Recent Member Publications

Author: Gemma King
Book Title: Decentring France: Multilingualism and Power in Contemporary French Cinema
Manchester University Press
ISBN: 978-1-5261-1357-3

In a world defined by the flow of people, goods and cultures, many contemporary French films explore the multicultural nature of today’s France through language. From rival lingua francas such as English to socio-politically marginalised languages such as Arabic or Kurdish, multilingual characters in these films exploit their knowledge of multiple languages, and offer counter-perspectives to dominant ideologies of the role of linguistic diversity in society. Decentring France is the first substantial study of multilingual film in France. Unpacking the power dynamics at play in the dialogue of eight emblematic films, this book argues that many contemporary French films take a new approach to language and power, showing how even the most historically-maligned languages can empower their speakers. This book offers a unique insight to academics and students alike, into the place of language and power in French cinema today.

Author: Valentina Gosetti
Book Title: 
Aloysius Bertrand’s Gaspard de la Nuit: Beyond the Prose Poem
Published: 2016
Legenda Series, MHRA & Routlege
ISBN: 9781909662834 

Aloysius Bertrand’s Gaspard de la Nuit (1842) is a familiar title to music lovers, thanks to Ravel’s piano work of the same name, and to specialists of French literature, especially those interested in Baudelaire’s prose poetry. Yet until very recently the collection and its author have generally been viewed almost exclusively through the prism of their pioneering role in the development of the prose poem. By placing Bertrand back in his original context, adopting a comparative approach and engaging with recent critical work on the collection, Valentina Gosetti proposes a substantial reassessment of Gaspard de la Nuit and promotes a new understanding of Bertrand in his own terms, rather than those of his successors. Through his playful and ironic reinterpretation of Romantic clichés, and his overt defiance of the boundaries of poetry and beauty, Bertrand emerges as a fascinating figure in his own right.

This book will be of particular interest to specialists of the nineteenth century and of provincial literature, and to students of nineteenth-century poetry or the fantastic.

Jean Fornasiero, Lindl Lawton, John West-Sooby (eds)
Book Title: 
The Art of Science: Nicolas Baudin’s Voyagers 1800-1804
Mile End, Wakefield Press
176 pp.  $39.95
ISBN: 9781743054277.

It was one of the most lavishly equipped scientific expeditions ever to leave Europe. At the dawn of the nineteenth century, French navigator Nicolas Baudin led two ships carrying 22 scientists and more than 230 officers and crew on a three-and-a-half-year voyage to the ‘Southern Lands’, charting coasts, studying the natural environment and recording encounters with indigenous peoples.

Inspired by the Enlightenment’s hunger for knowledge, Baudin’s expedition collected well in excess of 100,000 specimens, produced more than 1500 drawings and published the first complete chart of Australia.

Baudin’s artists, Charles-Alexandre Lesueur and Nicolas-Martin Petit, painted a series of remarkable portraits of Aboriginal people and produced some of the earliest European views of Australian fauna. An integral part of the French scientific project, these exquisite artworks reveal the sense of wonder this strange new world inspired.

This book has been published to coincide with the touring exhibition The Art of Science: Baudin’s Voyagers 1800-1804, which showcases more than 350 works from the Lesueur Collection held by the Museum of Natural History in Le Havre, Normandy, France.

Exhibition locations and dates

  • South Australian Maritime Museum: 30 June to 11 December 2016
  • Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery (Launceston): 7 January to 20 March 2017
  • Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery (Hobart): 7 April to 9 July 2017
  • Australian National Maritime Museum (Sydney): 31 August to 26 November 2017
  • National Museum of Australia (Canberra): 15 March to 11 June 2018
  • Western Australian Museum (Perth): September to December 2018 (exact dates to be confirmed)

Author: Natalie Edwards
Book Title: Voicing Voluntary ChildlessnessNarratives of Non-Mothering in French 
Published: 2016
Publisher: Peter Lang Oxford. 212 pp. £42.00
Studies in Contemporary Women’s Writing
Series Editor: Gill Rye
ISBN 978-3-0343-1809-9 pb.
ISBN 978-3-0353-0795-5 eBook

Voicing Voluntary Childlessness is a compelling, beautifully written and timely study of what it means to reject motherhood. Through careful analysis of the form and content of recent French-language literary works, Edwards shows how long-standing expectations of women, as well as the assumptions underlying them, are being challenged.’ – Professor Karin Schwerdtner, University of Western Ontario

‘At times defiant or doubtful, humorous or melancholic, the texts presented in this book provide us with a new paradigm for the study of the volatile yet rarely explored topic of childlessness.’ – Professor Mireille Rosello, University of Amsterdam

‘Without a doubt, Natalie Edwards’ study constitutes an important contribution to the field of literary motherhood studies by drawing our attention to a voice that is too often overlooked.’ – Dr Julie Rodgers, Maynooth University

‘Voicing Voluntary Childlessness presents a groundbreaking and genuinely fascinating look at women’s choices not to become mothers. Natalie Edwards shows how women writers living in France reshape multiple genres of self-expression in order to give voice to this widely misunderstood and understudied choice. She contextualizes her readings in rich and consequential theoretical and sociological research, and her critical intervention in psychoanalysis from the point of view of voluntarily childless women makes for essential reading.’ – Professor Erica Johnson, Pace University

The decision to reject motherhood is the subject of several key works of literature in French since the new millennium. This book explores how women narrate their decision not to mother, the issues that they face in doing so and the narrative techniques that they employ to justify their stories. It brings together authors who stake out a new terrain, creating a textual space in which to take ownership of their childlessness and call for new understandings of female identity beyond maternity.

