Fall 2019

The Space In-Between: Writing Exile and Return in the Twentieth Century

Listed in: French, as FREN-352


Raphael Sigal (Section 01)


The twentieth century was a century of migrations. Many writers and poets experienced exile, whether displaced by the furious violence of history, forced out of their country by an unbearable political situation, or simply led by their literary ambition. For many, the host country becomes a problematic permanent residency; for others, it is only a passage before an often painful return to the native land. These various experiences intensely mark authors' relationship to writing: suspended between two countries, two languages, and two cultures, these poets and writers form challenging conceptions of space and time. In the midst of a violent century, the book becomes a refuge against savagery, or on the contrary a place to cry out one's rage; an intimate territory in a foreign world, a space of questioning and reflection. We will read texts by Aimé Césaire, Benjamin Fondane, Edmond Jabès, Georges Perec, Fatou Diome and Gaspard Njock, and watch films by Nurith Aviv, and Manthia Diawara. Theoretical texts will include essays by Walter Benjamin, Jacques Derrida, Gilles Deleuze, Edouard Glissant, and Edward Said, among others. Conducted in French.

Requisite: FREN 207, 208 or the equivalent. Fall semester: Professor Sigal.

FREN 352 - L/D

Section 01
Tu 11:30 AM - 12:50 PM JOCH 202
Th 11:30 AM - 12:50 PM JOCH 202

This is preliminary information about books for this course. Please contact your instructor or the Academic Coordinator for the department, before attempting to purchase these books.

ISBN Title Publisher Author(s) Comment Book Store Price
Cahier d'un retour au pays natal Présence Africaine Aimé Césaire Amherst Books TBD
Le mal des fantômes Verdier / poche Benjamin Fondane Amherst Books TBD
Ellis Island POL Georges Perec Amherst Books TBD
La preference nationale Présence Africaine Fatou Diome Amherst Books TBD
Un voyage sans retour Novueau Monde Editions Gaspard Njock Amherst Books TBD

These books are available locally at Amherst Books.


2024-25: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2016, Fall 2019