By Susan Bainbrigge, Jeanette Den Toonder
Because the ebook of her first novel in 1992, Am?lie Nothomb maintains to interact and to impress her readers via her exploration of the fluid limitations among attractiveness and monstrosity, stable and evil, fantasy and truth, in addition to by way of her interesting presentation of formative years, anorexia, and the abject. In Am?lie Nothomb: Authorship, identification and Narrative perform, the 1st full-length learn in English of Nothomb’s paintings, those parts are awarded and interpreted from quite a few views, with the members targeting a unmarried novel or evaluating varied texts. created from a suite of essays on her autobiographical and fictional works, with contributions from her anglophone translators, it is usually an interview with the writer, a preface by means of the eminent author and critic, Jacques de Decker and a bibliography of secondary works. Nothomb’s works and the serious responses to them are contextualized in a common advent and arranged lower than the subsequent key subject matters: autobiography and gender id, representations of the physique, and narrative perform. This assortment is a necessary source for college kids and students of twentieth-century modern literature and gender reviews.
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Additional info for Amélie Nothomb: authorship, identity, and narrative practice
Possibly because Stupeur et tremblements deals with Amélie as an adult, the question of national identity is treated, somewhat disappointingly, by way of simpliﬁed stereotypes (for instance, her comments on Japanese intolerance for Westerners’ ways (ST 125)), whereas, in Le Sabotage amoureux, with its child protagonist, that question still makes up a polysemic dramatic element of the plot. 20 Despite a mock philosophical beginning (this time a reworking of Wittgenstein’s theory on reality: ‘Le monde est tout ce qui a lieu’ (SA 11, 19)), Le Sabotage amoureux is a romanticized version of childhood, as a higher moral state than adulthood.
30 Rather than try, on the basis of playful and provocative texts, to attribute to Nothomb gender deﬁnitions or sexual preferences (and much could be made of Amélie’s macho ways of subjugating her enemies in Le Sabotage amoureux), it is more fruitful to note that the author leaves open and unresolved her quest for gender identity. Her proposition might be that this is what a search for identity is: never closed, never concluded. In view of the three works’ themes—the protagonist’s metaphysical, national and gendered identities –, and their common tone—hyperbolic, ironic, provocative with a sustained foregrounding of their ﬁctional and literary nature—would the reader be right in signing the autobiographical pact?
This adolescent Léopoldine-Ophelia of Nothomb’s ﬁrst novel is recuperated and saved in her third autobiographical novel of 2000, Métaphysique des tubes, in which young Amélie foresees being chased from her own Garden of Eden in Japan, and demonstrates that the awareness of gender difference and its social consequences comes at a much earlier age. What does it mean to write as a woman? For Amélie Nothomb, it means to write, in part, about the feminine condition. This is consonant with the general scholarly conviction that gender, or the fact of femininity, is a shaping force in autobiographies written by women.
Amélie Nothomb: authorship, identity, and narrative practice by Susan Bainbrigge, Jeanette Den Toonder