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The Writer's Responsibility in France

From Flaubert to Sartre

Gisèle Sapiro

Based on the notion of legal responsibility, the article establishes a connection between the social conditions of production of literature and the ethical principles that founded the commitment of writers as intellectuals in France from the nineteenth century to the post-World War II period. While the penal responsibility of the author is imbued with a belief in the power of words, the trials were in turn often the occasion for writers like Flaubert and Baudelaire to define their own ethics of responsibility against the values of conventional morality and political conformity through which their work was liable to condemnation. Articulating these ethical principles affirmed the writer's independence from political and religious authorities and contributed to the emergence of an autonomous literary field, as defined by Pierre Bourdieu. The figure of the writer as a public intellectual best embodied by Zola and Sartre emerged on the basis of this code of ethics.

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Rebecca Pitt, Nik Farrell-Fox, and Gervase Morley

Nikolaj Lübecker, Community, Myth and Recognition in Twentieth-Century French Literature and Thought Review by Rebecca Pitt

Heiner Wittmann, Aesthetics in Sartre and Camus: The Challenge of Freedom Review by Nik Farrell-Fox

Gail Linsenbard, Starting with Sartre Review by Gervase Morley

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Camus et la « littérature algérienne »

Une notion stratégique dans l’espace littéraire francophone

Tristan Leperlier


This article offers a socio-historical approach to analyzing the genesis of the notion of “Algerian literature” and its structural relationship to “French literature”—unstable notions that have been subject to fierce debate. I show how “Algerian literature” has been nationalized and ethnicized during the twentieth century. These transformations are linked to Algerian writers’ literary and political struggles with one another. Their approaches to affirming or denying the very existence of “Algerian literature” during the colonial era, or its ethnic character after Algerian independence, depended on their political convictions, but also on their recognition within the French-Algerian literary space. A structural analysis of the kind offered here allows us to see new historical continuities and ruptures between French colonial literature and the literature of post-independence Algeria. It reveals too that the figure of Albert Camus has remained in the heart of the debates even to this day.

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Hannah Callaway, Alec G. Hargreaves, and John P. Murphy

soon came to dislike the ways in which media usage of this term became tainted by negative stereotypes and seemed to position them not only outside mainstream French literature but also in some respects outside French literature altogether. They felt

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Félix Germain

spoke to the ways in which some French colonial subjects were infatuated with Paris as the center of the empire. Reflecting on Thaly, a poet from the island of Martinique, Cook suggested that his fine stanzas truly enriched French literature. His poems

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Sara Crangle

letters is much better read in French literature than the English man of letters is in any literature’. 10 The examples proliferate: Welsh critic Raymond Williams describes ‘the true social bases of the early avant-garde’ as ‘cosmopolitan and

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Colette française (et fille de zouave)

Colette and the French Singularity

Kathleen Antonioli

French literature, thus erasing, suppressing, or rewriting other forms of femininity that are in French literary history. This happens both implicitly and explicitly. Finally, we can trace this particular vision of Colette forward as well as backward

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Elizabeth S. Leet

’s loquacious and predatory sexuality and the Charybdis of the fairy mistress’s mystical and discreet femininity. Silence, therefore, reveals many of Marie’s subversions of gender norms. In her book Bodytalk: When Women Speak in Old French Literature , Jane

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John H. Gillespie, Marcos Norris, and Nik Farrell Fox

through the 18 th and 19 th centuries, to focus extensively on the theological turn in twentieth century French literature, influenced by Dostoevsky and other 19 th century Russian novelists. In particular Kirkpatrick concentrates on the 1920s, the

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Aaron Freundschuh, Jonah D. Levy, Patricia Lorcin, Alexis Spire, Steven Zdatny, Caroline Ford, Minayo Nasiali, George Ross, William Poulin-Deltour, and Kathryn Kleppinger

the blurred lines between what has historically been divided into “commercial” and “aesthetic” literature. Instead, Sabo argues that migrant literature exemplifies the ever-shifting values, actors, and publications that make up French literature today