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Metatextuality in Contemporary French Caribbean Fiction (53rd Annual Convention of the Northeast Modern Language Association)

Organization: University of Toronto
Event: 53rd Annual Convention of the Northeast Modern Language Association
Categories: Digital Humanities, French, Literary Theory, Women's Studies, Caribbean & Caribbean Diasporas
Event Date: 2022-03-10 to 2022-03-13 Abstract Due: 2021-09-30

[Abstracts should be submitted directly to the NeMLA portal]

In his book called Postocolonial Literature and the Impact of Literacy: Reading and Writing in African and Caribbean Fiction, Neil ten Kortenaar explains that “[t]exts always raise the question of their own nature, including their relation to audience, to a tradition they inherit but also rede?ne, and to the means of their production.” (2011: 19). It is this metatextual aspect of literary texts that we would like to examine in contemporary French Caribbean fiction.

Metatextuality here is understood as a form of intertextual discourse in which one text refers to itself or another text and critically reflects upon it. Even though this self-referential tendency has only been increasing in Francophone literatures in recent years (Gauvin 2019: 8), a limited number of studies have explored this topic in Caribbean fiction compared to French or Quebecois fiction (Attikpoé et al. 2018: 5). Our objective is to uncover the “story within the story” about literature and its social, institutional, critical, and aesthetic dimensions told by contemporary French Caribbean fiction. We believe that this question is of particular interest for the study of Caribbean literature as its conditions of production, publication, distribution, circulation, consumption, transmission, and recognition (or lack thereof) are very specific.

We welcome proposals that focus on: 1. The creative process (how does the novel tackle the question of its own creation? How does the writer represent himself or herself? How does s.he addresses the issue of writing? What are the strategies used by the novel to position itself within a specific literary genre/tradition); 2. the publishing process (how does the novel consider its relationship with the publishing world?); 3. Reception (how is the question of readership being addressed? How does the novel define its relationship with literary critics/institutions?).

Works cited

Attikpoé, Kodjo et Josias Semujanga, « Présentation ». Présence francophone, no. 91, 2018.

Gauvin, Lise. Le roman comme atelier. La scène de l'écriture dans les romans francophones contemporains. Paris : Éditions Khartala, 2019.

Ten Kortenaar, Neil. Postocolonial Literature and the Impact of Literacy: Reading and Writing in African and Caribbean Fiction. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011.



Julia Galmiche