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Special Issues

Compilations, recueils, collections
Edited by Wendy Ayres-Bennett and Catherine Volpilhac-Auger
Volume 65, Number 3

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La collection, sous l’appellation de compilation, peut apparaître comme un mode de développement opposé à l’art de la composition, à la croissance organique, harmonieuse et programmée, de l’œuvre maîtrisée par son auteur; elle est alors perçue sur le mode de l’accroissement, de l’accumulation, de l’augmentation continue ; elle ne vaut que parce qu’elle est multiple et qu’elle constitue un ensemble, où les notions mêmes d’œuvre et d’auteur disparaissent: tout ce qui appartient à la collection retire de cette appartenance sens et valeur. La collection apparaît alors comme un principe de structuration et d’intelligence des textes. Elle peut même engendrer une perception du contenu fondamentalement différente.

C’est ce processus qui est examiné dans ce numéro spécial de French Studies, comme mode de production éditoriale aussi bien que textuelle: quand l’œuvre ne se conçoit que dans son rapport à la collection, ce rapport est-il seulement d’analogie ou relève-t-il d’affinités plus profondes? Quelle influence un développement (sériel ou non) peut-il exercer, quand un simple corpus se constitue en collection? En quoi la collection peut-elle apparaître finalement comme un principe d’écriture? On s’interroge dès lors sur la notion même de collection comme collecte (ordonnée et raisonnée) conférant à un ensemble sa légitimité dans l’ordre du discours.

Ce phénomène est étudié à travers des œuvres ‘littéraires’ ou non, qui permettent d’étudier tout le spectre de la notion de collection. Le centre d’intérêt est surtout la période ‘Early Modern’, mais y figure également une contribution sur la ‘Légende Dorée’ où l’on voit déjà en germe plusieurs éléments-clés de la thématique.

New Ekphrastic Poetics
Edited by Susan Harrow
Volume 64, Number 3

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This Special Issue contributes to current debates in the cross-disciplinary field of ekphrasis, as theory and as a form of writerly practice. Across the range of textual and other media examined here, the contributors unsettle, challenge and ‘complexify’ traditional assumptions about what ekphrasis does and what it might do. The dialogue between the contributors is active and sustained. Alive to the changing theoretical landscape, they put new descriptions of ekphrasis to work on modern and contemporary French and Francophone visual culture and textual studies. In this the authors respond to – and contribute to – the discipline-defining work of Mieke Bal, James Heffernan and W.J.T. Mitchell through their readings of the complex relations between textual and visual media. As they probe key issues at the visual–verbal interface, the Introduction and the five articles combine interdisciplinary focus and specificity with a strong appeal to a wide constituency of researchers. The intellectual concerns of New Ekphrastic Poetics resonate with current issues in French and Francophone studies, especially its developing dialogue with visual culture (including screen studies), its enduring fascination with hybrid modernism and postmodernism, its preoccupation with intercultural (including postcolonial) relations, its engagement with corporeality and performativity, and its pleasure in textuality and writerliness.

The Art Novel
Edited by Paul Smith
JANUARY 2007 Volume 61, Number 1
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This special issue of French Studies examines a body of narratives featuring French art and artists published at representative periods during the nineteenth century (in both French and English). There are strong thematic continuities between many of the examples discussed, particularly as regards their concern over the social and economic position of the artist, and the nature and gendering of creativity. The topoi of the genius and the raté also recur throughout. Several texts are vehicles for voicing aesthetic and political positions. And many draw closely on contemporary figures, events, and debates for their content. Yet this special issue does not aim to identify a discursive unity so much as to exhibit the variety and richness of the art novel’s evolution. It is also concerned to address some of the methodological issues involved in reading this kind of text, including the selectivity of the canon, intertextual connections, and the relationship between fiction and fact. It is hoped it will not only plot some new and unfamiliar material in an area still represented for most by a mere handful of ‘major’ texts, but also bring some of the questions involved by this expanded configuration of the field into sharper focus.

Memory and Innovation in the Post-Holocaust Generation in France
Edited by Victoria Best and Kathryn Robson
JANUARY 2005 Volume 59, Number 1
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This special issue explores different representations of cultural memory in France since the Holocaust, a period overshadowed by historical trauma (wars, decolonization, genocide), in which memory has become an increasingly dominant cultural obsession. Contested representations of cultural memory have given rise to important critical and philosophical debates, which pivot on the relation between memory and history, the individual and the collective. Covering a broad range of spheres including literature, cultural history and theory, psychoanalysis and film, the essays collected here draw on and contribute to these critical debates in analyses that seek to rethink the relation between memory and representation. Where recent critical work on cultural memory has tended to emphasize its failures and frustrations, these essays highlight a different model of memory as innovation and creative representation. Central to all the essays is the idea that memories are constructed and mediated via specific culturally constructed frames, within which individual memory is irrevocably and sometimes troublingly bound up with collective modes of remembering. Yet the representations of memory examined here show how memory can work productively in and through tensions such as the relation between the individual and the collective without trying to overcome them: these tensions remain as crucial elements in the quest to find new forms of representation of memory.

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