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Facts and Counterfactuals in Recent French Literature

Event Type
academic, ethics, french
European Union Center; Department of French and Italian
Foreign Languages Building, Rm 2090B
Apr 26, 2018   4:00 pm  
Free and open to the public
Jean-Jacques Poucel
Originating Calendar
European Union Center Events

The talk will focus on the ethical perils and epistemological limits of the recent turn to facts and the tendency to blur the boundary between counterfactual history, hypothesis, and fiction.


Alison James is Associate Professor of French at the University of Chicago. Her teaching and research interests include postwar experimental writing, the contemporary French novel, the Oulipo group, depictions of everyday life, and nonfiction narrative. She is the author of Constraining Chance: Georges Perec and the Oulipo (Northwestern University Press, 2009) and of a number of articles on modern and contemporary French literature. She has edited journal issues on “Forms of Formalism” (L’Esprit créateur 48.2, 2008), Valère Novarina (with Olivier Dubouclez, Littérature no. 176, 2014) and co-directed (with Christophe Reig) the volume Frontières de la non-fiction: littérature, cinéma, arts (Presses Universitaires de Rennes, 2013). Her current book project, Speaking Facts, identifies the emergence in the twentieth century of a documentary imagination that shapes French literature’s relationship to visual representation, testimonial discourses, and autobiographical narrative.

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