How Not To Speak of Books You Cannot Ignore: The Trouble with French-Language Literature


Location: DeBartolo Hall, Room 117

Oana Panaïté

In what she calls the “epistemological trouble” experienced by French literary scholars when dealing with French writing beyond the Hexagon, Oana Panaïté focuses on the “unstable borders” of what is put under the notion of “francophone literature.”

In her current book project, “Frontières de la littérature française. Stratégies esthétiques et réflexion théorique dans la prose narrative contemporaine,” Oana Panaïté provides an examination of works by authors such as Pierre Michon, Jean Rouaud, Marie Ndiaye, Linda Lê, Gisèle Pineau, Patrick Chamoiseau, Boubacar Boris Diop, Tierno Monénembo, Calyxthe Beyala and Nina Bouraoui.

First in her analysis she sets out to reassess the relevance of critical concepts and ideas such as “national literature, committed author, authentic writing” by examining their effectiveness in relation to recent fiction works. Second, she offers a dynamic description of the literary process envisioned neither as a reflection of reality nor a political counter-discourse, but as a constant exchange between a series of equally important agents: writers, readers, and critics. Third, she aims to provide an integral reading model that closely connects the temporal dimension of literature with the artistic attributes of individual texts.

Sponsored by the Ph.D. in Literature Program