Title

“A Quest for Life among the Ruins : Ne quitte pas les vivants by Chantal Chawaf”

Subject Area

French and Francophone Studies

Abstract

Chantal Chawaf is no stranger to war; she drew her first breath as her mother, injured in a WWII bombardment, drew her last. Throughout her long literary career, Chawaf has waged a war of her own – one against the toxic divisions at the root of war; those between mankind and nature, consciousness and the unconscious, matter and spirit, the body and the word. Through her écriture du corps, Chawaf seeks to heal those divisions at the individual and collective levels. Her writing, too, was born of war, in Syria. During the Six-Day War, Chawaf heard the distant bombing, her newborn clutched to her breast. The anguish of that experience sparked a deep sense of connection to her birth mother and led her to seek to know her, and herself, more fully through a new writing, surging from the depths of her psyche and body. Although Chawaf has long decried the tragic repercussions of war, in Ne quitte pas les vivants (2015) we encounter a greater sense of urgency, clearly in response to recent events in Syria. The novel traces the inner and outer journey of a woman, herself born of war, who flees there to escape a painful past and struggles to return to life beneath its blazing sun. A deep reading of the novel, informed by an analysis of its archetypal imagery and by Chawaf’s theoretical works, reveals a disturbing message about the consequences of war, but also hints at a possible pathway back to life amid the destruction.

Brief Bio Note

L. Nannette Mosley received her doctoral degree in Romance Languages (Spanish and French literature) from the University of Georgia in 2012, and is presently an instructor of French and Spanish at that same institution. She specializes in literature of the 20th and 21st centuries. Her research interests include Post-Colonial and Gender Studies and the Post Spanish Civil War novel, but her primary interest is the exploration of the role and meaning of myths rewritten in modern narrative.

Keywords

Chantal Chawaf, Ne quitte pas les vivants

Location

Coastal Georgia Center

Presentation Year

2016

Start Date

4-8-2016 11:10 AM

End Date

4-8-2016 11:30 AM

Embargo

11-8-2015

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Apr 8th, 11:10 AM Apr 8th, 11:30 AM

“A Quest for Life among the Ruins : Ne quitte pas les vivants by Chantal Chawaf”

Coastal Georgia Center

Chantal Chawaf is no stranger to war; she drew her first breath as her mother, injured in a WWII bombardment, drew her last. Throughout her long literary career, Chawaf has waged a war of her own – one against the toxic divisions at the root of war; those between mankind and nature, consciousness and the unconscious, matter and spirit, the body and the word. Through her écriture du corps, Chawaf seeks to heal those divisions at the individual and collective levels. Her writing, too, was born of war, in Syria. During the Six-Day War, Chawaf heard the distant bombing, her newborn clutched to her breast. The anguish of that experience sparked a deep sense of connection to her birth mother and led her to seek to know her, and herself, more fully through a new writing, surging from the depths of her psyche and body. Although Chawaf has long decried the tragic repercussions of war, in Ne quitte pas les vivants (2015) we encounter a greater sense of urgency, clearly in response to recent events in Syria. The novel traces the inner and outer journey of a woman, herself born of war, who flees there to escape a painful past and struggles to return to life beneath its blazing sun. A deep reading of the novel, informed by an analysis of its archetypal imagery and by Chawaf’s theoretical works, reveals a disturbing message about the consequences of war, but also hints at a possible pathway back to life amid the destruction.