Martine Guyot-Bender, Claire Mouflard, and Rebecca Loescher from the Department of French and Francophone Studies, gave presentations at the Twentieth and Twenty-First Century French and Francophone Studies Colloquium, titled "Sous les pavés," in reference to the 50th anniversary of the 1968 French protests. It was hosted this year by Brown University on April 12-14.
In her paper titled "1966, "annus mirabilis" et récit visionnaire dans Les belles images de Simone de Beauvoir," Guyot-Bender compared Simone de Beauvoir's perception of the year 1966 in her societal novella Les belles images (1967) with the description of the same year in literary theorist Antoine Compagnon's published course at the College de France, 1966: Annus Mirabilis (2011).
The comparison reveals how little Compagnon relied on de Beauvoir's insider's observations in one of only two novels written in French and speaking directly to the pre-1968 years. He thus ignored de Beauvoir's acute sense of global and local social problems that would continue to develop in later years, such as the impact of the media in our daily decisions, poverty, and the economic gap between first and third-world countries.
Mouflard's paper, "Le créole malgré : de Gaulle, 68 et L'Exil selon Julia," explored the relationship between "histoire" (one's personal story) and "Histoire" (history) in Gisèle Pineau's 1996 semi-autobiographical novel, L'Exil selon Julia. Mouflard argued that
Pineau used several forms of narrative métissage in her novel in order to unveil how the lives of French Guadeloupian migrants to metropolitan France in the 1960s were intrinsically linked to, and determined by, Charles de Gaulle's presidency - from the advent of the Fifth Republic to the civil unrest of 1968, and de Gaulle's eventual resignation in 1969.
Loescher's talk, "Say What?! Narrative Indeterminacy in
Contemporary Literatures in French," examined the ways in which three works of literature written in the past 20 years frustrate readerly expectations for clarity. Exploring things like narrative voice, repetition, and scope, she argued that, in order to read these texts, we must embrace indeterminacy - that is, we must not only accept multiplicity, but learn to make meaning through it.