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Maps and TerritoriesGlobal Positioning in the Contemporary French Novel$
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Joshua Armstrong

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781786942012

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: January 2020

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781786942012.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM LIVERPOOL SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.liverpool.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Liverpool University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in LSO for personal use.date: 16 June 2021

Décalage Permanent

Décalage Permanent

Jean-Philippe Toussaint’s Fuir

Chapter:
(p.85) Chapter Four Décalage Permanent
Source:
Maps and Territories
Author(s):

Joshua Armstrong

Publisher:
Liverpool University Press
DOI:10.3828/liverpool/9781786942012.003.0005

This chapter turns to Jean-Philippe Toussaint’s Fuir [Running Away] (Prix Médicis, 2005), which takes place in the overcrowded and fever-pitched territories of industrial hubs of Shanghai and Beijing of the 2000s. There, even Toussaint’s perennially laconic narrator finds himself caught up in the frenzy and panic of the compressed space-time of impending catastrophe that prevails. Toussaint’s narrator, like a postmodern Angel of (the end of) History, following the example of his muse Marie, discovers in an epiphany that ‘adequation’ with a world cast into the accelerated flight of globalization is not harmonious like its cartographic or commercial representations, but, rather, chaotic, always already beyond itself; true adequation with such a world turns out to be, paradoxically, a permanent state of décalage. This chapter reads Fuir in light of Bruno Latour’s reading of Walter Benjamin’s concept of the Angel of History. Moreover, it demonstrates the importance and after-effects of Toussaint’s narrator’s epiphany in Fuir for the subsequent novels in the Marie Madeleine Marguerite de Montalte (MMMM) tetralogy.

Keywords:   Jean-Philippe Toussaint, Fuir / Running Away, La salle de bain / The Bathroom, Bruno Latour, Compositionist Manifesto, Walter Benjamin, The Louvre, Angel of History, David Harvey, China

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