Les langues du roman translingue : Une étude de Nancy Huston, Vassilis Alexakis et Andreï Makine

Sammanfattning: Although literary translingualism, defined as the practice of writing literature in a second language, is by no means new, it is only in the past two decades that a specialized research field has emerged around the phenomenon. Synthesizing recent developments and drawing on several existing research strands, this study sets out to examine translingual writing in French in its contemporary expressions, with a particular focus on the novel. Do contemporary writers understand their translingualism differently from their predecessors? Can translingual studies be productively put into dialogue with developments in world literature studies? And how should we understand translingual writing in relation to the theoretical “translingual turn” affecting literary studies more broadly? This dissertation argues that contemporary translingual writing in French must be understood as part of a wider shift affecting both creative and critical practices, as the forces of globalization prompt us to reassess the relationship between literature and its language(s).Following a theoretical discussion, the analysis chapters aim to shed light on contemporary understandings of translingualism as articulated in the poetics of three major authors. The chapter focusing on Nancy Huston’s bilingual novel, Danse noire, investigates forms of novelistic self-reflexivity that demonstrate a renewed attentiveness to translation as it underpins literary mimesis. What is here called her translational storytelling not only foregrounds the representation of diegetic languages, but also draws our attention to the hermeneutic processes and ethical implications of writing and reading stories which potentially reach beyond our own linguistic, geographic and social realms. The following chapter turns to the linguistic autofiction of Vassilis Alexakis. After establishing how Alexakis’ ambilingual practice – his alternation between writing in French and Greek – leads him to interrogate his own position within world literary exchanges, it analyses both his novel, Les Mots étrangers, and his collaboration on the bilingual anthology, Âtënë tî Bêafrîka. Paroles du cœur de l’Afrique, within the framework of an “uneven translingual event” (Helgesson & Kullberg). The final chapter considers the fact that Andreï Makine’s Le Testament français has come to be viewed as the archetypal French translingual novel. A reading of this novel alongside Makine’s pseudotranslations and pseudonymic works prompts an examination of the notion of translingualism as exophony, a voyage outside of the mother tongue, and of how such writing positions itself in relation to national, monolingual literary space.Previous studies of translingualism in a French context have tended to view translingual authors as language migrants, who abandon their mother tongue in favour of a monolingual literary production in French. Recent work has brought the focus back to the multilingual processes informing translingual creativity, but may have overestimated the capacity of such writing to transgress the monolingual paradigm. Drawing on work by critics such as Apter, Beecroft, Gramling and Yildiz, this dissertation shows how contemporary translingual poetics can be understood as at once the result of homogenizing forces which favour monolingual and “translatable” writing in major world languages, and as partaking in the emergence of new aesthetic practices seeking to register and respond to linguistic diversity in literature.