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Renegotiating the Self: France and its Privileged Other

Renegotiating the Self: France and its Privileged Other

Abstract

It is commonly the case that in the French media the adjective ‘Anglo-Saxon’ refers to one vast category that includes both English and American, since they share a common language. Moreover, since the nineteenth century, the French passion for modernity has tended to resort to an American template much more than an English one. But in the process of ‘othering’ that is crucial to the definition of the Self, England is the enduring and indispensable partner, the privileged Other. With particular reference to the fictional English archetype created by Pierre Daninos in Les Carnets du Major Thompson , this article will examine the ways in which, whether negatively or positively, France has needed to engage with the otherness of England, with the unvarying and ultimate aim of renegotiating a more secure sense of self in the face of forces that appear to undermine it.
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