CALL FOR PAPERS
Special issue of L’Esprit Créateur: Connecting Characters in Modern and Contemporary French-language Fiction
Guest Editors: Rebecca Grenouilleau-Loescher and Kat Haklin
Deadline for abstracts: 15 October 2022
Response from editors: 31 October 2022
Deadline for paper: 1 March 2023
Publication: Fall 2023
This special issue of L’Esprit Créateur examines character networks and interdependence in French-language fiction during the modern and contemporary periods (19th to 21st centuries). Adopting a transhistorical approach, the issue seeks to foreground shifts in character relationships and other forms of linkage as they relate to narrative meaning and reflect the impacts of diverse social, political, and historical contexts throughout the francophone world.
If character studies to date have varied in focus and scope, ranging from reader engagement studies and network analyses to encyclopedic and interdisciplinary approaches, a collection of articles centering on character interdependence from a relational perspective remains to be produced in French and Francophone Studies. Moving beyond the impulse to define and categorize, this special issue of L’Esprit Créateur intends to tease out, through the lens of relationality, precisely what connects characters in fictional works, how these links shape narrative meaning within and across texts, and how modes of character interdependency shift across historical periods. What mechanisms do authors deploy to bring characters into relation, and how do those connections emerge within a text? How does interconnection, or disconnection, among characters add to, take away from, or otherwise impact narrative meaning? In what ways can character connections, via the interdependency of plots and perspectives, as well as in intertextual and transmedia adaptation, be said to be productive, unstable, or unpredictable? Broadly, how might character interdependence help readers “concevoir l’imprédictibilité [de la Relation] non pas comme un négatif mais comme un positif” (Glissant 1996: 102)?
We expect articles to approach connection primarily as a qualitative phenomenon (Smeets 2021), and welcome articles that interrogate how, for instance, the notions of alignment, allegiance, and recognition (Felski 2020) impact reader engagement with characters in relation; how character interconnections might be said to reflect “the societies they postulate” in narrative fiction (Alexander 2021: 322); and, moving into the realm of lived experience, how character linkages of variegated types might register the impacts of evolving social, political, and historical phenomena. Finally, pursuant to the idea that the imaginary acts as model for relationality, we hope contributions will advance a sharper understanding of character interdependence across fields, from the environmental and medical humanities to politics, history, economics, and beyond.
Please send abstracts in English or French (300 words) to Rebecca Grenouilleau-Loescher (email@example.com) and Kat Haklin (firstname.lastname@example.org) by October 15, 2022. A response from the editors can be expected by October 31, 2022, and the deadline for completed articles (no more than 6,000 words, including notes) will be March 1, 2023.
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