Australian Journal of French Studies

Métropolitain.e: Language in Compressed Spaces

Australian Journal of French Studies (2021), 58, (2), 193–201.

Abstract

A few years ago, I described myself finding a livelier sense of self by looking up at the windows of the metro as it clattered past the iron wings above me. A corner of city, I wrote, which I had explored so frequently that my unceasing movement within it founded me more than the State-led rationalities that were reshaping the landscape around me. The blinking eyes of the metro cast a gaze that made me feel particularly me amid the ruination of the textures of life that were being smoothed out and boxed in, all the while this city, to which I had repeatedly returned, underwent a massive phase of renovation. What of me was I tied to in that shuddering moment, and what of the city? How did my own turn to translingual poetics relate to my readings in “metro” and mass transportation aesthetics, and where do I find myself now, writing in the constrained distances and proximities of Paris in 2020, when movement to and from—and in and around—the city and the continent more broadly has become all the more difficult for many, and nigh impossible for those living without papers.

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Author details

MILNE, ANNA-LOUISE