Essays in French Literature and Culture


No. 54, November

News from the Paddy Fields: Narratives of Indochinese Workers in Wartime France
It is estimated that approximately 20,000 male colonial subjects were recruited, voluntarily or by force, by the French colonial administration in the autumn/winter of 1939 and the spring of 1940 in the provinces of Tonkin, Annam and Cochinchine (French...
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The Fight for Deaf Rights in Wartime France
There has been no academic work by D/deaf1 or hearing scholars specifically documenting the experiences of deaf people in wartime France. The sources and analysis provided here about the fight for the rights of deaf people during this period respond...
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Hidden Words, Hidden Worlds: Everyday Life and Narrative Sources (France 1939-1945)
The time may well seem distant when personal testimonies, letters and diaries, oral and written memoirs were mistrusted as sources in historical scholarship because they were regarded as too subjective, too partisan and too partial to have credibility....
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Preserving and Displaying Everyday Life: Digital Stories of Escape from France during the Second World War
Testimonial evidence has been widely mobilized by historians especially for the writing of contemporary history (Assmann, 2006). It both allows them to supplement gaps in archival evidence and to gain unparalleled access into the texture of people's...
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In the Face of Disappearance: A Tribute to the Work of Robin Adamson 1
In 1941 Jules Puech wrote to his friend and fellow socialist feminist activist, Marguerite Thibert addressing her in the same way as he did Christine Morrow, "Chere Madame et amie":[...] During the last war I wrote poetry to combat the excruciating boredom...
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"Les Inconnus De la Résistance": Letters to L'Humanité, 1984
On 15 May 1984 the Communist daily L'Humanité invited its readers to send in their personal memories of resistance to mark the 40th anniversary of the liberation of France. The first reply arrived the next day and altogether 409 testimonies were received....
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Writing a Scholarly Occupation: Student Women Diarists (1940-1944)
Une fille ça reste au foyer, oui peut-etre, mais pas quand elle a gagné sa croute seule pendant 3 ans, qu'elle n'a pas eu de maître que la nécessité (Madeleine Blaess, 15 August 1943).This article examines the lives of four women students in occupied...
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Une Recherche Des Traces Du Vécu
En hommage â Robin Adamson qui a préfacé la traduction en français du livre de sa collegue Christine Morrow, ouvrons cet article par l'évocation de la soutenance de these de Christine â la faculté des Lettres de Toulouse en juin 1941. La these elle-meme...
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"Mon Petit Papa Chéri": Children, Fathers and Family Separation in Vichy France
Je ne sais vraiment pas pourquoi tu nous as quittés. La maitresse d'école nous a parlé de solidarité, grand-pere m'a dit que c'était â ton tour de partir, et mon petit camarade Jacques m'a dit que son papa qui est parti depuis trois ans allait revenir...
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No. 53, 2016

Conflict, Dialogue and Representation Introduction
The idea for the theme of this special issue of Essays in French Literature and Culture had its basis in the 22nd Australian Society for French Studies conference, held in Melbourne from 3rd-6th December 2014 and co-hosted by RMIT and La Trobe Universities....
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Internal Dialogue as Means of Collective Conflict Resolution in Linda Lê's Exile Writing
IntroductionWhile one may assume that conflict in the work of the Vietnamese-Francophone writer, Linda Lê, finds its source in the succession of national struggles in her homeland,1 it is exile, the result of armed conflict, that causes Lê's Vietnamese...
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Conflict and Reconciliation in New Caledonian Theatre
Conflict has been an enduring feature of New Caledonian history: inter-clanic violence pre-dating French colonisation; the dramatic impact of colonisation on the indigenous population; Kanak rebellions, notably those of 1878 and 1917, and their repression;...
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Representing Conscripts' Experience of Counter-Insurgency Warfare on Screen: Laurent Herbiet's Mon Colonel
IntroductionDuring the eight years of the Algerian War of Independence there were up to 470,000 French troops on the ground in Algeria at any one time, the large majority national servicemen; perhaps two million appelés [conscripts] served during the...
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Declinism, Nihilism and Conflict Avoidance in the Novels of Michel Houellebecq
Michel Houellebecq's novels are known for their negative outcomes. While the plots of his six novels differ, his characters are depressed misfits who struggle to negotiate the society in which they live and ultimately find themselves not merely alone,...
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Unfeminine Revolutionaries?: Four Moroccan Women Write about Sex
Since December 2010, when Mohamed Bouazizi set himself on fire in protest against the Tunisian regime, the so-called "Arab Spring" has swept across North Africa and into the Middle East. But as Joseph Massad points out in "The 'Arab Spring'", this nomenclature...
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"A Genocide of Little Importance": The Impact of the Terminology Used by Members of the French Government on the Representation of the 1994 Tutsi Genocide in Rwanda
"Dans ces pays-là, un génocide c'est pas trop important"(François Mitterrand, summer 1994)For Chantal Kalisa(1965-2015)6 April 1994 marked the beginning of the groundswell of violence in Rwanda that was carefully planned and orchestrated by Hutu extremists...
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La "Souvraineté Partagée" Conflictuelle En Nouvelle-Calédonie
L'ordre du discoursÀ l'instar d'autres puissances impériales, la France ramifie représentations, réseaux et tutelles économiques par des souverainetés "déterritorialisées" qui s'appuient sur douze possessions d'outre-mer disséminées dans le "Tout-Monde"...
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No. 52, November

