French literature and film in the USSR and Mao's China: intertexts in Makine's Au temps du fleuve Amour and Dai Sijie's Balzac et la Petite Tailleuse chinoise
Romance Studies, 24, (2), . (doi:10.1179/174581506x120118).
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This article considers the role of French literature and film in the depiction of adolescence in two novels by the bestselling translingual authors Andreï Makine and Dai Sijie. Exposure to French film and literature provides Makine's and Dai Sijie's young protagonists with alternatives to the harsh realities of the regimes in which they live. The article explores the crucial role played by French texts in the characters' sexual awakening, and considers how their selective reading of these texts helps the protagonists create their own identities. Makine and Dai Sijie also suggest that French culture has the power to penetrate and change societies more generally. The article evaluates the extent to which this flattering view of French culture and the incorporation of French intertexts may account for the success of the novels in France.
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