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Abstract

Uncertain Readings and Meaningful Dialogues: Language and Sexual Identity in Anne Garréta’s 'Sphinx' and Tahar Ben Jelloun’s 'L’Enfant de sable' and 'La Nuit sacrée'


This article is concerned both with the role of language in the construction and de-construction of sexual identity and with the effects of reading fiction in which the first person narrator is of ambiguous or uncertain gender. Positing reading as a dialogue between text and reader, it shows how the use of language in Garréta’s 'Sphinx' (1986) withholds from the reader knowledge about sexual identity whereas the way language is employed in Ben Jelloun’s two novels, 'L’Enfant de sable' (1985) and 'La Nuit sacrée' (1987), encourages the very notion of sexual identity to be called into question. The article goes on to suggest that the reader’s own identity may well be implicated in the uncertainty which is fostered in the texts, and that, in order to fill the ensuing void, an active, interrogative and creative reading is thus generated. The conclusion emphasises the positive nature of such reading effects, arguing that the process of questioning (our own) knowledge, and thus of the systems which underpin it, is just the first step on the path towards change.

Rye, Gill (2000) Uncertain Readings and Meaningful Dialogues: Language and Sexual Identity in Anne Garréta’s 'Sphinx' and Tahar Ben Jelloun’s 'L’Enfant de sable' and 'La Nuit sacrée'. Neophilologus, 84 (4). pp. 531-540. ISSN 0028-2677


Item Type:Article
Additional Information:This is a post-peer-review, pre-copyedited version of an article published in Neophilologus, 84.4 (October 2000). The original publication is available at www.springerlink.com
Subjects:Culture, Language & Literature
Keywords:Anne Garreta, Tahar Ben Jelloun, gender identity, reading as dialogue, uncertain gender
Divisions:Institute of Germanic & Romance Studies > Centre for the Study of Contemporary Women's Writing
Institute of Germanic & Romance Studies
Collections:IGRS Staff Papers
Deposited By:Gill Rye
Date Deposited:01 Sep 2011 09:38
Last Modified:01 Sep 2011 09:38
ItemID:3111
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Official URL: http://www.springerlink.com/content/k03646j875113k...

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