Display and Disguise (Modern French Identities)

Display and Disguise (Modern French Identities)

Language: English

Pages: 227

ISBN: 3034301774

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


In a culture increasingly obsessed with the visual, self-image and extreme self-exposure, in which reality is constantly obscured and misrepresented through concealment and spin, the roles display and disguise play in literature, thought and visual culture are particularly prescient. This collection, developed from papers presented at a postgraduate conference in Oxford in September 2008, presents a coherent view of key developments in the notions of display and disguise in French culture and provides a thought-provoking contribution to contemporary criticism. The volume includes essays from both senior researchers and graduate students using close readings and theoretical approaches from the psychoanalytic to the postcolonial. These are arranged in four main sections, dealing with notions of performance, disclosure, illusion and concealment respectively. Drawing on new research in a wide range of periods, in fields including art, photography, theatre, travel writing and the novel, the authors consider the notions of display and disguise in relation to works by artists such as Molière, Flaubert, Proust, Dalí, Vinaver and Sophie Calle.
This volume contains ten contributions in English and one in French.

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occasion of a Parisian dinner party. The play’s intended ceremonial soirée, however, is destroyed by one simple mistake: the visiting couple, Inès and Hubert, arrive a night earlier than expected. Without time to prepare, the host couple’s planned evening of culinary decadence is overthrown as Sonia and Henri serve a meal of crisps and chocolate fingers. The attempts of  the astrophysicist Henri to impress his visiting boss fail miserably,10 particularly as the party is endlessly interrupted by

Jean Starobinski, L’Œil vivant: Corneille, Racine, La Bruyère, Rousseau, Stendhal (Paris : Gallimard, 1999 [1961]), p. 13. 98 Nathalie Ferrand – le roman gothique fin de siècle utilisera beaucoup cette technique. Mais Marillier n’a pas tranché entre les deux options, et il fait les deux choses à la fois : il plante un vaste décor (un paysage suisse, qui correspond au cadre général du roman) dans lequel il inscrit, sous la forme de médaillons accrochés au décor, une sélection de scènes

whom her essay is dedicated) – this need not impede the present line of enquiry if we consider postmodernism as an extension of modernism rather than 5 6 7 Susan Sontag, ‘Notes on “Camp”’ [1964], in Against Interpretation, and Other Essays (New York: Octagon Books, 1986), pp. 275–92 (p. 277). Sontag, ‘Notes on “Camp”’, p. 284. Clement Greenberg, ‘Avantgarde and Kitsch’, in Art and Culture: Critical Essays (Boston: Beacon Press, 1961), pp. 3­–12 (p. 10). 110 Klemens James its negation. As

the surrealists, Dalí was awarded ‘the Cross of  Isabella the Catholic’ by General Franco. However, committing oneself to a political cause was then in Dalí’s eyes only secondary to being decorated by a fine selection of medallions for extraordinary artistic merit. As Sontag states, the Camp is frequently decorative for it is ‘one way of seeing the world as an aesthetic phenomenon’.23 The controversy around Dalí did not end there, for he next provoked outrage through what appeared to be an open

behind her installation Ghosts at the Museum of Modern Art where she invited museum guards to provide descriptions of works of art in the collection. Those descriptions were then framed in the installation, allowing framed text to call to mind something absent. She further recalls this previous work, in a somewhat muted and minimal manner, in two framed images that appear within the installation Pas pu saisir la mort, both bearing at the centre of a pale blank image the single word souci [worry

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