Cross-rhythms — or the simultaneous combination of contrasting rhythms in a musical composition — are characteristic of many non-Western forms, and present, too, in those such as jazz which have been progressively 'de-othered' in the course of the 20th century: from being
perceived as 'primitive' and 'un-European', jazz has been gradually assimilated into the European cultural landscape. As Matthew F. Jordan has argued in Le Jazz, this evolution has, though, entailed an at times vexed renegotiation of aspects of French cultural identity. The motif of
the cross-rhythm — with its suggestions of cultural forms 'rubbing against' one another in ways that may be perceived as conflict or harmony depending on the listener's own cultural positioning — may thus be suggestively linked to questions of cross-cultural encounter and representation,
borrowing and reinvention. Swiss traveller-writer Nicolas Bouvier (1929–1998) will provide a particular focus. My analysis posits a multisensory engagement with 'otherness' as an ethical imperative which displaces the ocularcentrism commonly associated with cross-cultural representation.
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Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: December 1, 2015
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The Irish Journal of French Studies is an annual international refereed journal published by the Association des Études Françaises et Francophones d'Irlande. Articles in English, French or Irish are welcomed on any aspect of research in the area of French and Francophone culture, society, literature and thought. Articles published within the last two years are available free online to members and may be purchased by non-members. All other articles are available on an open access basis.
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