Shirley Jordan
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Saying the unsayable
Identities in crisis in the early novels of Marie Darrieussecq

When Marie Darrieussecq's first novel Truismes exploded on to the French literary scene, it was clear that she was a young writer intent on taking the reader to disturbing places. Truismes launched the single-minded fascination with identity crises and altered states which would be confirmed by the subsequent novels, Naissance des fantômes and Le Mal de mer. Although in this first novel feminine identity is explored within an oppressive, patriarchal context, the following works constitute much more elliptical examinations of the self in crisis with no overtly political dimension and Darrieussecq's ambitions are less ideological than literary. This chapter focuses on three themes: monstrous bodies, missing others and fantastic landscapes. It suggests that the heroine's porcine transformations keep the struggle over the meanings of the female body firmly at the centre of the complex text.

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Women’s writing in contemporary France

New writers, new literatures in the 1990s

Editors: and


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