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Rewriting the Canon in Women’s Literature in English II

FAAAM is part of the CREA (EA 370)

Annual Theme: "Revisions"

Organized by: Claire Bazin (British Literature) and Marie-Claude Perrin-Chenour


FAAAM (CREA, EA 370) is organizing its annual colloquium in June 6 and
7, 2008, on the topic chosen last year: Rewriting the Canon in Women’s
Literature in English

Guest speaker: Cristina Bacchilega , author of several books, notably Postmodern Fairy Tales. Gender and Narrative Strategies (1997), discussed by Anne Chassagnol during our October seminar

Call for papers

In her now famous article, "When We Dead Awaken: Writing as Re-Vision",
Adrienne Rich wrote in 1971: "Re-vision - the act of looking back, of
seeing with fresh eyes, of entering an old text from a new critical
direction - is for women more than a chapter in cultural history: it is
an act of survival". In this same pamphlet, she envisaged the rewriting
of the Literature Canon as a necessary rupture from the past ("we need
to know the writing of the past, and know it differently than we have
ever known it; not to pass on a tradition but to break its hold over us.")

Rich was referencing a long tradition of masculin texts she had herself
worked to "re-view" in her poems by using the famous works of Yeats,
Wordsworth or William Blake for example, as critical metatextual
commentaries. For her, "re-viewing" did not simply consist in a
"transposition" or a "textual permutation" (to use the formulations of
Julia Kristeva’s attempt to define intertextuality in La Révolution du
langage poétique or in Séméiotikè). It was not either a purely
recreational, postmodern endeavour. With the same ambition for stylistic
creativity, Rich saw rewriting first and foremost as a political act.

Since the 1970s, other women writers have undertaken this re-reading,
re-interpretation and re-writing of canonic texts, whether in
Great-Britain (Angela Carter) or in the United States, where minority
authors play with the double literary tradition (male and western) to
counter it with their own double discourse (female and ethnic), for
aesthetic and political purposes. Rewriting of the "master’s discourse"
echoes the African American art of "Signifying".

Presenters will attempt, through detailed text analyses, to apprehend
the various forms of rewriting, the specific relation between the
hypertext and the hypotext, and the levels at which they operate. One
question of interest is whether, like for Rich, rewriting necessarily
implies a break from the old order or if, in certain cases, there is a
form of continuity.

Abstracts should be sent by April 30 to Claire Bazin
(British and Post-Colonial literatures) or to Marie-Claude
Perrin-Chenour
(American literature).





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