Maps and Territories

Global Positioning in the Contemporary French Novel

Joshua Armstrong

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ISBN: 9781786942012

Publication: May 31, 2019

Series: Contemporary French and Francophone Cultures 61

The rapidity of postwar globalization and the structural changes it has brought to both social and spatial aspects of everyday life has meant, in France as elsewhere, the destabilizing of senses of place, identity, and belonging, as once familiar, local environments are increasingly de-localized and made porous to global trends and planetary preoccupations. Maps and Territories identifies such preoccupations as a fundamental underlying impetus for the contemporary French novel. Indeed, like France itself, the protagonists of its best fiction are constantly called upon to renegotiate their identity in order to maintain any sense of belonging within the troubled territories they call home. Maps and Territories reads today’s French novel for how it re-maps such territories, and for how it positions its protagonists vis-à-vis the pressures of globalization, uncovering previously unseen affinities amongst, and offering fresh readings of—and offering exciting new perspectives on—a diverse set of authors: namely, Michel Houellebecq, Chloé Delaume, Lydie Salvayre, Jean-Philippe Toussaint, Virginie Despentes, Philippe Vasset, Jean Rolin, and Marie Darrieussecq. In the process, it sets the literary works into dialogue with a range of today’s most influential theorists of postmodernity and globalization, including Paul Virilio, Marc Augé, Peter Sloterdijk, Bruno Latour, Fredric Jameson, Edward Casey, David Harvey, and Ursula K. Heise.

Joshua Armstrong is an Assistant Professor of French in the Department of French & Italian at the University of Wisconsin-Madison

I. Watching the World Go By
Chapter One: Absolute Clarity: Michel Houellebecq’s La carte et le territoire
Chapter Two: Dérive psychose géographique: Chloé Delaume’s J’habite dans la télévision
II. Getting Up to Speed
Chapter Three: Planetary Ambitions: Lydie Salvayre’s Portrait de l’écrivain en animal domestique
Chapter Four: Décalage Permanent: Jean-Philippe Toussaint’s Fuir
III. Falling Through the Cracks
Chapter Five: A Tale of Two Frances: Virginie Despentes’s Vernon Subutex Trilogy
Chapter Six: Deep Dérive: Philippe Vasset’s La conjuration
IV. Making Room
Chapter Seven: Asymmetrical Tactics: Jean Rolin’s Ormuz
Chapter Eight: Sense of Planet: Marie Darrieussecq’s Le pays
Works Cited

'This book importantly addresses questions that are at the very heart of contemporary debates about our relationship to space and places in a world where borders and distance are being redefined by the forces of globalization.'
Jean-Xavier Ridon, University of Nottingham

Format: Hardback

Size: 239 × 163 mm

240 Pages

2 B&W illustrations

ISBN: 9781786942012

Publication: May 31, 2019

Series: Contemporary French and Francophone Cultures 61

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