Published online by Cambridge University Press: 04 February 2021
This chapter considers the contemporary novel in French within the context of the broadly defined field of women’s writing, a diverse, engaged and vibrant space where innovative literary forms are mobilised in ways that continue to stretch the possibilities and meanings of female experience. Exploring an array of texts by award-winning, bestselling and emerging novelists, the chapter discusses three key thematic areas. In the first part, it considers the intimacy long associated with women’s writing, showing how recent novels have tended to move beyond the tropes of sentimental romance, imagining instead a distinct, female-focused erotics, or otherwise engaging themes of love with wider, philosophical and political concerns. In the second part, the chapter looks at representations of the family, focusing on the turbulent, transformative times of adolescence, on perspectives on mothering, and on new patterns of kinship, that create new dialogues surrounding the cultural ideals and social pressures embroiled within the family in twenty-first-century France. In the final section, the chapter draws attention to the intersectional conversations in recent women’s writing in French between feminist concerns, the representation of queer and trans subjectivities, social inequalities, immigration and race relations.
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