Jana Evans Braziel, Assistant Professor
229B Mc Micken Hall
Department of English and Comparative Literature
University of Cincinnati
Cincinnati, OH 45221-0069
Office # (513) 556-0834
Fax # (513) 556-5960
Un si tendre vampire: roman ["So Tender A Vampire: A Novel"]. Paris: Éditions de la Table Ronde, 1987.
Fuir ["Flight"]. Paris: Éditions de la Table Ronde, 1988.
Solo ["Solo"]. Paris: Éditions de la Table Ronde, 1989.
Les évangelies du crime ["The Gospels of Crime"], 1992.
Calomnies. Paris: Christian Bourgois Éditeur, 1993. Translated as Slander, translated by Esther Allen. Lincoln and London: University of Nebraska Press, 1996.
Les dits díun idiot ["The Sayings of An Idiot"]. Paris: Christian Bourgois Éditeur, 1995.
Les Trois Parques ["The Three Fates"]. Paris: Christian Bourgois Éditeur, 1997.
Voix ["Voice"]. Paris: Christian Bourgois Éditeur, 1998.
Questions on Slander:
What is the relationship between "fiction" and "truth" in Lê's autobiographical narrative? How does Lê deliberately satirize or parody the tenuousness of the "fictional" and "veritable"? How does Lê, the fiction writer, fabricate episodes of her autobiographical novelóor more appropriately, her auto-fiction (a genre that purportedly intermingles fact and fiction, life and fantasy)? What is the role of fantasy in the novel?
What is the role of the Uncle as "bearer of truth," witness -- and yet, paradoxically -- as the "madman"? What is the relationship of language and power? of language and madness? What is the paradoxical and ironic delineation by Lê of life in the "margins"? Consider the "writing" of the narrator and the"ëscribbling" of the Uncle (p.3).
Following Trinh Minh-ha's culturally specific definition of "autobiography," how is the narrative of the niece's life inextricable to the narrative of the Uncle's life? to that of "Madamère"? her father? her culture? "Country"? How do the identities of several characters begin to fuse at the end of Slander? the "niece" [Lê ] and "Madamother" and the "incestuous" sister? the Uncle and the Counselor and the Monk and Ricin? Why this fusion of identities, this blurring of subjects?
How does the narrator's problematic paternal genealogy reveal something about her hybrid and bicultural identity as a "colonized" subject and/or as an immigrant writer? What role does "illusion" play in her conception of the "paternal" genealogy? How are abandonment and loss configured in her relationships to her two fathers? How are her lovers substitute or surrogate fathers? Compare to Khatibi's Love in Two Languages and Djebar's Fantasia.
How is writing one's autobiography a sort of "slander"? Why does Lê choose Calomnies (a French term that can be translated as slander or calumny and that connotes "malicious or defamatory" statements) as her title? Who is slandered? What does Lê imply about the possibility for "representation" in language?
How does Lê delineate herself as a "doll" in relation to the men of her life? How are these relationships destructive? What do her lovers have in common? How are the men in Slander modern-day Pygmalions, the Ovidian character who sculpts a woman/lover from clay?
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