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Beyond ReturnGenre and Cultural Politics in Contemporary French Fiction$
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Lucas Hollister

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781786942180

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781786942180.001.0001

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Apocalypse and Post-History (Antoine Volodine)

Apocalypse and Post-History (Antoine Volodine)

(p.195) Chapter Four Apocalypse and Post-History (Antoine Volodine)
Beyond Return

Lucas Hollister

Liverpool University Press

This chapter examines the work of Antoine Volodine, which represents one of the most radical attempts to situate a literary project outside of any inscription in literary history, national or linguistic belonging, and authorial ownership. The chapter begins with a close reading of the historical, political, and aesthetic rhetoric of Volodine’s dystopian ‘romånce’ View of the Boneyard (1998). This analysis provides a precise textual reference to ground a broader reflection on the strategies of encryption and deployment of temporal paradoxes in Volodine’s invented aesthetic movement, ‘post-exoticism.’ The conclusion of this chapter argues that Volodine’s work represents less a post-formalist repoliticization of literature than an expression of radical intransitivity, a concept that has become synonymous with formalist excess, with that mid-century French theory that the ‘return to the story’ was supposed to supplant, but which I read as a direct challenge to reductive literary histories and cultural geographies. I thus argue that Volodine is a writer who uses the dreamscapes of dystopian political fiction to perform paradoxes and explore a radically open conception of literary voice and meaning.

Keywords:   Antoine Volodine, Post-exoticism, New Weird, Dystopian Fiction, Apocalypse, Maurice Blanchot

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