Journal of Romance Studies

To nobody …

Guibert’s Mes parents: Love letter or hate mail?

Journal of Romance Studies (2020), 20, (1), 1–20.

Abstract

This article compares aspects of the autofictional modes of self-representation at play in Genet’s Journal du voleur [The Thief’s Journal] and Hervé Guibert’s Mes parents [My Parents]. Despite their different historical periods of production (1949 and 1986, respectively), each text deploys key aspects of the seemingly autobiographical text (recounting the event of birth, significance of the family name, dawning sense of sexual desire and identity) in order to portray a sense of being at odds with prevailing strictures of belonging and good taste. Despite foregrounding a sense of ‘misfitting’, which is primarily located in experiences of, and related to, gay sexuality, the texts also testify to the enduring appeal and imposed potency of the socially sanctioned desire for straightforward autobiographical selfhood. Taken together, the texts suggest a reading which foregrounds shifting textual pluralities of reimagined, transitory, textual forms of selfhood rather than a named singular self.

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Author details

Agar, James N.