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‘L’écriture qui saigne’: Exile and wounding in the narratives of Nina Bouraoui and Linda Lê

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This article offers a critical analysis of the articulation of wounds in two recent exile narratives: Nina Bouraoui’s Mes mauvaises pensées (2005) and Linda Lê’s In Memoriam (2007). Arguing for a new understanding of exile as a form of repetition compulsion, in which trauma is repeatedly revisited and restaged in writing, the article investigates the frequent references to different kinds of wounds, both literal and imagined, physical and psychical, which emerge from these experimental texts. The analysis focuses on two specific aspects: first, drawing on the theoretical work of Kathryn Robson and Cathy Caruth, which highlights the difficulty of articulating traumatic experience (and the wounds which result), it considers why these exile narratives so frequently resort to the use of such violent, bodily imagery; second, it investigates the notion of scriptotherapy in order to evaluate the very different accounts of the relationship between writing and the wounds of exile which emerge from these texts.

Keywords: compulsion; exile; repetition; scriptotherapy; trauma; wounds

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: University of London

Publication date: 2012-12-10

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  • The International Journal of Francophone Studies offers a critical preview for a new development in the understanding of 'France outside France', with a thorough insight into the network of disciplinary issues affiliated with this study. The journal complements the thriving area of scholarly interest in the French-speaking regions of the world, bringing a location of linguistic, cultural, historical and social dynamics within a single academic arena.
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