Amélie Nothomb: authorship, identity, and narrative practice by Susan Bainbrigge, Jeanette Den Toonder

By Susan Bainbrigge, Jeanette Den Toonder

Because the booklet of her first novel in 1992, Am?lie Nothomb maintains to interact and to impress her readers via her exploration of the fluid barriers among good looks and monstrosity, stable and evil, delusion and fact, in addition to through her attention-grabbing presentation of early life, anorexia, and the abject. In Am?lie Nothomb: Authorship, identification and Narrative perform, the 1st full-length learn in English of Nothomb’s paintings, those parts are offered and interpreted from quite a few views, with the participants targeting a unmarried novel or evaluating various texts. constituted of a set of essays on her autobiographical and fictional works, with contributions from her anglophone translators, it is usually an interview with the writer, a preface by way of the eminent author and critic, Jacques de Decker and a bibliography of secondary works. Nothomb’s works and the severe responses to them are contextualized in a common advent and arranged less than the subsequent key issues: autobiography and gender id, representations of the physique, and narrative perform. This assortment is a vital source for college kids and students of twentieth-century modern literature and gender reports.

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Extra resources for Amélie Nothomb: authorship, identity, and narrative practice

Sample text

Feminist theory tends to divide into the camps of essentialism (assigning inherent feminine traits to women) and constructivism (considering women as constructed entities, in the manner of Simone de Beauvoir that ‘one is not born a woman, but becomes one’), although they are united in one respect: the problem of gender. The works of Amélie Nothomb deconstruct the notion of the feminine by utilizing both essentialist and constructivist discourses. The author insists that she is a humanitarian, not a feminist, in an effort perhaps to avoid this dichotomy,6 and to deconstruct the social construct of gender.

They apply collectively to humankind, but do not disclose much about specific individuals. Now we can see the point of using the conventions of the ‘conte’. On the side of the modern-day reader, the self in fabula makes for satisfactory reading because of its appeal to universality,40 and 20 hélène jaccomard because an autobiographical ‘conte philosophique’ is a first in literary history in France, I believe, and an outstanding accomplishment. For the writer too, it serves a purpose: not to reveal publicly Amélie Nothomb’s personality of the flesh-andblood person, one of the classical expectations of the genre of autobiography, but to add to the disguise by dressing herself in fantasy clothing.

A girl struggling through the changes of puberty, her sexuality, her desire, is threatening. 24 It is as if the world around her keeps her from developing into adulthood, despite the changes taking place in her body. Like Ophelia, Amélie embraces suicide: ‘délicieusement sereine, j’observe le ciel à travers la surface de l’étang’ (MT 150). She repeats several times, as she is waiting for death: ‘je me sens très bien’ (MT 160). This scene recalls Ophelia’s drowning in Shakespeare’s Hamlet recounted by her surrogate mother (in-law): 32 désirée pries Queen [.

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