Shooting The Canon: Feminine Autobiographical Voices of the French-Speaking World
AuthorMosher, Sarah Elizabeth
Committee ChairLeibacher, Lise
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractIn the field of literary production, women's autobiographical writing has been one of the most powerful means of artistic expression. Life-writing is a genre of ambiguity and paradox intertwined with some of the most fundamental questions of literary studies. Within the domain of lettres françaises, new canons of female-authored literary works from France and the various regions of the non-Western French-speaking world have emerged during both the colonial and postcolonial periods. This body of published autobiographical texts has worked to re-define the very nature of twentieth and twenty-first century literary canons. In addition to the traditional autobiographical novel, other literary genres such as travel journals, diaries, poetry, confessions, memoirs, and autobiographical fiction provide authors with a wide array of literary alternatives to the classical autobiography. Focused on the autobiographical texts and films of five French-speaking women of the twentieth century, this study examines both canonical and marginal female authors from France, Northern Africa, and the Caribbean. In addition to dealing with issues such as personal freedom, language, social class, the desire to write, family, alterity, and space, this project seeks to analyze how five French-speaking women autobiographers of different generations and social and national origins established a literature of their own through a métissage of autobiographical forms. Since autobiography is a mode that historically has been defined by mostly white, Christian, European men of the upper social echelon, I propose to show the different ways in which the women of this study have in fact been “shooting the autobiographical canon” by taking over, taking aim at, or altering the established domain of male-authored life-narratives as in the case of Simone de Beauvoir, Elisabeth Lacoin and Maryse Condé, or in filming a new canon of autobiographical expression in the case of Assia Djebar’s and Yamina Benguigui’s documentaries.