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The American Wilderness: an Ambivalent Image of Self-regeneration and Psychological Disintegration. From Dead Man (1995) to Into the Wild (2007). par Martin Berny, publié le 03/06/2021
This presentation deals with the wilderness motif in contemporary American literature and American cinema. Going back to the origins of this ambivalent image, it aims at explaining the underlying ideology that actively contributes to the endless process of mythogenesis of the American nation. On the individual level, it is through a journey of self-reinvention or reconstruction of the self that the wilderness appears as either a path to a metaphorical rebirth or as a dangerous place where one has to face the perils of psychological disintegration. Focusing on historical notions and topics such as Turner’s Frontier thesis, the Transcendentalist movement, or the representation of Native Americans in popular culture, this article deals with the limits of the American dream of self-transcendence. It explores works such as Jim Jarmusch’s Dead Man (1995) and both Jon Krakauer’s non-fiction bestseller Into the Wild (1996) and its film adaptation directed by Sean Penn (2007).
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Rencontre avec Thomas Chatterton Williams autour de son livre Self-Portrait in Black and White: Unlearning Race (2019) par Thomas Chatterton Wiliams, publié le 30/12/2020
Des élèves de première et terminale du lycée Blaise Pascal à Charbonnières-les-Bains ont rencontré l'auteur Thomas Chatterton Williams dans le cadre du Littérature Live Festival de la Villa Gillet. Des groupes qui suivent l'enseignement de spécialité LLCER anglais et LLCER anglais monde contemporain, ainsi que des groupes de la section européenne anglais, ont pu échanger avec l'auteur autour de son livre Self-Portrait in Black and White: Unlearning Race, paru en 2019.
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Mobility and Immobility in Colm Tóibín’s Brooklyn: Migration as a Static Initiatory Journey par Coline Pavia, publié le 01/07/2020
Colm Tóibín’s Brooklyn centres on Eilis Lacey’s migration from Ireland to Brooklyn. The protagonist’s spatial mobility is accompanied by an identity change, as her self evolves when she settles in New York. Although she embarks on an initiatory journey through migration, Eilis faces various forms of immobility: the American territory resembles Ireland, and she is confronted to family duty when she thought she would escape it. This article therefore shows that the protagonist’s migration in Brooklyn is paradoxically mainly static, in terms of both space and identity. However, Eilis’s mobility still fosters a form of inner transformation as she is faced with a division between her Irish and American homes and between two selves that are irreconcilable.
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Imitation of Life / Mirage de la vie (Douglas Sirk - 1959) par Lionel Gerin, publié le 07/10/2016
Le film raconte l'ascension et le succès de Lora (Lana Turner) qui, partie de rien, sacrifie sa vie amoureuse pour sa carrière d'actrice. Elle est aidée par Annie, une femme noire qu'elle héberge, et qui est tout à la fois femme de ménage, nounou, secrétaire, dame de compagnie. Toutes deux sont veuves et ont une fille. Il s'agit donc, entre autres, d'une histoire de réussite, mais c'est d'une self-made woman dont il est véritablement question ici, d'une incarnation féminine du rêve américain et des problèmes spécifiques que cela pose. Le film joue sur des couples: mère/fille, noire/blanche, riche/pauvre.
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David Samuels: My Troubles, and Yours par David Samuels, publié le 01/09/2015
David Samuels nous propose dans ce texte inédit, écrit à l’occasion des Assises Internationales du Roman 2015, une réflexion saisissante sur le principe d’ « auto-imagination » en dressant un parallèle entre l’autofiction et la montée des extrémismes politiques et religieux.
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Cinematic (Manu Joseph) par Manu Joseph, publié le 29/06/2015
As a lonely young man largely forgotten by the world and invisible to the most gorgeous women whom you adore, should you not be writing melancholy poetry or the vain prose of deep self-regard. Instead you are drawn to cinema, you derive so much from movies, and it appears that you have been infected by the unsung altruism of commercial cinema, its duty to entertain. Is it because you think you know how to entertain? Is that your conceit? Or is it humility that pushes you to entertain? Is it not true that you find the need to have a deal with your audience – ‘I have something to say and I am afraid you may not be interested, but I seek the right to say it by giving you something in return’. Isn’t that the humility of cinema?
