E. Nicole Meyer

Position title: UW System Fellow (2010-2011)

French, UW-Green Bay

Portrait photograph of E. Nicole Meyer in front of a white background

Fractured Families in Contemporary French and Francophone Women’s Autobiographies

Autobiographies necessarily delve into the past and try to relate that past to the narrator’s present. 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. This book-length project examines the fractures that fissure family now, in recent autobiographical texts by French-speaking women autobiographers. These works reveal diverse family fractures, be they matriarchal structures that crumble under pressure, incest, adultery, violence, or cultural divides. This study analyzes how, why, and with what effects these cracks often extending back to childhood permeate the autobiographies, hidden, deep, waiting to quake. These fractures matter – whether they be incest, violence or simply a hurtful word, glance or action. The depiction of childhood and family through the metaphorical, literal, and stylistic use of voice and the difficulty of voicing what has previously remained silent unite these texts. By looking closely at how these authors voice their past through their family, this study reveals new ways of considering women’s writing, their place in society, and their role in the larger narrative of history.

E. Nicole Meyer is Professor of French, Humanistic Studies and Women’s and Gender Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay where she teaches all levels of French literature, language, culture and Business French, etc., as well as literature in translation and in the broader humanities. Professor Meyer is author of numerous publications on Flaubert, French and Francophone women’s autobiography, twentieth-century French literature, Descartes and Business French. Her book The Questioning of Origins and Authority in Flaubert’s Bouvard et Pécuchet (Editions Rodopi B. V.) will appear in 2011. Meyer (UW-Madison (B.A.), The Johns Hopkins University (M.A.), University of Pennsylvania (M.A. and Ph.D) has been named recipient of the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay Founders’ Association Faculty Award for Excellence in Scholarship, University of Wisconsin system Wisconsin Teaching Scholar, Outstanding Higher Education Representative 2008 by the Wisconsin Association for Talented and Gifted, and has received several UWGB teaching awards as well. Fellowships include Women’s Studies Research Center (Honorary), University of Wisconsin-Madison; University of Chicago Midwest Faculty; Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst (DAAD), and Services Culturels de New York / ACTFL. French Government / American Council of Teachers of Foreign Languages.