“No, you’re not to do that!”: Fractured Families, Faulty Misunderstandings in Nathalie Sarraute’s ‘Enfance’

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University Club, Room 212
@ 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm

Portrait image of E. Nicole Meyers wearing red and white glasses and a black shirt


Monday Seminar:

E. Nicole Meyer

French, UW-Green Bay

UW System Fellow (2010-2011)


As a privileged literary site for the depiction of identity and of awareness of self, the autobiographical novel has born witness, thematically and formally, to family fractures through its intimate dramas and intersections with the wider world. Recent autobiographical texts by French-speaking women autobiographers reveal diverse fractures, be they matriarchal structures that crumble under pressure, incest, or cultural divides. Professor Meyer’s presentation focuses on how, why and with what effects these cracks extending back to childhood permeate Nathalie Sarraute’s autobiography, hidden, deep, waiting to quake. These fractures matter–whether they be simply a hurtful word, glance or action. This study suggests new ways of considering women’s writing, their place in society, and their role in the larger narrative of history.


Resident Fellow at the IRH, E. Nicole Meyer is Professor of French, Humanistic Studies and Women’s and Gender Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. Professor Meyer is author of numerous articles and book chapters on Flaubert, French and Francophone women’s autobiography, twentieth-century French literature, Descartes and Business French. Her book  (Editions Rodopi B. V.) will appear in 2011.