Annie Ernaux's Shameful Narration

Annie Ernaux's Shameful Narration Jennifer Willging In La Honte (1997), Annie Ernaux describes a painful childhood experience to which she makes no explicit reference in previous accounts of ´ her youth.1 In that ``ecriture plate''2 which has been her signature style ` ` since 1984, she writes: ``Mon pere a voulu tuer ma mere un dimanche ´ ` de juin, au debut de l'apres-midi'' (13). It quickly becomes evident that this ``scene,'' which Ernaux attempts to narrate in the first part of La Honte and to understand throughout the rest of it, left a deep impression on her. My project here is to explore this revelatory text, along with interviews with the writer, in order to understand why this scene was not included in the previous texts that meticulously narrate and re-narrate precisely the time period in which it took place. The most obvious answer is that Ernaux was ashamed of what happened that June day in 1952, as the title of her book suggests. Yet she is not a writer who shies away from personal revelation, having described elsewhere in her autobiographical work an illegal abortion (Les Armoires vides [1977]) and an obsessive passion for a married man (Passion simple [1991]). http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png French Forum University of Nebraska Press

Annie Ernaux's Shameful Narration

French Forum, Volume 26 (1) – Jan 1, 2001

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Publisher
University of Nebraska Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2001 by French Forum, Inc.
ISSN
1534-1836
Publisher site
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Abstract

Jennifer Willging In La Honte (1997), Annie Ernaux describes a painful childhood experience to which she makes no explicit reference in previous accounts of ´ her youth.1 In that ``ecriture plate''2 which has been her signature style ` ` since 1984, she writes: ``Mon pere a voulu tuer ma mere un dimanche ´ ` de juin, au debut de l'apres-midi'' (13). It quickly becomes evident that this ``scene,'' which Ernaux attempts to narrate in the first part of La Honte and to understand throughout the rest of it, left a deep impression on her. My project here is to explore this revelatory text, along with interviews with the writer, in order to understand why this scene was not included in the previous texts that meticulously narrate and re-narrate precisely the time period in which it took place. The most obvious answer is that Ernaux was ashamed of what happened that June day in 1952, as the title of her book suggests. Yet she is not a writer who shies away from personal revelation, having described elsewhere in her autobiographical work an illegal abortion (Les Armoires vides [1977]) and an obsessive passion for a married man (Passion simple [1991]).

Journal

French ForumUniversity of Nebraska Press

Published: Jan 1, 2001

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