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Open Access 'Je suis l'autre!' The Place of the Other in Blaise Cendrars's Œuvre

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This article explores the way in which Blaise Cendrars portrayed three figures of otherness in his writings: the Jew, the German and the non-European Other. In light of Cendrars's ideological orientation and his evolving position in the French literary field, this piece proposes an analysis of his fluid and dynamic representations of the Other. Cendrars's poetic or narrative 'I' is at times inseparable from the Other he portrays, and at other times rejects the Other outright. Hence, the figure of the Wandering Jew, with which Cendrars's poetic 'I' often identifies, alternates with an association of Judaism with pathological sexuality. The German enemy is first represented as the ultimate Other, and then as a reflection of the narrative 'I' when Cendrars calls upon his experiences of World War I. Finally, Cendrars depicts the Non-European Other, both demonized and idealized, as the dark side of the European Self, particularly in his reportage of the 1930s.

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Keywords: ANTI-SEMITISM; AVANT-GARDE; COLONIALISM; FRENCH LITERARY FIELD; GERMANOPHOBIA; OTHERNESS; REPORTAGE; WANDERING JEW; WORLD WAR I

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: December 1, 2016

More about this publication?
  • 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.

    Please note that the Print ISSN listed for the journal on this website applies to volumes 1 to 10, and part of volume 16. All other volumes are published, in their entirety, on-line only.

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