51ème Congrès
de la Société des Anglicistes de l'Enseignement Supérieur
Paris, 20 - 22 mai 2011

Atelier 17 - Nouvelles littératures (SEPC) - Résumés
Mardi, 30 Novembre 2010 13:04


Salhia Ben-Messahel (Lille 3) – Cette adresse e-mail est protégée contre les robots des spammeurs, vous devez activer Javascript pour la voir.  

“Antipodean fiction: displacing the canon, reconfiguring nothingness”

From the beginning of the European settlement of Australia in the 18th century, writers have been engaged in debates of nationhood and identity within a wild and wide space. The emergence of a colonial literature looking back at and reminiscing about the distant paradise, the British Isle, has nonetheless generated a nationalist vision of an Australian destiny in the Great Southern Land, a destiny coined “Great Australian Emptiness” by Nobel Prize Patrick White in reaction to decades of materialism and cultural shallowness. A migrant and/or expatriate, White showed an interest in the beyond of the Terra Nullius when some Australian authors were journeying to Europe in an attempt to explore issues of alienation and belonging. The examination of the beyond, marking a geo-political and cultural reorientation from the 1970s onwards, displaced the Australian imagination from the margins to the interior and in so doing opened up a space for the discourse of otherness and cross-cultural (and regional) issues. The connection and proximity with Asia has increased mental exploration–linked with geographical imagery–, redesigned a literary landscape and Australian culture engaging with the excluded cultural others and mapping intercultural spaces within a “twenty-first century global village” and within the space of emptiness.


Marilyne Brun (Toulouse 2) – Cette adresse e-mail est protégée contre les robots des spammeurs, vous devez activer Javascript pour la voir.

“Hybridity in Literary Criticism: From Bakhtin to Fred Wah’s ‘Half-Bred Poetics’”

This paper proposes to address the theme of the conference, the global and the local, through a discussion of the notion of literary hybridity, which has increasingly been used to describe and analyse the unique literary aesthetics of some postcolonial works. The literary practice of Salman Rushdie has, for instance, often been discussed in terms of hybridity, yet the notion remains largely under-theorised in literary criticism. This paper seeks to trace the main ways in which literary hybridity has been theorised and to identify the contributions and pitfalls of the notion.
Starting with the work of Mikhail Bakhtin, who has defined “conscious hybrids” as a specific type of heteroglossia, I will discuss the ways in which literary hybridity can be productively applied to discuss parodic discourse and cross-genres, and how writers such as Fred Wah or Brian Castro have suggested that hybrid aesthetics can successfully complement the representation of ethnicity in literary texts. While literary hybridity remains problematic because of its semantic flexibility, it offers unique ways of approaching literary aesthetics and of articulating the relation between aesthetics and the representation of ethnicity or race in texts.


Marta Dvorak (Paris 3) – Cette adresse e-mail est protégée contre les robots des spammeurs, vous devez activer Javascript pour la voir.

“Inhabiting the Edge: Transtextuality and Subduction”

My investigation of global dialogism involves reaching beyond and engaging with the transcultural writing and reading practices on the march well before our current post-colonial period. I explore how the environment of social heteroglossia found in imperial spaces, an environment in which different language consciousnesses with their discrete world views interrelate, catalyzes a process of penetration and stratification which explodes the ossified deposits of closed socio-linguistic systems in which literary language is often rooted. Grounding my analysis in Bakhtinian theories of linguistic heteroglossia, I want to move beyond notions of submission, namely the monovalent submission of one language and its accompanying culture and belief system to a newly dominant language and its cultural baggage, and to explore the complex way in which the other-languagedness of English has rather been seized, appropriated, or even expropriated by indigenous writers to fissure the sharply delineated boundaries of their own literary language. I shall discuss a spectrum of works by writers ranging from Tagore and Dutt to early and late (or dominant and peripheral) modernists such as Samuel Beckett and Janet Frame. The textual spaces which these writers occupy illustrate the slippages between different worlds of lived and storied experience and the manner in which societal perceptions, practices, and predilections crisscross, carve, scrape and scour, deform, diffract, and interlock in fraught but fruitful friction which mutually shapes and illuminates. I show how localized forms of knowledge (and mutual essentialising between amorphous centre and edge) interlock with global forms in a dialogical process much like language (always subjective and always contexted) and the prose genre of the novel, also an epitome of absorbability. I argue that the very dynamics of fractious discursive combinations and substitutions inevitable in the clash A.K. Ramanujan has identified between context-sensitive and context-free societies are conjunctive because they are ubiquitous manifestations of human will and human effort, part of the affirmation of the self and the identification of the Other which entail that “neither the term Orient nor the concept of the West has any ontological stability” (Saïd). Like South Asians, the Irish, too, have been othered by the English, who in turn are othered by the Indians, as the Indo-Irish Aubrey Menen’s meta-narratives suggest. The forms of cultural and literary subduction discussed raise the spectre of an erosion of contexts, but equally hold out the promise of construction which by definition is involved in tectonic processes.


