1st Edition

Multilingual Life Writing by French and Francophone Women Translingual Selves

By Natalie Edwards Copyright 2020
    184 Pages
    by Routledge

    184 Pages
    by Routledge

    This volume examines the ways in which multilingual women authors incorporate several languages into their life writing. It compares the work of six contemporary authors who write predominantly in French. It analyses the narrative strategies they develop to incorporate more than one language into their life writing: French and English, French and Creole, or French and German, for example. The book demonstrates how women writers transform languages to invent new linguistic formations and how they create new formulations of subjectivity within their self-narrative. It intervenes in current debates over global literature, national literatures and translingual and transnational writing, which constitute major areas of research in literary and cultural studies. It also contributes to debates in linguistics through its theoretical framework of translanguaging. It argues that multilingual authors create new paradigms for life writing and that they question our understanding of categories such as "French literature."


    Chapter 1

    Lydie Salvayre: Translanguaging, Testimony and History

    Chapter 2

    French-Vietnamese Translanguaging in the Work of Kim Thúy

    Chapter 3

    "En Australie, je parle une langue minoritaire": Catherine Rey’s Franco-Australian Life-Writing

    Chapter 4

    Gisèle Pineau’s Evolving Translanguaging: From Un Papillon dans la cité to L’Exil selon Julia to Mes quatres femmes

    Chapter 5

    Staging Resistance to the Language of the Colonizer: Chantal Spitz’s Translanguaging

    Chapter 6

    Hélène Cixous’s Franco-German Translanguaging in Une Autobiographie allemande



    Dr. Natalie Edwards is Associate Professor of French at the University of Adelaide, Australia. She specializes in women’s writing, life writing and translingual writing in French. She is the author of Shifting Subjects: Plural Subjectivity in Contemporary Francophone Women’s Autobiography (2011) and Voicing Voluntary Childlessness: Narratives of Non-Mothering in French (2016). She is co-editor of Textual and Visual Selves: Photography, Film and Visual Art in French Autobiography (2011) and Framing French Culture (2015) and of ten edited volumes on contemporary French and Francophone literatures.

    "Edwards’s nuanced approach avoids ‘white reading’, offering parallel interpretations which acknowledge those readers who share the author’s multilingualism… the decolonizing ambition of this work should be praised and is, for the most part, highly successful. Edwards’s conclusion powerfully captures the importance of translanguaging in an increasingly plurilingual and mobile world; moreover, it is a practice which is intersectional in its scope and interdisciplinary in its application, thus perhaps hailing a new paradigm for women’s lifewriting research."

    - Jasmine Cooper, Newnham College, Cambridge