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World writing in French and the dimension of dialogue: the right to choose and the choice to write

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Littrature-monde in French cannot be divorced from world writing in other languages, nor can the choices made by writers in different languages be divided from each other: the right to choose and the choice to write in one or more languages have more in common than first meets the eye. This essay sets out to explore the commonality within a diverse group: non-French natives who write in French, native English speakers who write in a language other than English and writers both in French and English whose writing in those languages is influenced by their own ethnic origins. The examples include several writers: Canadian and Qubcois (Jacques Godbout, Nancy Huston, Larissa Lai), Belgian (Grgoire Polet), Chinese-French (Franois Cheng) and Canadian-Irish (Pdraig Siadhail). The distinction between vrai-faux (an object recognized at some levels as not authentic) and faux-vrai (counterfeit) dilemma also confronts writers who cross linguistic and cultural barriers, leading to the question of what constitutes profound identity as opposed to legal identity in such cases.
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Keywords: authentic identity; ethnicity; language choice; multicultural identity; transcultural writing; world writing

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: National University of Ireland.

Publication date: December 1, 2009

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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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