she stresses the elusive presence of these women in the hold and the subversive role they played in the resistance to bondage, thereby refashioning knowledge of the slave trade and slavery with a gendered perspective. In her quest to revitalize and protect the women's "Arbre d'essence sacrée [Tree of sacred essence]" (68) made vulnerable by the ongoing colonizing actions of humans, Kanor, like Edouard Glissant in Le Discours antillais, "quarrel[s] with History" (222) to re-create beauty and being from the scraps of the captives' existences that l'Histoire had automatically relegated to the periphery of humanity.


Screening the Unwitnessed: An Analysis of the Close-Up in La noire de . . .
Andrew Jones

On June 22, 1958, Gomis Diouana, a young Senegalese woman who followed her colonial employers to France to work in their household, committed suicide. If it were not for Ousmane Sembene, her tragedy would have sunk into obscurity, its only public record being a short article in the faits-divers section of Nice-Matin two days later. But encountering this woman's tragic fate inspired Sembene to write a short story that he then adapted to the screen, La noire de…. In this 1966 film, the young Senegalese protagonist's tragedy unfolds through a series of close-up shots showing Diouana's emotional states. Frequently, the camera closes in on Diouana's face while her eyes look away. Contrasting these close-ups with those of other characters who look intently at the camera and with the post-Holocaust look-to-camera shot, I argue that a new form of cinematic testimony emerges in response to the suffering of colonialism, namely a screening of the unwitnessed. Informed by Michael Rothberg's notion of multidirectionality, my investigation of the cinematic and historical context of the film places the trauma of colonialism present in La noire de… in dialogue with the contemporaneously circulating memories of the Holocaust and their influence on cinema and society. Beyond exposing the severity and continuity of colonial suffering, the juxtaposition of these close-up shots points to a contributing cause: the absence of any public willing to receive the testimony of colonial injustice.


Self-Narrative, the Law, and Garden Spaces in Sylvaine Dampierre's Un Enclos
Lisa Connell

Garden spaces have long occupied imaginations as sites and sources of self-narrative at the same time as they have served as historical spaces of criminal rehabilitation. However, representations of gardens that bridge these apparently binary conceptions of agency and coercion are scarce. This article examines the correlation between gardens, the law, and self-narrative that runs throughout Sylvaine Dampierre's 1999 documentary Un Enclos in the aim of broadening how women's self-narrative can be understood. It argues that the juridical framework that shapes the socio-historical contexts of the garden in the Rennes women penitentiary in Un Enclos also determines the forms of self-narrative that occur in this space. This article thus reads the garden space of the prison through the lens of feminist approaches to self- and women's prison narratives, and through Foucault's formulation of disciplinary power. This garden space, far from representing a simple metaphor of renewal, should be recognized instead as a manifestation of power that mirrors the social and historical constraints that delimit subjectivity. From this perspective, the semiotics of gardens provide a valuable map for navigating the complicated landscape of self-narrative.


BOOK REVIEWS


The Tongue-Tied Imagination: Decolonizing Literary Modernity in Senegal by Tobias Warner (review)
Brian Valente-Quinn


Screening Youth: Contemporary French and Francophone Cinema ed. by Romain Chareyon and Gilles Viennot (review)
Leon Sachs


La Commune de 1871: Une relecture ed. by Marc César and Laure Godineau (review)
Daryl Lee


Exterranean: Extraction in the Humanist Anthropocene by Phillip John Usher (review)
Antónia Szabari