Dr Valentina Gosetti, Arts, UNE, will present in the 2018 Arts Research Seminar series on Thursday, 24 May 2018, between 12.00 pm  and 1.00 pm in Oorala Lecture Theatre, Building (E22).

Title: Reclaiming “Provincialism”:
A Transregional Study of Modern French Poetry

Image: anonymous (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:France_anciennes_provinces_1789.jpg), „France anciennes provinces 1789“, marked as public domain, more details on Wikimedia Commons: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Template:PD-old

The nineteenth-century French literary canon has been often determined through the prism of an all-powerful and seemingly incontestable centralizing force: that of Paris, in the words of Walter Benjamin, ‘the capital of the nineteenth century’. In the late eighteenth century, strong centralization had been one of the Revolutionaries’ ambitions, which they tried to achieve by dividing the anciennes provinces into eighty-three départements, with the intention to eliminate their political, cultural, and linguistic identities. And yet the ghosts of borders past persisted, haunting the minds and hearts of the inhabitants of the ancient provinces, which remained the ‘primary source of intellectual and emotional identification’ (Hazareesingh, 2016, 164). My aim in this paper is to present my new research project and to shed light on the poetry of regional authors, in both French and the lesser-spoken languages of France. I shall examine some examples of the many empowering and subversive ways in which these poets chose to maintain and promote their provincial identity, thus inviting us to undertake a de-centring voyage within France’s ‘internal difference’ (Williams 2003, 111). Methodologically, this paper will attempt to bracket off Paris as a critical parameter to reconsider, instead, the writings of poets from all around France from a ‘transregional’ perspective, studying them within both their own local cultural context and a wider web of exchanges with other regional contexts. The ultimate aim of this paper is to show that poetry by regional authors played a crucial role in building a more inclusive and de-centered idea of ‘Frenchness’, during the century of the nation state.

To see upcoming seminars in 2018, please visit the Seminars & Public Lectures page.