Natalie Edwards is Senior Lecturer in French Studies and member of the Fay Gale Centre for Research on Gender at the University of Adelaide, Australia. 

Available for purchase from

Authors: Jean Fornasiero and John West-Sooby
Book Title: French Designs on Colonial New South Wales: François Péron’s Memoir on the English Settlements in New Holland, Van Diemen’s Land and the Archipelagos of the Great Pacific Ocean
Published: 2014
Publisher: Adelaide, Friends of the State Library of South Australia
$35 (paperback); $65 (hardback)
Order on-line:

François Péron’s Memoir was intended to inform Napoleon that it would be easy to invade New South Wales and make the British colony a French possession in the Pacific. Péron also confidently predicted that the British would shortly move to establish settlements in Tasmania and other parts of mainland Australia, so as “to exclude from these shores such formidable rivals as the French”. Péron’s report, presented for the first time in its entirety in English translation, highlights the strategic importance of the Port Jackson colony to Britain’s interests in the Pacific. Jean Fornasiero and John West-Sooby have prepared this translation from Péron’s notes and drafts for a publication that his early death forestalled. The translators’ extensive and erudite introduction places Péron’s work in its historical context. The book includes a selection of letters and other contemporary documents commenting on the state of the colony of New South Wales at the time.

Author:  Amy L. Hubbell
Book Title: Remembering French Algeria: Pieds-Noirs, Identity and Exile
Published: 2015
Publisher: University of Nebraska Press
ISBN: 978-0-8032-6490-8

Colonized by the French in 1830, Algeria was an important French settler colony that, unlike its neighbors, endured a lengthy and brutal war for independence from 1954 to 1962. The nearly one million Pieds-Noirs (literally “black-feet”) were former French citizens of Algeria who suffered a traumatic departure from their homes and discrimination upon arrival in France. In response, the once heterogeneous group unified as a community as it struggled to maintain an identity and keep the memory of colonial Algeria alive.

Remembering French Algeria examines the written and visual re-creation of Algeria by the former French citizens of Algeria from 1962 to the present. By detailing the preservation and transmission of memory prompted by this traumatic experience, Amy L. Hubbell demonstrates how colonial identity is encountered, reworked, and sustained in Pied-Noir literature and film, with the device of repetition functioning in these literary and visual texts to create a unified and nostalgic version of the past. At the same time, however, the Pieds-Noirs’ compulsion to return compromises these efforts. Taking Albert Camus’s Le Mythe de Sisyphe and his subsequent essays on ruins as a metaphor for Pied-Noir identity, this book studies autobiographical accounts by Marie Cardinal, Jacques Derrida, Hélène Cixous, and Leïla Sebbar, as well as lesser-known Algerian-born French citizens, to analyze movement as a destabilizing and productive approach to the past.

Author: Françoise Grauby
Book Title: Le roman de la création, Écrire entre mythes et pratiques
Published: 2015
Publisher: Amsterdam/New York, Rodopi/Brill
ISBN: 9789042039247

Un phénomène nouveau est sur le point de modifier en profondeur la représentation traditionnelle, vieille de plus de deux siècles, de la création littéraire : l’atelier d’écriture. Entre une pratique scripturale de plus en plus ouverte et un système qui repose encore sur une conception sacrée de la littérature, du moins en France, une situation inédite s’énonce : les mythes de l’écriture et de l’écrivain sont-ils en passe d’être détrônés ?

Afin de mieux comprendre la faveur dont jouissent les ateliers depuis quelques années, cet ouvrage interroge la place que nous accordons encore aux mythes et aux rites de l’écriture. Portant sur l’expérience particulière de l’écriture, de la naissance de la vocation au phénomène de l’inspiration, observant la relation que les écrivains entretiennent avec une création tissée de rituels, de représentations anciennes et de techniques, Le Roman de la création trace les changements, entre mythes et pratiques, qui s’esquissent dans le champ littéraire actuel.

