France Contemporary Literature

France Contemporary Literature

The taste for historical reconstructions is the basis of the works of M. Gallo (b. 1932), author of a biography of Napoleon (Napoléon), divided into four volumes published separately between 1997 and 1998. The Egyptologist Ch. Jacq (b.1947), graduated in archeology at the Sorbonne, is the author of interesting essays (L’Egypte des Grands Pharaons, 1981) and novels set in Ancient Egypt, including L’affaire Toutankhamon (1992), the 5 volumes of Ramsès (1993-96), Le Pharaon noir(1997) and Néfer le silencieux (2000). The erotic-sentimental vein counts among the main authors S. Filippini (b. 1950), who in Un Amour de Paul (2000) follows in the footsteps traced by Pasolini in Teorema, A. Jardin (b.1965), author of Autobiographie d’un amour (1999) in which sentimental triangles and marital crises are described, and E. Fontenaille (b.1960) who in his novels privileges the use of the Freudian imaginary. Among the most interesting authors are A. Boudard (1925-2000), M. Desbiolles (b.1959), who published the novel Anchise (1999), and C. Angot (b.1959), the latter perhaps the more provocative contemporary writer, as can be seen from L’inceste (1999), story of the author’s short homosexual relationship with a mature woman and her incestuous relationship with her father. The cynical and pessimist M. Houellbecq (b.1958) is undoubtedly one of the most innovative writers of the late nineties, even if his novels aroused heated controversy due to the erotic component, often morbid (Le sens du combat, 1996; Interventions, 1998).

Since the mid-eighties there has been the revival of the polar, or the detective genre, to which many writers have used as a springboard. This original development of the genre, inaugurated by J.-P. Manchette (1942-95) had notable representatives in J. Vautrin (b.1933) and FH Fajardie (b.1947). The fiction is linked here to the real setting (the poor suburbs, the large metropolises asphyxiated by traffic) and often draws inspiration from the news, all described with a look full of humanity towards the characters. We still remember JC Izzo (1945-2000), who published a trilogy whose protagonist is the detective Fabio Montale (Total Khéops, 1995; Chourmo, 1996; Solea, 2000), and Léo Malet. An original synthesis was represented by D. Pennac (b.1944) and his quadrilogy centered on the character of Benjamin Malaussène (from Au Bonheur des ogres to Monsieur Malaussène) which met with worldwide success, thus bringing back a forgotten district of Paris (Belleville) and the taste for a story full of humor in a colorful language. Other examples can be found in D. Daeninckx (b.1949), T. Benacquista (La comedia des ratés, 1991), S. Quadruppani (b.1952Rue de la cloche, 1992), D’Ormesson (b.1925) and Ph. Sollers (b. 1936) and D. Picouly (b. 1948), author of the historical novel L’enfant leopard (1999). P. Labro (b. 1936) distinguished himself as a crime film director in the seventies and eighties and later as a novelist. In his works, mainly in the autobiography Quinze anz, un début à Paris (1994) and in Manuella (1999), the difficult transition from childhood to adolescence is narrated, with considerable attention to the often painful psychological implications that this phase entails. Beyond the noir genre, the following deserve mention: J. Echenoz (b. 1947), winner of the 1999 Goncourt prize with the novel Je m’en vais (1999); N. Avril (b. 1939); A. Ernaux (b. 1940), who made his debut in the seventies but found success with the trilogy La place (1982), Une femme (1988) and Passion simple (1992); Ch. Clerc (b. 1942); JM Laclavetine (b.1954), author of the novel Première ligne(1999) set in the publishing world. It should also be noted the success that, since 1994, the works of M. Houellebecq (b. 1958) have enjoyed internationally. Metropolitan reality in all its facets is investigated by JM Gourio in the twelve volumes of Nouvelles bréves de comptoir (1987-2000), stories inspired by real conversations heard by the author in Parisian bars and bistros, written in a colloquial, unadorned language. and devoid of affectation, the same used by P. Djian (b. 1949) in Vers chez les blancs (2000). Autobiographical research is the line that unites the work of J. Roubaud (b.1932), with Le grand incendie de Londres (1989) and La boucle (1993), and H. Guibert (1955-92), who also renounces the subtitle of the definition of “novel”: in the works À l’ami qui ne m’a pas sauvé la vie (1990) and L’homme au chapeau rouge (1992) of the novel the interpretation keys remained, but not the narrative ones; the effect is that of a terrifying and often cruel truth, like reality. By French adoption I am M. Benabou (b.1939), born in Morocco to parents of Jewish origin, A. Maalouf (b.1949), whose historical novels convey a deep sense of tolerance and respect for every culture and tradition., and T. Ben Jelloun (b.1944), which, in addition to describing the loneliness and marginalization of North Africans in France, tackles the problem of racism, establishing connections with the end of the colonial empires.

The problems of immigrants and the difficult living conditions in the suburbs of large cities are also investigated by the sociologist A. Villechaise-Dupont (b. 1971) in the long essay Les gens des grands ensembles (2000). As far as poetry is concerned, new trends emerged that ignored the consecrated masters of the avant-garde such as R. Char (1907-88), P. Emmanuel (1916-84) and Y. Bonnefois (b.1923): to the surviving scholars of the vein lyric thus joined the large group of researchers gathered around the aforementioned magazine Tel Quel and to Change, dedicated to exercises of exasperated expressive tension. Of the next generation, the critic and poet JM Maulpoix (b. 1952) stressed that there is no dominant ideology, program or expressive model in poetry. Poets wish to experience the infinite possibilities offered by the word: their verses refuse to bend to any type of metric scheme, often merging into prose – as happens in the compositions of G. Macé (n.1946) – or abandoning themselves to typical musical suggestions. of the works of M. Messagier (b. 1949). Contempt for sentimentality and the search for beauty in everyday objects are the dominant characteristics of the poetry of F. De Cornière (b. 1950), G. Noiret (b. 1948) and JL Giovannoni (b. 1950). A cold, objective description, almost scientific reality characterized certain French poetry; the best proofs have been given by the aforementioned J. Roubaud, with Quelque chose noir (1986), a work marked by a strong and constant presence of death, the echoes of which are also found in Proses du fils (1993) by Y. Charnet (b.1962): in some tragic situations, poetry becomes the only way to get to a story of oneself. Finally we remember C. Prigent (b. 1945), founder of the literary magazine TXT together with JL Steinmetz (b. 1940); Prigent argues the importance of the poet’s total dedication to his art and the need for renewal through writing. As for the second half of the twentieth century and the beginning of the twenty-first one remember M. Duras, A.Blondin, J. d’Ormesson, the Nobel laureate C. Simon, M. Tournier, P. Quignard and D. Pennac, author of extraordinary commercial success.

France Contemporary Literature

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