Spectrality disrupts and fissures our conceptions of time, unmaking and complicating binaries such as life and death, presence and absence, the visible and the invisible, and literality and metaphor. A contribution to current conversations in memory studies and spectrality studies, Mind the Ghost is an experiment in reading ghosts otherwise. It explores, through contemporary fiction in French, sites of textual haunting that take the form of names, lists, objects, photographs, and stains. The book turns to Jacques Derrida and Hélène Cixous to rethink what constitutes and functions as a ghost, proposing that this figure solicits readers’ investment in mnemonic practices. Considering the memories and legacies of violence that have marked the greater part of the twentieth-century – in Algeria, Bosnia, Croatia, France, and Rwanda – this book traces absences, disappearances and reappearances, textual omissions and untimely irruptions to posit literature’s power to both remember and communicate beyond the bounds of chronological time. Through close readings of recent fiction by Kaouther Adimi, Jakuta Alikavazovic, Gaël Faye, Jérôme Ferrari, Patrick Modiano, Lydie Salvayre, Leïla Sebbar, and Cécile Wajsbrot, Mind the Ghost articulates the mechanisms through which readers themselves become haunted.
“Showing impressive theoretical acumen and including a fascinating range of recent fiction, this book is an exhilarating read. It is undoubtedly an important intervention in ghost studies and modern literary studies.”
Colin Davis, Royal Holloway University of London