By Welch, Edward; Barnet, Marie-Claire
'Famille, je vous ai (encore et toujours a l'esprit?), je vous aime un peu, beaucoup, ou je vous hais enormement?' What are households like in modern France? And what starts off to emerge once we examine them from the viewpoint of modern theoretical views: (faulty) team spirit, (fake) coherence, (carefully deliberate or subversive) deconstruction, loss (of love, self belief or credibility), or, even (utter) chaos and (alarming) confusion? Which media revamp outdated stereotypes, generate substitute reinterpretations, and indicate extra ambiguous solutions? What photos, scenes or frames stand out in modern representations of the kinfolk? Uneasy contradictions and ambiguities emerge during this bilingual number of ways and style reviews. The relations plot turns out to thicken as relations ties seem to loosen. Has 'the relatives' been misplaced from sight, or is it being reinvented in our collective imaginary? This booklet proposes a brand new sequence of views and questions about an outdated and 'familiar' subject, exploring the nation and standing of the relatives in modern literature, tradition, serious and psychoanalytic conception and sociology
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Extra info for Affaires de famille : the family in contemporary French culture and theory
Their diegetic impetus is therefore achieved through reduplicated patterns of thwarted aspiration, evoking then eroding the familial dream at all levels in the narrative, from its overall thrust to its smallest detail. The stuff of family pours out in an incessant torrent, confronting us with the trop plein of a textual fabric which evokes belonging and proximity, then bitterly reiterates exclusion and estrangement at every turn. One of Ndiaye’s particularly distinctive features is her clear indebtedness to the mechanisms of fairy tale.
There is also much irony in the fact that Fanny’s cult of ‘la famille’, and her naïve belief that an obstacle to her participating in family life has been removed by her ‘whitening’, occurs at a point where the breakdown of rural communities, marked by the arrival of vast hypermarkets and the dominance of television (both treated brilliantly in En famille), have attenuated the manifest signs of family life to a minimum. This has not however entirely abolished – indeed it has made more devious and invisible – the atavistic and primarily defensive bonds that still hold the family together.
The aïeule reproaches Fanny for resorting to any ‘bassesse’, any ‘mutilation’, in order to be accepted, but she lets the cat out of the bag when she says that what Fanny fails to recognise is that the villagers would do anything to reject her, so strong, so hearltfelt, is their ‘exécration de toute forme d‘étrangeté’ (EF 293). Giving up the attempt to get the hang of all this, Fanny chooses a more total abjection and otherness. Reverting to her original name (which the elegant French prose still denies to the reader), she appears to become a village prostitute.
Affaires de famille : the family in contemporary French culture and theory by Welch, Edward; Barnet, Marie-Claire