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From The Ashes of Love : Defying Antigone in Christine Angot’s 'La Peur du lendemain' ['Fear of Tomorrow']

Citation: Lebrun, Valerie (2014) From The Ashes of Love : Defying Antigone in Christine Angot’s 'La Peur du lendemain' ['Fear of Tomorrow']. In: Echoes of Antigone in Contemporary Women's Writing in French seminar, 1 March 2014, Centre for the Study of Contemporary Women's Writing, Institute of Modern Languages Research, University of London, Senate House. (Unpublished)

Antigone is exhausted. More than two millennia have passed since she looped death around her neck, and yet, she is still there, trapped in rewritings which create others in her image. Of course, there is a vanishing point in her story which calls for and compels this repetition – a tragic point around which certain literary works gravitate, not only featuring voices of protest but also – by means of soliloquy – blurring the attraction of love on the necessity of writing. In France, we must indeed refer to the rich and complex corpus of Hélène Cixous, Marguerite Duras and Camille Laurens. This paper does not focus primarily on the figure of Antigone herself. Rather, it searches for a position after her, relative not so much to her legacy but to the aftermath of a love which drives and overtakes those women who, in their writing, resist the ease of compromise. It is in this way that I approach 'La Peur du lendemain' ['Fear of Tomorrow'] by Christine Angot, herself an emblematic figure of a literary imaginary that is at once tragic and contemporary. However, my intention is not to impose the full weight of Antigone on Angot’s narrator. Rather, I will show how Angot’s singular work responds to Antigone’s gesture by exceeding it, rendering the meeting between love and death not a horizon but rather an intrinsic condition of the project of writing. Finally, I will briefly introduce the notion of 'filles d’Antigone' which is at the centre of my research and which offers the possibility of rethinking differently the structure of a tragic filiation that is at the heart of contemporary women’s writing in French.

Additional Information: This is the English version of the paper that was presented at the seminar. It was originally written in French - the French version is also available in SAS-Space.
Creators: Lebrun, Valerie and
Subjects: Culture, Language & Literature
Divisions: Centre for the Study of Contemporary Women's Writing
  • March 2014 (completed)


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