Volume 48, Issue 1
  • ISSN 0035-3906
  • E-ISSN: 1600-0811
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RETRACTION NOTICE. This article has been retracted. For more information, please read the Editorial in Revue Romane 50:1 (2015).

Sociologists and historians of genealogical filiations invoke modernity as the dissolution of traditional communities that formerly, albeit oft tacitly, bound descendants to ancestors. So as to invent oneself spontaneously and without restraint, the modern figure breaks with the strictures of the past, forging a path toward liberation. This newly-minted “emancipation” gives way to a sense of discomfortable culpability among contemporary “scribes.” In quest of remedy, they fashion a space, at once disturbing yet inviting to the ghosts and spectres of primogenitors, a space that both supports and distorts the words of heir(s). In such an optic, Sylvie Germain (1954) and Jean Rouaud (1952), Gérard Macé (1946), Pierre Michon (1945) and Pierre Bergounioux (1949) are powerfully haunted writers. As beneficiaries/successors, their gestures recall past lives and their words replicate their parents’ inflections and manner of verbal discourse. They are, as such, dispossessed of a familial past that represents little but ruin and grief, yet possessed by those absent beings who intrude obsessively on their consciousness and speech. They are heirs torn apart by a melancholy that extends to the grave of their “predecessors.” Contemporary literature vies with this spectral theme to analyze the ambivalence occasioned by such haunting refrains: artistic victims, orphans and parricidal vestiges of a family past, significantly impacted by the unconscious and linguistic upheavals that accompany such compelling loss.


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