Elsewhere in Paris: Creolised Geographies in Leïla Sebbar's La Seine était rouge

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As a 'traveling theory', Creolisation offers a compelling framework for reading the alternative historiographies of Francophone literature of migration, but the metropolitan geography of this migrant literature seems to suggest a tension with the theory's reversed spatial hierarchies. This essay will read Leïla Sebbar's La Seine était rouge (1999) as a novel of metropolitan Creolisation that juxtaposes immigrant narratives with the Algerian war for independence in a way that resolves the paradox of a decentralising centre. By illuminating the imperialist spatial models at work both vertically and horizontally in the French colonial imagination, I will argue, Sebbar's palimpsestic Parisian landscape demonstrates that to undo cultural uniformity is also to displace the boundary between centre and periphery.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14735780701293482

Publication date: April 1, 2007

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