This "Self" Which Is Not One
The ",Self", Which is Not One: Women's Life-Writing in French, assembles articles on women's life-writing from diverse areas of the Francophone world. It is comprised of nine chapters that discuss female writers from North Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa, the Caribbean and Europe, in addition to French writers. The idea of the self is currently attracting widespread interest in academia, most notably in the arts and humanities. The development of postmodernism supposes a fragmented ",subject", formed from the network of available discourses, rather than a stable and coherent self. Jacques Derrida, for example, wrote that there is no longer any such things as a ",full subject,", and Julia Kristeva now insists that the individual is a ",subject in process.", The growing importance of psychoanalytic theory, particular in French studies, has also impacted upon this development. The basic tenet of psychoanalytic theory is that the individual is formed of a duality: the conscious and unconscious parts of the self which prevent the individual from ever fully knowing her/himself, and which thus insists upon a plural, incomplete self. Developments in the field of postcolonial studies have also made us aware of different ways of approaching the self in different parts of the world, and eroded the idea of a stable, conscious and complete self.As scholars examine these new ways of approaching the self, autobiography has been the subject of renewed interest. Several academic books have appeared in recent years that study the ways in which autobiographers represent the self as incomplete, evolving and elusive. In particular, a number of books have appeared on the subject of women's autobiography and female subjectivity, such as works by Sidonie Smith, Julia Watson and Nancy Miller, and several volumes interrogate postcolonial women's autobiography, such as texts by Francoise Lionnet, Gayatri Spivak, Carole Boyce Davies and Chandra Mohanty. Our volume unites these strands of criticism, by examining ways that female autobiographies write the self as a fragmented, plural construct across the Francophone world. This will be the first book-length study of this important development. This volume will be of interest primarily to students and scholars working in the areas of life-writing, French and Francophone studies, postcolonial studies and gender studies. The volume contributes to multiple areas that are currently garnering substantial interest in academe: postcolonial studies, Francophone studies, gender studies and women's writing. By comparing works from across the Francophone world, our volume takes a global approach to the genre of autobiography and its inflections by women writers. The ",Self", That is Not One in Women's Autobiography in French therefore represents a timely intervention in several interlinking academic fields and will thus garner substantial interest.
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