Lise Guilhamon (Versailles – Saint-Quentin) – Cette adresse e-mail est protégée contre les robots des spammeurs, vous devez activer Javascript pour la voir.

“Global languages in the time of the Opium Wars: the lost idioms of Amitav Ghosh’s Sea of Poppies

Amitav Ghosh’s latest novel, Sea of Poppies (2008), the first volume of an intended “Ibis trilogy”, is a tale of adventure on the high seas which traces the voyage of the Ibis, a former slave-ship refitted to transport coolies from Calcutta to the Mauritius. But this novel also embarks the reader on a linguistic adventure: Ghosh, ever the scholarly writer, has carried out thorough research into idioms which were in use at the time of the Opium Wars and have today gone extinct, notably Laskari – the pidgin used by indigenous sailors from the Indian Ocean area – and the Anglo-Indian dialect used by British colonial administrators. These were early global languages, long before the advent of Globish, and in this novel, where they rub shoulders with American English, Babu English, Bhojpuri and French in a riot of linguistic heterogeneity, they are granted a new lease of life. The diasporic point of view in Ghosh’s novel shows that the process of deterritorialization of English, that is to say, the use of English as a language displaced by the multiplication of new situations of enunciation in a “global” world, which we tend to think of as an essentially contemporary phenomenon, actually has its roots in the past. This paper will attempt to disentangle these roots and map these ancestors of Globish with the help of the various paratexts which Ghosh has provided for this novel: the acknowledgements at the end of the book, an article on Laskari – “Of Fanas and Forecastles” – published in EPW, and An Ibis Chrestomathy, a glossary of Anglo-Indian terms.


Mélanie Joseph-Vilain (Bourgogne) – Cette adresse e-mail est protégée contre les robots des spammeurs, vous devez activer Javascript pour la voir.

“’House of Women’: Postcolonial Gothic in and from South Africa”

The call for papers for the New Literatures workshop invites us to examine “the global and the local” in terms of displacement, contamination, collision or interculturality. The aim of my paper will be to explore the Gothic, a literary mode which was born as a European phenomenon, and to look at the way this literary genre spread in the English-speaking world. To elaborate on the imagery suggested by the call for contributions, this paper will explore the tectonic confrontation between the postcolonial and the gothic in postcolonial gothic.
After examining the various definitions of the Gothic, from Maurice Lévy’s restricted definition to much wider conceptions, I will show that most studies on the postcolonial gothic in the English-speaking world have been devoted to settler colonies (Canada, Australia, New Zealand). This will enable me to retrace how the “postcolonial gothic” label emerged, referring, in particular, to recent critical works on the notion such as Gothic New Zealand. The Darker Side of Kiwi Culture (Kavka, Lawn and Paul, eds., 2006), Unsettled Remains. Canadian Literature and the Postcolonial Gothic (Turcotte and Sugars, eds., 2009) or Sheri Ann Denison’s doctoral thesis Walking Through the Shadows. Ruins, Reflections and Resistance in the Postcolonial Gothic Novel (Indiana University of Pennsylvania, 2009).
I will then argue that postcolonial gothic also exists in South Africa, where, surprisingly enough, most critics focus on Afrikaans fiction (Van Niekerk’s Triomf, in particular; see Denison 2009; Shear 2009) but very little work has been done on fiction in English. I will therefore offer a reading of recent fiction in English from South Africa to study how gothic codes and conventions are displaced and recycled in these novels. I will specifically focus on the question of space and identity in novels by two women writers: Henrietta Rose-Innes (Shark’s Egg, 2000 and The Rock Alphabet, 2004) and Lynn Freed (The Servants’ Quarters, 2009 and House of Women, 2002). Lynn Freed, in particular, offers a case in point of how the local meets the global: a South African-born writer, she lives in the United States and her fiction combines globalized gothic codes and conventions with a (post-) colonial background. I will argue that the continuity between these South African novels and European gothic might lie in their exploration of femininity.