Charles Denis Boak (1932-2015)
Denis Boak, Professor of French at The University of Western Australia from 1975 to 1995, died peacefully in the Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital, Perth, on 5 July 2015 after a quiet but lengthy struggle with failing health. He was in his eighty-third year,...
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Robin Adamson (1938-2015)
Robin Adamson was born at Ayr in Queensland on 30 March 1938. She attended boarding school in Brisbane, studied French at the University of Queensland and then spent an extended period of time in Paris before completing her PhD.She took up a Tutor's...
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Alain Mabanckou's Subversion of Stereotypes through Humour
Upon the publication of his début novel Bleu Blanc Rouge in 1998, Alain Mabanckou quickly became a leading figure in contemporary French literature. He has subsequently added several novels, essays, and two volumes of poetry to his bibliography, as well...
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Out of Darkness? Bofane's Afropean Ndombolo Trickster Resistance in Mathématiques Congolaises
Evoking the name of the Congo will for most people echo violence, struggle and hunger as representations of the country having been trapped for centuries in a Heart of Darkness paradigm. This image, exemplified in the words of Belgo-Congolese singer...
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Urban Musical Cultures and Postcolonial Mobilities in Fiston Mwanza Mujila's Tram 83 and Wilfried N'Sondé's Fleur De Béton
Achille Mbembe (2007, 28) describes "Afropolitanism" as a cultural, historical and aesthetic sensitivity that foregrounds the "interweaving of worlds", and announces an African way of belonging to the world ("d'être-monde") while at the same time drawing...
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Sins of the Flesh: Zola, Naturalism and the Madeleine Redemption Narrative in Nineteenth-Century France
As the patron saint of prostitutes and other "fallen women", Mary Magdalene - the "paradigmatic fallen woman in the European imagination" (Rifelj, 91) - has endured over the centuries as a powerful icon for the redemption of the so-called sins of the...
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No. 51, November

"Qui Donc Fermera la Porte Entr'ouverte?": The Home and the Nation in Women's War Poetry: À la Mémoire Du Professor Scott Bates
Soldier-writer Adrien Bertrand's L'Appel du sol (1914; Prix Goncourt 1916) confronts a problem that is intrinsic to war literature and particularly to French fiction and poetry of the Great War, when one of the characters struggles to understand why...
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"Un Puits, C'est Une Tour À L'envers": Rewriting the First World War from the Home Front
In 1918, the feminist Hélène Brion identified the primary obstacle in the fight for female emancipation during the First World War: "Dans le système d'appréciation que la guerre rend inévitable, l'homme seul compte" (Brion). Even for the most determined...
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No. 50, November

James R. Lawler (1929 - 2013)
Professor James R. Lawler, who was appointed to the foundation chair of French at UWA in 1963, has died in Paris at the age of 83. A graduate of Melbourne University with a doctorate from the Sorbonne, after lecturing at Queensland and Melbourne Universities...
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Reminiscences of a Past Editor1
When I arrived in Perth in June 1975 to take up the Chair of French, and with it the Editorship of Essays in French Literature, there had been something of a hiatus. James Lawler had departed to pursue his career in North America four years earlier,...
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Ludicity in Surrealism and in Translation
This article intends to bring to the fore the ludicity involved in Surrealist practices and productions, as well as demonstrate how this ludicity can be an integral part of the translation process and how the translation is received. This involves adopting...
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Le Je(u) De L'actrice : Role-Play and Rebirth in Roch Stéphanik's Stand-By (2000)1
In L'Invention du quotidien, Michel de Certeau states that "tout récit est un récit de voyage, - une pratique de l'espace" (Certeau, 1980, 206). In the new millennium, we could almost take that literally given the recent proliferation of travel narratives...
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Jean Dujardin, OSS 117, and the Art of the Spoof
A genre comes of age when its conventions are well enough known to be played for laughs in a parody. (Yacowar, 2003, 283)IntroductionSince his breakthrough role as the titular Brice de Nice (James Huth, 2005), French actor Jean Dujardin has become best...
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Playtime at the Moulin Rouge
Within the Moulin Rouge of the fin-de-siècle and representations of it in film and visual art the viewer encounters several forms of playtime, which have here been divided into three main areas: recreational, sexual, and spectatorial. For the purposes...
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No. 49, November

The Framing of a Belle Infidèle: Paratexts, Retranslations and Madame Bovary
IntroductionLiterary retranslation is both a recurring and a protean phenomenon, generating multiple target language versions of a given source text in varied guises and at intervals which range from the sporadic to the isochronous. Nowhere is the mercurial...
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'Mon Cher Papa, Ma Chère Maman': The Drôle De Guerre of Madeleine Blaess
J'ai reçu une lettre du 'C.F' me demandant d'écrire un article en français sur "Paris en guerre". Je le ferais si j'ai le temps. Dites-moi qu'est-ce que je pourrais mettre pour intéresser - parler des alertes? que sais-je!! (Blaess, 17 November 1939)Born...
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