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Is a woman a reader like any other ?

La lectrice est-elle un lecteur comme les autres ?

Gender and reception in contemporary fictions

Genre et réception dans le récit contemporain

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Published on Thursday, June 29, 2023

Abstract

How are female readers of fiction represented in contemporary literature? If female readers have long been associated with a form of vulnerability linked to the topos of the dangers of reading on the one hand, and with an eroticized vision of reading on the other, it is clear that the contemporary age is making an effort to change these images. The rise of feminist thought, reflections on gender, and the pragmatic turn of reception theories are all new critical inheritances that twist the literary representation of women, and that change its female readers. Figures like these thus give us the singular opportunity of thinking reading practices through the lens of gender.

Announcement

Editors

Maxime Decout (Sorbonne Université) and Estelle Mouton-Rovira (Université Bordeaux-Montaigne)

Argument

How are female readers of fiction represented in contemporary literature? If female readers have long been associated with a form of vulnerability linked to the topos of the dangers of reading on the one hand, and with an eroticized vision of reading on the other, it is clear that the contemporary age is making an effort to change these images. The rise of feminist thought, reflections on gender, and the pragmatic turn of reception theories are all new critical inheritances that twist the literary representation of women, and that change its female readers. Figures like these thus give us the singular opportunity of thinking reading practices through the lens of gender.

The contributions may explore various avenues: thematic, critical, or theoretical. Thematic, firstly, since the representation of female readers provides an opportunity to reflect on contemporary uses of reading. Whether we think of the female reader of Calvino in Si une nuit d’hiver un voyageur (commented by Peter Szendy, Pouvoirs de la lecture, 2022), of the ironic figurations of the female reader in the work of Chevillard, of the female reader in the novels of Chloé Delaume, or perhaps of the addresses to the female reader in novels of Anne F. Garréta, all of these representations offer as many different perspectives: from the perpetuation of a gendered division of reading practices to its reversal, imbued as it is with political significance.

These representations thus carry strong critical stakes in a context marked by the renewal of different forms of literary engagement. Figures of female readers invite us to consider how literature embraces feminist struggle, giving the latter literary visibility, and conversely, turning literature itself into a critical field for the exploration of the practical, and political, interest of reading and the modes of emancipation it enables.

On a theoretical level, lastly, the “female reader” allows us to question the values and manifestations of the theoretical neutral that the “male reader” often represents. This entails, in line with pragmatic or empirical thought on reading (as we find it in the pragmatic turn in reception studies, but also in feminist critique), an interrogation of the possible points of convergence or, conversely, divergence between these different traditions of thought. As a fully-fledged theoretical figure, the female reader thus interrogates contemporary interpretive practices.

Comparative approaches, and corpuses that allow for a historicization of the issue are welcome, so that the more strictly contemporary analyses may be put in dialogue with other critical perspectives.

Submission guidelines

Proposals of approximately 300 words in length, accompanied by a brief biography, should be sent to revuerelief@gmail.com, maximedecout@yahoo.fr, and estelle.mouton-rovira@u-bordeaux-montainge.fr

no later than July 15th , 2023.

The authors of the selected proposals will be required to submit the complete article (6,000 to 8,000 words, in French or English) by September 15, 2023. The articles will then undergo a double-blind peer review process for publication in Issue 17(2) of Relief in December 2023.

About the Journal

Relief - Revue électronique de littérature française is an international peer-reviewed journal dedicated to literary and cultural studies. Its historical scope is open as long as it relates to French-language corpuses. Relief serves as a meeting place for the study of literature, texts, and discourses. Bilingual (French-English) and pioneering, Relief has been a digital open-access journal since its first issue was published in 2007. Relief is published twice a year. Issues are organized thematically or around monographs, but each issue reserves space for open contributions as well as for book reviews.

Subjects


Date(s)

  • Saturday, July 15, 2023

Keywords

  • lecture, femme, lectrice

Information source

  • Suzanne Kappé
    courriel : revuerelief [at] gmail [dot] com

License

CC0-1.0 This announcement is licensed under the terms of Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal.

To cite this announcement

« Is a woman a reader like any other ? », Call for papers, Calenda, Published on Thursday, June 29, 2023, https://doi.org/10.58079/1bii

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