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Writing on the self par ENS Lyon La Clé des Langues, publié le 14/11/2014
Critics and academics tend to draw a line between autobiography and fiction. However, it is sometimes difficult to make such a clear distinction between what is made up and what is not. Here are some short texts written by authors who reflect on their use of the first person.
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Self-portraits par ENS Lyon La Clé des Langues, publié le 13/11/2014
A self-portrait is a drawn, engraved, painted, photographed or sculpted representation of an artist by himself. Self-portraits have been a common art form since the Renaissance, a period when artists had a prominent part in society and when a distinct interest in the individual as a subject arose.
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Living, Thinking, Looking - A conversation with Siri Hustvedt par Siri Hustvedt, Clifford Armion, publié le 26/08/2014
Siri Hustvedt took part in the eighth edition of the Assises Internationales du Roman, organised by the Villa Gillet and Le Monde. She answered our questions on her collection of essays, Living, Thinking, Looking.
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Rebelling as a female in the 18th and 19th century literature. From Pamela to Jane Eyre: a path to equality? par Marion Lopez-Burette, publié le 23/09/2013
This article intends to study and compare the way Pamela, Richardson's early heroine of the novel genre, and Charlotte Brontë's romantic Jane, rebel. What follows will underscore the path trodden by female fictional characters in terms of shaping the individual, from the Enlightenment period to the romantic era. The patterns of entrapment and self-willed seclusion the protagonists are involved in function as incentives for rebellion. The ideals they rebel for play the role of living forces in a way that is meaningful to comprehend how the essence of rebellion evolved with time. No matter how much the protagonists' respective procedure may differ, from moral conservatism to personal answering of moral questions through rites of passage, the two female heroines are equally conscious of their value as human beings. Their handling of their hardships and their allegiance to God, however, points to the qualitative and quantitative evolution of the notion of equality.
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The Essential David Shrigley par Johanna Felter, publié le 21/05/2013
"David Shrigley is a multidisciplinary artist who started his career in the early nineties self-publishing art books containing cartoon-like drawings for which he is mainly famous. Their trademarks, which are also recognizable in his varied artistic productions – clumsy execution, sloppy handwriting, disturbing or puzzling text, dark humour and uncanny atmosphere – helped Shrigley to gradually shape a clearly distinctive personality in his work which brought him out as one of the current key figures of British contemporary art scene."
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The Political Future of Religion and Secularism par Craig Calhoun, publié le 08/02/2013
Secularism has long been seen as a solution to problems of religion. Yet today, secularism (laïcité) itself is a political problem alongside religion. In some versions, secularism has become an obstacle to political and social projects potentially shared among members of different religions and the non-religious. It has been politicized in relation to migration, insurgency, and religious renewal. As ideology, it is sometimes the basis for new forms of intolerance. Both secularism and religion are sometimes made the bases for prescriptive demands on others as well as self-understandings. A central issue is the transformation of secularism and laïcité – in some versions – from formulations focused on freedom to ideologies mobilized to impose cultural values. Yet this need not be so. The problems are not with religion and secularism as such, but with how “fundamentalist” versions of each are deployed.
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Some Thoughts on Identity par Claude Arnaud, publié le 18/01/2013
It is the topic par excellence, the enigma that is impossible to solve. This puppet that we call somewhat pompously “The Self,” what is it in the end? An actor who resigns himself, around the age of thirty, to play only one role, or a born clown who struggles to understand himself, having changed so often?
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Video game theory par Liel Leibovtiz, Claire Richard, publié le 05/12/2012
TV requires you to interpret, to find meaning, to reject meaning, to make up new meaning, to negociate. Video games aren’t like that. Video games require you to do something else. You turn on a video game, and immediately you exist in three separate forms : you are that self on the couch, sitting in the physical space, watching the TV, holding the remote in your hand, you are the avatar on the screen, the character which you control and manipulate, and you’re a sort of third entity, an amalgamation of the two of you, of real and unreal, person and avatar, of gamer and character.