Madeleine Laurencin (Paris 3) – Cette adresse e-mail est protégée contre les robots des spammeurs, vous devez activer Javascript pour la voir.

“The concept of Rainbow Nation in South African literature: a monochromatic view?”

The overturn of the apartheid regime in 1994 led to the birth of a self-proclaimed Rainbow Nation. However, this notion rapidly turned into a polarized stand-off between Blacks and Whites, shunting to the side any person with a much more mixed heritage. South Africa's post-apartheid literature has echoed this struggle, with some authors ignoring or denying it while others attempted to bring it to light.
Through a study of Achmat Dangor's Bitter Fruits and J.M. Coetzee’s Disgrace and Nietverloren, this paper proposes to investigate the ways in which both authors address the issue of the past and its consequences in present-day society. From an explosive Johannesburg to a deceptively quiet veld, the landscape and characters are made to mirror many of the changes that permeate the narratives told. Yet, to a certain extent, Coetzee’s novels remain stuck in a recurring negative interrogation, questioning any chance for hope, while Dangor chooses instead to look beyond the failures of the Rainbow Nation and try to grasp the future it had hailed. For notwithstanding the peaceful cohabitation and the hypocrisy denounced in these novels remains the question of the others, the ones whose voices, neither black nor white, were never heard.


Sneharika Roy (Paris 3) – Cette adresse e-mail est protégée contre les robots des spammeurs, vous devez activer Javascript pour la voir.

“New World Epics: Multiple and Movable Tectonic Plates of Nations and Epochs”

Hegel’s conception of the epic as a work concretizing “the total world of a nation and epoch” reflects the widely-held view of the epic as a site of national identity. Yet, as opposed to the Old World epics of Homer and Dante, New World epics are increasingly marked by the paradoxical tendency to refract, rather than reflect, national identity through other cultures and texts. Thus America engages with Europe and the East in the epic works of Herman Melville, Walt Whitman and Ezra Pound; Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children and Shashi Tharoor’s epic rewriting can be described as intertextual mosaics while Pablo Neruda’s Canto General and Derek Walcott’s Omeros are avowedly “general” and global in their scope. That said, these supranational epics also leave intercultural interstices in which the indigenous and the telling local detail crop up. Rather than label these protean texts as “national epics”, can we not approach the dynamic interaction between centrifugal global forces and centripetal local forces in terms of tectonic shifts: of new, imagined continents emerging from the sometimes interlocking, sometimes dislocating movements of texts across the biosphere?
From this angle, the specificity of New World Epics would seem to lie in their projected cartographies where continents, literary currents and the trade winds of reader reception collide and coalesce to draft topographical grids that exist neither on maps nor in encyclopedias but in a distinctly un-Hegelian configuration of multiple and movable tectonic plates of many nations and many epochs.


Héliane Ventura (Toulouse 2) – Cette adresse e-mail est protégée contre les robots des spammeurs, vous devez activer Javascript pour la voir.

“Searching For Scotland: Alice Munro’s Metanarrative of Origins”

The continuing introspective and self-referential trend of Munro’s writing has recently resulted in a very unusual collection of stories, entitled The View from Castle Rock, published in 2006.
In this  “special set of stories” she advertises her connection with Scotland by conducting an extensive genealogical quest, a journey of ancestral reclamation in which she traces her patrilineal descent from her father Robert Laidlaw born in Western Ontario in the early years of the 20th century to her great, great, great grandfather, James Laidlaw, who left Scotland to set sail for Canada in 1818, and to her distant cousin James Hogg, the peasant poet, also called the Ettrick Shepherd, who gained enduring fame with the publication of the Private Memoirs and Confessions of the Justified Sinner in 1824.
I intend to examine this collection as an instance of transatlantic cultural fertilization in which Munro gives evidence of her re-negotiation of the Calvinist practice of critical self-examination, a practice which is revisited and challenged, if only because it fails to keep strictly to the facts; it is not a sanctified spiritual autobiography but a self-indulgence destined to achieve a complex act of re-legitimization; a re-legitimization of herself as a peasant writer or lowly Shepherdess, and a  re-legitimization of her works as bardic or foundational narratives.


