L’écriture dans l’entre-deux temporel: une étude de l’evénement

Day, Loraine (2004) L’écriture dans l’entre-deux temporel: une étude de l’evénement. In, Thumerel, Fabrice (eds.) Annie Ernaux; une oeuvre de l’entre-deux. Arras, France, Artois Presses Université, 57-70. (Etudes littéraires et linguistiques).


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Juxtaposing Ernaux’s early and more recent work (notably Les Armoires vides [1974] and L’Evénement [2000]), my argument uses the insights of affect theorists (especially Silvan Tomkins and Donald Nathanson) to suggest that creativity has the power to transform shame into pride. More specifically, I argue that while an intertextual reading of her works reveals a movement towards the management of shame through creativity, shame and pride remain inextricably linked in the elaboration of her literary project. To the best of my knowledge, this was the first study of Ernaux’s work to deploy affect theory as an interpretative tool.

Focusing on one early and one much later text that both draw on the writer’s experience of an illegal abortion in 1964, and commenting more briefly on several intervening texts that refer to this event, my discussion also investigates the temporal perspectives of Ernaux’s life-writing project. Her successive ‘takes’ on the abortion demonstrate that lived experience is open to a variety of readings: the meanings that emerge are largely a function of the mood and preoccupations of the author at the time of composition. Notwithstanding the autobiographical and intimate subject matter of the texts discussed, Ernaux’s writing emphasises the imbrication of the personal and the social, life story and History; we are subjects in time and of our times.

This article centres on the personal rewards of negotiating shame through creative writing (empowerment through resilience, achievement and public recognition); the political dimension of the process (the denunciation of social injustice and the attribution of value to lives that are marginalised in the prevailing social order) remained to be developed in subsequent work. The dynamics and implications of the affective and literary processes evoked also remained to be more fully explored through the writing of my book on Ernaux’s writing, published in 2007.

Item Type: Book Section
ISBNs: 2848320184 (hardback)
Related URLs:
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PH Finno-Ugrian, Basque languages and literatures
P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics
Divisions : University Structure - Pre August 2011 > School of Humanities > Modern Languages
ePrint ID: 37912
Accepted Date and Publication Date:
Date Deposited: 26 May 2006
Last Modified: 31 Mar 2016 12:07
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/37912

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