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The Palimpsestic Architecture of Williams Sassine's 'Mémoire d'une peau'
Date: 12 March 2008 Time: 5.00 pm
DELC Research Seminar,
'The Palimpsestic Architecture of Williams Sassine's Mémoire d'une peau',
Charlotte Baker (Dept. of European Languages & Cultures, Lancaster University),
Institute for Advanced Studies, Meeting Room 1,
My paper will analyse Guinean writer Williams Sassine's novel Mémoire d'une peau. Published posthumously in 1998, the narrative focuses on a short period in the life of the sociopathic albino protagonist Milo Kan, at the same time offering an uncompromising vision of postcolonial francophone Africa.
My paper will explore the layering of meaning in the body of the albino protagonist, which resonates in the complex architecture of the narrative. With reference to recent critical work on the body and skin, I will discuss the significance of burying meaning in the layers of the palimpsestic body and text, and its refusal to disappear in relation to the construction of identity in thepostcolonial setting of Sassine's novel.
Charlotte Baker is Lecturer in French in the Department of European Languages and Cultures. Charlotte's research interests centre broadly on twentieth century French and African francophone fictional writing. Her current research focuses on the theory and representation of the body and identity, and more particularly on the representation of marginalised and stigmatised groups in Africa. Charlotte's most recent publication is, 'Chromatic Ambivalence: Colouring the Albino' in Cultures of Colour: Visual, Material, Textual edited by Chris Horrocks (Berghahn, 2008). She is currently working on an edited volume of papers, Expressions of the Body: Representations in African Text and Image, which will be published by Peter Lang in 2009.
Who can attend: Anyone
Organising departments and research centres: European Languages and Cultures
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