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Authors: Pshevorska, Liana
Advisors: Rentzou, Effie
Contributors: French and Italian Department
Keywords: Andreï Makine
Brina Svit
Francophone literature
Vassilis Alexakis
Subjects: French literature
Comparative literature
Issue Date: 2020
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: This dissertation examines aesthetics of in-betweenness and identity in the works of contemporary authors who migrated to France from non-francophone regions and chose to adopt French for literary expression: Vassilis Alexakis (Greece), Brina Svit (Slovenia), and Andreï Makine (Russia). Common approaches to translingualism tend to focus on the material interaction between languages in the text (plurilingual practices) or on authors’ impressions of changing tongues. This dissertation contributes to scholarship by accounting for aesthetic forms of in-betweenness that have been overshadowed by the bilingual lens. Throughout its three case studies, it argues that the original tension between native and adopted languages is explored under new poetic guises that are not limited to the thematization of bilingualism and migration. This project is informed by the reception and marketization of translingual literature in France. Specifically, it examines how the authors respond to the nation-state’s conditional hospitality and engage with reception in their own texts. The first chapter argues that in Vassilis Alexakis' autobiographic "Paris-Athènes" (1989), the text’s polyphonic character resides in the narrator’s ability to act as the creator and critic of his own text, rather than in the interaction between Greek and French languages. The second chapter on Brina Svit’s novel "Coco Dias ou la Porte Dorée" (2007) demonstrates that, by structurally imitating Argentine tango in writing, the tension typically found between native and adopted languages is transformed into an intermedial dialogue between literature and dance. Rereading autobiographic "Moreno" in light of "Coco Dias" brings to the fore an intersubjective dimension of Svit’s translingualism as being beyond traditional communities and conventional affiliations. The third chapter argues that Andreï Makine’s "Le Testament français" and "Alternaissance" (2011) – the latter written under his heteronymic identity Gabriel Osmonde – share an aesthetic quest for a poetic language of in-betweenness, despite the absence of the habitual Franco-Russian paradigm in the second novel. My dissertation reveals a tendency to convert linguistic displacement into an aesthetic position of in-betweenness that – rather than being reconciled – is recreated to assert linguistic freedom and test the limits of language by acting on its perception. Collectively, these three case studies call attention to the malleability and instability of translingual postures that challenge the writers’ status as “assimilationist” figures in reception.
Alternate format: The Mudd Manuscript Library retains one bound copy of each dissertation. Search for these copies in the library's main catalog:
Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: en
Appears in Collections:French and Italian

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