Event Date: Wednesday 24 March 2010
Royal Holloway, WIN 002
Abstract: Frédéric Beigbeder’s 2003 novel, Windows on the World, is a fictional representation of the events of 11 September 2001 as told through a double narrative, with an American narrator who is trapped with his two sons in one of the towers and a French narrator who is arguably a rhetorical figure of the author. In his novel, Beigbeder recounts the events that are known to one and all, but does so in a search for meaning, sense, and logic that did not necessarily present themselves in the immediate ‘live’ unfurling of the story. In so doing, he develops a work that reflects some of the concerns expressed by French philosophers including Jean Baudrillard, Jacques Derrida, and Paul Virilio, and, at the same time, explores the limits of narrative fiction’s capacities to represent.
About the speaker: Lawrence R. Schehr is Professor of French at the University of Illinois. He works predominantly on nineteenth- and twentieth-century narrative, contemporary literature and culture, and queer theory. Recent books include two volumes from 2009: Subversions of Verisimilitude: Reading Narrative from Balzac to Sartre (Fordham UP) and French Post-Modern Masculinities: From Neuromatrices to Seropositivity (Liverpool UP), as well as a co-edited volume of Yale French Studies, Turns to the Right?. He is currently working on a comparatist volume on nineteenth-century narrative, on the rhetoric of non-reproduction, and a volume on contemporary ‘imaginaries’ relative to the subjective remapping of Paris since 1968.