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The Neurosciences and Literature: an “exquisite corpse” or a “meeting of the minds”? par Lionel Naccache, publié le 16/02/2012
In the context of the Walls and Bridges project in New York, a meeting has been organized for October between an American novelist - Siri Hustvedt - and a French neuroscientist on the topic of "fiction," both mental and literary. This will obviously be the time to ask ourselves: can we imagine a promising future for meetings between the neurosciences of cognition and the world of literary creation? Is this merely the random juxtaposition of two terms to which we are attached, or the genuine dialectical culmination of self-consciousness? An amusing, trendy quid pro quo, or a key moment in our knowledge of ourselves as tale tellers?
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Narration in the Human Mind par Siri Hustvedt, publié le 16/02/2012
"Human beings are forever explaining themselves to themselves. This is the nature of our self-consciousness. We are not only awake and aware of the world around us, but are able to reflect on ourselves as actors in that world. We reason and we tell stories. Unlike our mammalian relatives who do not narrate their own lives, we become characters in our own tales, both when we recollect ourselves in the past and imagine ourselves in the future. Our ability to represent our experience in language - in those sounds and signs of our essential intersubjectivity - allows us the necessary symbolic alienation required for mental time travel..."
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Three Words for Dmitri Dmitriyevich Shostakovich par Wendy Lesser, publié le 14/02/2012
As an element in Shostakovich's music, the shame is perhaps not as audible as the dread, but it is everpresent nonetheless. One cannot point to a precise place in the music where you can hear it, but it underlies and supports most of the other painful emotions, and if it were removed from the mix, you would certainly notice the difference. The shame is apparent in the harshness with which Shostakovich treats himself and his own feelings; it saves the saddest quartets (like the Eighth) from self-pity, and it saves the more cheerful ones (like the Sixth) from any tincture of smugness or self-assurance...
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“The shadow of the fifth”: patterns of exclusion in Doris Lessing’s The Fifth Child par Anne-Laure Brevet, publié le 06/12/2011
This study of The Fifth Child (1988) attempts to show that the eponymous character, a traumatic semi-human creature who neither assimilates into his ordinary family nor conforms to the demands of society impersonates a drive for disorder, chaos and violence undermining collective ideals. On the one hand, the fact that the alien child is not only excluded from family life but also from any type of “normal” human interaction, especially in Ben, in the World (2000), reveals hidden discordant notes that further lead to the disruption of his model family. On the other hand, as the symbol of a dark, destructive force fighting against enlightenment and progress, Ben’s inherently disruptive figure is a reminder of the two World Wars and the impersonation of social unrest. Through the various patterns of exclusion triggered off by his subversive presence, the fifth child reveals that the primitive dimension of the self and of humanity at large should be understood as part and parcel of human nature.
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Rêves d’horizon dans Julius Caesar par Laurence Crohem, publié le 10/11/2011
Dans la pièce, l'assassinat de Caesar semble être non seulement l'indice d'un trouble politique, mais aussi d'une temporalité problématique. L'assassinat paraît toujours être un horizon qui se dérobe, un événement qui n'a jamais lieu au présent, et semble offrir un changement de paradigme éphémère, chaque Romain, Brutus comme tous les autres, devenant un temps souverain potentiel et interchangeable. Se dessine alors l'idée d'une crise du self solidaire du trouble politique et temporel : hanté par d'autres, Brutus semble développer une étrange modalité du self. Quel horizon du soi l'assassinat de Caesar dessine-t-il ?
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An interview with Akeel Bilgrami on environmental ethics par Akeel Bilgrami, Clifford Armion, publié le 14/01/2011
Akeel Bilgrami, directeur du Heyman Center for the Humanities (Columbia), est une figure centrale de la philosophie contemporaine du langage et de l'esprit. Ses ouvrages, Belief and Meaning (Blackwell, 1992) et Self-Knowledge and Resentment, ont connu un grand succès aux États-Unis. Portés par une démarche philosophique originale et singulière, ils proposent un nouveau cadre de pensée. Après s'être intéressé aux questions de la connaissance de soi et l'intentionnalité, il bouscule les manières de penser la nature et les relations que l'homme entretient avec elle.
