FRE 446H1

Advanced Studies in Literary Theory: Life-narratives : from texts to photographic and cinematic images


J. LeBlanc


In the past many decades humanity scholars have displayed a renewed interest for "life-narratives". Writers and theorists generally refer to different autobiographical sub-genres (diaries, memoirs, letters and autobiographies) in their attempts to distinguish between various forms of life narratives (“récits de soi”). Despite their distinct characteristics, these various forms of autobiographical writings all paint an intimate portrait of the writer, his/her historical and cultural context as well as their ideological convictions. The use of ekphrastic images (descriptions of portraits/landscapes), photographic and cinematic images within some of the autobiographical narratives studied during our seminar invites us to briefly look at theories of photography and cinematic adaptation to enhance our readings of Duperey, Ernaux, Hébert and Lartigue illustrated life narratives. In brief, this spectacular corpus of contemporary literary texts will allow us to analyze the different trajectories which link and differentiate these various autobiographical genres and to identify specific textual/visual strategies used by these different writers/artists in their autobiographical endeavors.

Primary literary texts

Duperey, Annie. Le voile noir.

Ernaux, Annie. Les années.

Hébert, Anne. Les Fous de Bassan.

Lartigue, J H. L’œil de la mémoire. Fragments of this text will be distributed.

Assignments and evaluation:

one essay, 35%; one short textual analysis 25%; one end of term in class test 25%; overall assessment 15% (attendance, preparation for class, participation in class discussion, etc.).


FRE240H1/FRE245H1, FRE241H1/FRE246H1, FRE 345H1.