Suhasini Vincent (Paris 2) – Cette adresse e-mail est protégée contre les robots des spammeurs, vous devez activer Javascript pour la voir.

“Bridging the Gap between the ‘Local’ and the ‘Global’ in Suniti Namjoshi’s lesbian-feminist Fables”

In her corpus of lesbian-feminist fables, Suniti Namjoshi writes about her “Homeland” India and the “Fabled” West with the quest of bridging the gap between the two worlds. In this paper I shall explore how Namjoshi uses the mode of the fable to navigate lesbian-feminist politics and I shall highlight the postmodern impulse to consider “identity” as a subjective experience. Through a broad exploration of her fictional corpus of fables, I shall show how the feminist fables with their echoes from Eastern and Western fabulist traditions constitute pieces of a gigantic jigsaw puzzle whose crust can be broken, reinvented, subverted and trashed to reveal the shifting of tectonic layers in the ground beneath the reader’s and the fabulist’s feet regarding feminist liberties and changing ideologies. The fables serve to bridge the gap between the “local” and the “global” and reveal insights of feminism and lesbianism in “Western” as well as “Indian” heterosexual paradigms. This paper shall thus consider themes like the straddling of the “East” and the “West”, the bridge that connects the “local and the global”, the struggle between “resistance” and “acceptance” of lesbian experiences, and how the fables can cloak, alter, refashion, and resonate with multiple meanings for the alert reader to decipher.


Laetitia Zecchini (CNRS / ARIAS) – Cette adresse e-mail est protégée contre les robots des spammeurs, vous devez activer Javascript pour la voir.

“Modernism in Indian poetry: ‘At the time, we didn’t dissociate between East and West, it was just part of Bombay’”

This oral statement by the poet Adil Jussawalla tells us a little more about the context in which modernism (in the visual arts and in poetry specifically) emerged in India in the 1950s and 60s. With the paperback revolution, this period represented a “fantastic conglomeration of clashing realities” that was particularly palpable in Bombay: a mosaic of modern culture, a gateway for India, a window on the West and a “communal mix”. The period has also been described as a kind of “Indian renaissance” characterized by feverish translations from both pre-colonial traditions and contemporary Western literatures. For Bombay poets, it was a time of experimentalism that showed strong affinities with the contemporary Beats in the US and the counter-culture of the 60s. Ezra Pound and William Carlos Williams, the surrealists and the Blues, Bob Dylan and underground “little magazines” are often defining elements of that poetry. But though totally steeped in western literature, poets also outgrow western modernism, and recover their modernity in their “native” soil, particularly in the bhakti (medieval poetry) traditions, which they translated. These hybrid transactions between translation and creative writing, between English and other Indian languages not only expose the simultaneous confluence of local and world literature, but also propose a form of belonging as a “defiant all-inclusive category”, an open-ended process of translation where origins become irrelevant.


Pascal Zinck (Lille 3) – Cette adresse e-mail est protégée contre les robots des spammeurs, vous devez activer Javascript pour la voir.

“Defiance in Uzma Aslam Khan’s The Geometry of God

Embracing the doctrine of unilateralism and the ideology of globalisation in the wake of the fall of the Berlin wall and the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the US took on the imperial mantle with scant regard for the United Nations Organisation and the rule of international law (war against Serbia, trumped up charges of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq).
Another pivotal date, 9/11, led the Bush administration to fall prey to paranoia following the collapse of the iconic twin towers. The “axis of evil” rhetoric and the ensuing propaganda to marshal support for the Patriot Act left a disoriented American public only too ready to believe that cohorts of Taleban jihadists and Wahhabi fundamentalists had derailed the conservative think tank’s “Project for the New American Century”. It became politically expedient to demonise the Islamic Other (Muslim Other) instead of attending to the profound ruptures caused by the excesses of globalisation such as corporate greed, mass transnational migration, endemic political corruption, socio-economic deprivation, child labour, consumerism and environmental damage.
Writers like Kamila Shamsie and Uzma Aslam Khan are keen observers of the mutations of Pakistani society in a global context. Burnt Shadows chronicles the malaise of the Mohanjirs in the wake of Partition, the AfPak escalation, islamicisation and the breakdown of the State, while The Geometry of God examines the plight of women in the context of modernity and radical Islam. The present paper explores how the latter novel strives to reconcile science, modernity, secularism and tradition while eschewing the excesses of fundamentalism and consumerism.


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