French - Journal Articles

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    Desire in language: Nathalie Sarraute's theatre of interpellation
    (Association des Études Françaises et Francophones d'Irlande, 2011) Noonan, Mary
    The main line of argument pursued in this article is that the focus of Nathalie Sarraute's work for the theatre is the moment of turning in response to the voice that hails, and that her theatrical exposition of this moment aligns it with hesitation, resistance and loss: a disturbance in the originary moment of interpellation, a failure to sustain the other through the voice that addresses. The article concludes that it was in the theatre that her writing found its natural home.
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    An archaeology of soundscapes: The theatre of Noëlle Renaude
    (Taylor & Francis, 2010) Noonan, Mary
    In this essay, I will consider French writer Noëlle Renaude's development as a playwright, from The Northern Fox (1988), in which she blends different styles and linguistic registers, to her most recent plays, where she has abandoned virtually all the theatrical conventions and where she enacts a radical experimentation with the movement of words within the frame of the page/stage. In the plays written between 2004 and 2008, Renaude explores the relationship between language and space, between textuality and orality. In the space of memory that is evoked, all the dead voices are summoned out of the earth—excavated—in order to animate a geographical space. The playscripts present themselves as maps to be decoded—words are untethered from syntax and move about the page in unfamiliar patterns, telling stories of characters wandering in a landscape, getting lost, sometimes disappearing. These texts call for, and nurture, new ways of reading and performing plays: we must survey the page/stage, measure distances between words, decode symbols, chart proliferating patterns. We must become cartographers—the mathematical precision of the mapmaker is very much what is required if we are to navigate our way into, and out of, these pages. Using eye and ear, we plot our route through a terrain where the old signposts are no longer of any use.
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    L'art de l'ecrit s'incarnant: The theater of Noëlle Renaude
    (Yale University Press, 2007) Noonan, Mary
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    Dismantling, sifting, sorting: Valérie Rouzeau's poetics of scrappage
    (Association des Études Françaises et Francophones d'Irlande, 2012) Noonan, Mary
    Taking as its starting-point Julia Kristeva's work on the relationship between pre-verbal experience and poetic language, notably in La Révolution du langage poétique and Polylogue, this essay sets out to establish that the poetry of Valérie Rouzeau is marked above all by sonorous mayhem, rhythm and an absence of boundaries in space and time. Close analysis of the poems in the collections Pas Revoir (1999) and Quand je me deux (2009) reveals a highly ludic and dislocatory approach to the word, anarchic punctuation, erratic rhymes and unrestrained image-association. The article concludes that Rouzeau is raiding the semiotic domain of her auditory imagination, and that her poetry brings the reader to a place of omnipresent simultaneity, where the indeterminacy of pre-verbal experience of self and world can be apprehended through sound.
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    Within the Opaque Mirror: The Poetry of El-Mahdi Acherchour
    (Yale University Press, 2020-02) Crowley, Patrick
    The poetry of El-Mahdi Acherchour (1973) is hermetic, errant, marked by longing. His first volume, L’Œil de l’égaré (1997) nods towards the Andalusian Sufi mystic Muḥyī al-Dīn Ibn al-ʿArabī (1165–1240), the epigraph to the second volume, Le Chemin des choses nocturnes (2003) acknowledges the French poet René Char (1907–1988) but draws the reader into the metaphor of the mirror that returns us to Ibn al- ʿArabī; not to his notion of unity beyond duality but to a reflection that traces the troubling of the lyrical subject, desire and the possibilities of a poetry without origin. These publications come as Algeria’s décennie noire draws to its end and if Acherchour’s poetry obliquely references the violence of that period, it does so by enfolding it into the pursuit of poetry through a language both clear and opaque. Drawing on recent scholarship (Elhariry, 2017), as well as the work of Glissant and Khatibi, this article tracks and analyses Acherchour’s pursuit of a poetics that secretes fragments of the past (personal, historical, poetic) into opaque forms that draw from both Ibn al- ʿArabī and French letters and, further still, from writers such as Borges. El-Mahdi Acherchour, a Kabyle, was born in Sidi Aïch and has lived mainly in Holland since 2005.