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Akeel Bilgrami - Politics, Nature, and Enchantment par Akeel Bilgrami, publié le 14/01/2011
Akeel Bilgrami, directeur du Heyman Center for the Humanities (Columbia), est une figure centrale de la philosophie contemporaine du langage et de l'esprit. Ses ouvrages, Belief and Meaning (Blackwell, 1992) et Self-Knowledge and Resentment, ont connu un grand succès aux États-Unis. Portés par une démarche philosophique originale et singulière, ils proposent un nouveau cadre de pensée. Après s'être intéressé aux questions de la connaissance de soi et l'intentionnalité, Akeel Bilgrami bouscule les manières de penser la nature et les relations que l'homme entretient avec elle.
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The Language of Gesture: Melville's Imaging of Blackness and the Modernity of Billy Budd par Klaus Benesch , publié le 04/01/2010
In light of recent studies of both the life of black seamen and of the role of blacks in the Enlightenment, the paper discusses the representation of African sailors in the work of Herman Melville, in particular in his unfinished manuscript Billy Budd, Sailor. As I argue, Melville's imaging of a "noble" black sailor in the opening chapter is crucial to the author's ongoing attempt to untangle the complex relationship of race and modernity. By invoking a non-totalitarian, gestural/visual aesthetics of blackness Melville not only reinforces his earlier critique of modernity's foundation in slavery; he also revivifies and, simultaneously, trans-forms the eighteenth-century tradition of visualizing blacks as tragic witnesses to the para-doxes of the enlightenment. In so doing, Melville couches his argument against racism in a 'gestural' (black) critique of white judgments on blacks that may well be read to foreshadow later, more radical gestures of black pride from zoot-suiters to the raised fists of black pan-thers or the corporeal self-fashioning of the gangster rapper.
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All the World’s a Folly : Theatricality and Intertextuality in Paul Auster’s The Brooklyn Follies par Brigitte Friant-Kessler, publié le 11/12/2009
There is a manner in which Auster's revisiting classic sources is not merely a simple lift or a citation from the work when he playfully offers a postmodern context to old texts, especially with major literary figures in the wings. As J. Dupont argues in his introductory note to The Brooklyn Follies : "It would however be an exhaustingly vain task to try and undertake a census of the literary intertexts that run beneath the surface of Auster's work". Such an attempt is all the more so destined to be a failure as there are, beside the clearly stated references, less obvious, possibly unavowed though not any the less significant, undercurrents of intertextuality to be traced in Auster's Brooklyn Follies. Were there only one idiosyncratic trait to be highlighted in Auster's style, it would obviously be his taste for patch-working...
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Fiche de lecture : Liver, Will Self par Jocelyn Dupont, publié le 24/09/2009
A review of Will Self's collection of novellas, Liver.
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Interview with Will Self par Will Self , Beth Harper , David Belaga , publié le 23/06/2009
On 29th May 2009, the London-based writer Will Self came to Lyon to take part in the Villa Gillet's "Assises Internationales du Roman". He was to give a talk on his perspectives on the works of the influential French writer, Louis Ferdinand Céline, but before he did so I managed to catch up with him to ask a few questions about his interests, influences and views on modern fiction.
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Fiche de lecture : The Body, Hanif Kureishi par Laura Menard, publié le 03/05/2008
The narrator of Hanif Kureishi’s novella is a British playwright in his mid-sixties called Adam who experiences the difficulty of living as an aging man. His struggle to maintain his self-esteem and joie de vivre prompts him to give a very cynical account of the old people’s situation in a society ruled by beauty, youth and desire. Adam’s gloomy life takes a favorable turn – or so he thinks … - when he meets Ralph, a handsome and young admirer of his, who secretly informs him he can look just as healthy and fit as he: he may be operated on to have his mind transferred from his old, decaying body to a New Body.
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