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Connecting Characters in Modern and Contemporary French-Language Fiction: Panel at the 53rd annual NeMLA Convention (NeMLA)

Baltimore, MD
Organization: Northeast Modern Language Association
Event: NeMLA
Categories: French, Popular Culture, Cultural Studies, Film, TV, & Media
Event Date: 2022-03-10 to 2022-03-13 Abstract Due: 2021-09-30

Creators of fiction develop characters in and across complex networks, foregrounding them as fundamentally interconnected entities. Connecting ‘care’ and character, this panel will explore character relations and interdependency in French-language fiction as an intra- and intertextual phenomenon. Intratextually, characters come into impactful connection as a result of everyday contexts (Balzac, Le père Goriot; Perec, La Vie mode d’emploi; Laclavatine, Matins bleus) as well as extraordinary events (Verne, Vingt mille lieues sous les mers; Condé, Traversée de la Mangrove; Kerangal, Réparer les vivants). Intertextually, they can be adapted between authors (e.g. Poe and Verne) and across media (novel to film; literary work to video game; etc.); some even blur the boundary between fiction and non-fiction (Glissant’s Mathieu Beluse). From the serial novels of Balzac and Zola to the multi-perspectival fictions of the contemporary moment, characters recur and cross paths, their voices echoing in unison—or clashing in discord—as their plotlines come together to forge a larger story. We seek papers that explore character interdependency in literature as well as in transmedia adaptations, and welcome reflections on the impacts of socio-cultural and/or politico-historical contexts on character connections. 


By adopting a transhistorical and transmedia approach, “Connecting Characters in Modern and Contemporary French-Language Fiction” aims to interrogate how interdependency among characters shapes narrative meaning intra- as well as intertextually, across time periods, genres, and media types.


Themes of inquiry may include, but are not limited to: 

·         Recurring characters 

·         Characters in adaptation 

·         Causality and influence between characters and plotlines

·         Character interdependency in multi-perspectival works

·         Character connections and their relation to the everyday, to realism 

·         Character relations and group identities, among dominant and non-dominant groups

·         Impacts of political and social contexts on character relationships


Abstracts in English or French (250 words) should be summitted to the NeMLA portal (https://www.cfplist.com/nemla/Home/S/19248 ) by September 30, 2021.

For questions, please contact Rebecca Grenouilleau-Loescher (rloescher001@gmail.com) or Kat Haklin (khaklin@coloradocollege.edu).


Rebecca Grenouilleau-Loescher