Author: Glenn H. Roe
Book Title: The Passion of Charles Péguy: Literature, Modernity, and the Crisis of Historicism
Published: 16 October 2014
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 978-0-19-871807-9
Price: £60.00

In many ways, the development of twentieth-century literary criticism and theory can be seen as a prolonged struggle against the pervading influence of nineteenth-century positivist historicism. Anglo-American New Criticism and later French Post-structuralism and Deconstruction are the best-known instances of this conflict. Less widely known, but no less important to contemporary literary studies, are Charles Péguy’s earlier debates with French academic historicism in the years leading up to World War One. First examined by Antoine Compagnon in his ground-breaking work La Troisième République des lettres in 1983, it is a period in French literary and cultural history that remains, some thirty years later, largely untreated in English. This book thus addresses an important, albeit relatively unexplored, moment in the development of twentieth-century literary history and theory. By way of Péguy’s foundational polemics with modernity and his role in the related ‘crisis of historicism’, we gain a better understanding of the critical basis from which similar anti-positivist and anti-historicist critiques were later enacted on both sides of the Atlantic. In situating Péguy’s passions and polemics within the larger cultural and historical context, Glenn H. Roe invites us to reconsider and re-evaluate Péguy’s place among twentieth-century literary figures. Beyond its literary-critical aspects, The Passion of Charles Péguy provides a general view of early twentieth-century debates related to the role of literary studies in modern society, the reform of the French educational system, and the formation of literary history as an academic discipline in both France and abroad.

 Angela Kimyongür and Amy Wigelsworth
Chapter Author (member): Alistair Rolls
Book TitleRewriting Wrongs: French Crime Fiction and the Palimpsest
Chapter Title: “Paris as Rewrite: Getting Away With It in Léo Malet’s XVe arrondissement”
Published: September 2014
Publisher: Cambridge Scholars
ISBN: 978-1-4438-6133-5
Price: £47.99

Rewriting Wrongs: French Crime Fiction and the Palimpsest furthers scholarly research into French crime fiction and, within that broad context, examines the nature, functions and specificity of the palimpsest. Originally a palaeographic phenomenon, the palimpsest has evolved into a figurative notion used to define any cultural artefact which has been reused but still bears traces of its earlier form. In her 2007 study The Palimpsest, Sarah Dillon refers to “the persistent fascination with palimpsests in the popular imagination, embodying as they do the mystery of the secret, the miracle of resurrection and the thrill of detective discovery”. In the context of crime fiction, the palimpsest is a particularly fertile metaphor. Because the practice of rewriting is so central to popular fiction as a whole, crime fiction is replete with hypertextual transformations. The palimpsest also has tremendous extra-diegetic resonance, in that crime fiction frequently involves the rewriting of criminal or historical events and scandals. This collection of essays therefore exemplifies and interrogates the various manifestations and implications of the palimpsest in French crime fiction.

Editors: Natalie Edwards (Wagner College), Amy L. Hubbell (U. Queensland), and Ann Miller (U. Leicester)
Title: Textual and Visual Selves: Photography, Film, and Comic Art in French Autobiography
Published: December 2011
Publisher: University of Nebraska Press
Format: Paperback, 329 pp
ISBN : 978-0-8032-3631-8
Price: $25 (US)

Autobiography in France has taken a decidedly visual turn in recent years: photographs, shown or withheld, become evidence of what was, might have been, or cannot be said; photographers, filmmakers, and cartoonists undertake projects that explore issues of identity. Textual and Visual Selves investigates, from a variety of theoretical perspectives, the ways in which the textual and the visual combine in certain French works to reconfigure ideas—and images—of self-representation.

Surprisingly, what these accounts reveal is that photography or film does not necessarily serve to shore up the referentiality of the autobiographical account: on the contrary, the inclusion of visual material can even increase indeterminacy and ambiguity. Far from offering documentary evidence of an extratextual self coincident with the “I” of the text, these images testify only to absence, loss, evasiveness, and the desire to avoid objectification. However, where Roland Barthes famously saw the photograph as a prefiguration of death, in this volume we see how the textual strategies deployed by these writers and artists result in work that is ultimately life-affirming. (From the publisher’s website.)

Author: Natalie Edwards (University of Adelaide)
Title: Shifting Subjects: Plural Subjectivity in Contemporary Francophone Women’s Autobiography
Published: 2011
Publisher: University of Delaware Press
ISBN : 978-1611490305

There are many different ways to say “I.” This book examines the ways in which four contemporary women writers (Hélène Cixous, Assia Djebar, Gisèle Halimi, and Julia Kristeva) have written their autobiographical “I” as a plural concept. These women refuse the individual “I” of traditional autobiography by developing narrative strategies that multiply the voices in their texts. They similarly cast doubt upon current theorizations of the female self in autobiography by questioning the possibility of plural selfhood in narrative and its seemingly cathartic effects. Each writer approaches autobiography as a site of catharsis for a specific trauma and each tells her story through multiple narrative voices in order to find atonement. The women’s experiments with narrative voice are designed to render the female self accurately in narrative, but they simultaneously expose the difficulties inherent in writing the self plurally.

Taken together, the women who form the corpus of this study move beyond critics’ current understandings of textual representations of selfhood. Informed by postcolonial and feminist approaches to selfhood, this book charts the history of theories of autobiography and plots new ways of imagining this genre. This cross-section of international writers calls for a new understanding of the inscription of female identity in narrative; not as a binary of individual versus plural selfhood, but as a cluster of categories of identity beyond “I” and “we.”

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