By Siobhan McIlvanney
During this first serious learn in English to concentration solely on Annie Ernaux’s writing trajectory, Siobh?n McIlvanney offers a stimulating and not easy research of Ernaux’s person texts. Following a commonly feminist hermeneutic, this examine engages in a chain of provocative shut readings of Ernaux’s works in a stream to spotlight the contradictions and nuances in her writing, and to illustrate the highbrow intricacies of her literary venture. by way of so doing, it seeks to introduce new readers to Ernaux’s works, whereas attractive on much less universal terrain these already acquainted with her writing.
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Additional info for Annie Ernaux: The Return to Origins (Liverpool University Press - Modern French Writers)
58). This overriding focus on sexuality which permeates the text from the narrator’s earliest childhood to her young adulthood can be attributed to the abortion she is undergoing in the present, to the sexual origins of her current suffering. There is no sentimentalisation of abortion on the part of the narrator, but it is presented as a pragmatic, if temporarily unpleasant, solution to an unwanted pregnancy; in other words, it is not merely the subject matter of the work which may be disturbing for the reader, but, equally, the blunt manner of its reporting: ‘Je sais seulement que ça meurt petit à petit, ça s’éteint, ça se noie dans les poches gorgées de sang, d’humeurs filantes … Et que ça part.
Her perception of sexuality as a passport to the bourgeoisie, yet instinctive association of its more negative effects – of which her abortion is the nadir – with her working-class origins results in a hybrid linguistic representation of her suffering. Just as her relationships at university are imbued with a romanticism stemming from the middle-class environments in which they take place, her account of abortion further reveals her literary culture in her employment of poetic images, in the cumulative use of synonyms and in descriptions of a surreal Baudelairian nature: ‘Le soleil traverserait la peau, décomposerait les chairs et les cartilages, la bouillie filerait en douceur à travers le tuyau …’ (LAV, p.
62). If the younger narrator, who at first accepts differences between the world of school and her home life indiscriminately, is taught to view taste as a ‘natural’ indicator of distinction, to employ Bourdieuian terminology, her older counterpart, while capable of deconstructing the ideological indoctrination of her schooling, continues to be influenced by it: ‘Le goût. La sonde, le ventre, ça n’a pas tellement changé, toujours de mauvais goût. La Lesur remonte’ (LAV, p. 20 Only at the text’s conclusion does the narrator begin to question the value system she so much wishes to appropriate, a questioning also articulated in the text’s epigraph, foregrounding the circular structure of the work.
Annie Ernaux: The Return to Origins (Liverpool University Press - Modern French Writers) by Siobhan McIlvanney