French Global: A New Approach to Literary History ed. by Christie McDonald and Susan Rubin Suleiman (review)


In the introduction to this impressive collection of essays by leading scholars in French Studies from several countries, Susan Suleiman and Christie McDonald inscribe their edited volume in the wake of two events that illustrate earlier developments in French and Francophone Studies. The first event, alluded to on page xii, was the publication of “Pour une littérature-monde en français” [Toward a “World Literature” in French] in Le Monde on March 15, 2007.1 The signatories, who included major figures in contemporary literature in French, from J.M.G Le Clézio and Edouard Glissant to Maryse Condé and Didier Daeninckx, famously proclaimed that the era of “the interdiction of the novel” was finally over in France and that Francophonie, a “virtual country,” was dead (3). Calling the text a “manifesto” is accurate in the sense that it declared the passing of a nefarious state of literary affairs and condemned the previous generation of intellectuals who were made responsible for it, while at the same time providing evidence of a new creative community ready to usher in a bright future for literary writing in the French language.

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