Fiction—and creative non-fiction—in French is my field as a critic.
Liberty at its purest, as Alain Chartier, Annie Saumont, Sade test fiction.
An engaging discipline as Beckett, Rutebeuf, Voltaire, and Zeina Abirached practice it.
Un monde à portée de main—selon Maylis de Kerangal.
My first training in early, modern literature and history in French leads me to investigate fiction in historical action. How writers experiment; what happens to their work – its aesthetic and cultural significance. Theater and writing through gender are forms I’ve researched in archives, and written on extensively. In all my work, I debate with fiction by considering its first forms in relation to many others, including those today and in twentieth-century Francophone communities.
Timely Fictions, the book I’m working on now, is the latest fruit of this thinking. An almanac of sorts, it redefines major forms of fiction by taking into account their multiple temporalities and different practices. For example, visionary political writing, drama, poetry, and graphic narrative: Christine de Pizan with Edith Thomas, the mystery play and farce with Sartre, Simone Jollivet, and Simone de Beauvoir; personal poetry with Villon, Victor Hugo, Édouard Glissant and Langston Hughes. Part of this research was supported by French Cultural Services in a Digital Humanities project.
Image: Belleville; photograph by CL Krueger
Home page image: Michael Healy, Seascape