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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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Conclusion: Beyond Return

Conclusion: Beyond Return

(p.244) Conclusion: Beyond Return
Beyond Return

Lucas Hollister

Liverpool University Press

This conclusion shows how the different positions staked out by the writers in Beyond Return trace a trajectory that leads from anti-modernist resumption or rehabilitation (a willful regression that positions itself as a post-critical progression) through ‘bathmological’ meta-discursive gestures (a critical repetition that changes the meaning of conventions and forms) and finally to spectral poetics which blur the very possibility of defining a clear discursive position or literary self-identity. I thus suggest that Jean Rouaud, Jean-Patrick Manchette, Jean Echenoz, and Antoine Volodine are authors that exemplify different approaches to the metaphor of return, ranging from narrow historical readings of literary aesthetics to more oppositional uses of form and radically decontextualized conceptions of literarity. Against the contextual reductionism of closed national histories of the contemporary, this study concludes by suggesting how different engagements with popular fictional forms allow us to imagine alternative literary historical narratives and new political readings of French literature.

Keywords:   Regression, Bathmology, Spectrality, Roland Barthes

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