Narrating the “I” Versus Narrating the “Isle”: Life Histories and the Problem of Representation On Corsica

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Book Chapter

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This chapter explores the social context of first-person narrative on the French island of Corsica. It focuses on the politics of self-representation in Corsican texts. While some may have set out to write an “ethnic autobiography, " for others, the ethnic dimension may have been subordinate to the urge to recount a particular life or to give artistic voice to the universal, rather than the particular. The attachment to the island is also intensified by a collective history of departure: since the beginning of this century, Corsicans have crossed the sea to seek education and employment on “the continent” or in the French colonies. Susini’s work is criticized because it cuts too close to the bone: it lays bare the cracks in the collective image of exile and cultural continuity that are far from invisible to other returning Corsicans. The text that represents only one individual consciousness is also politically defective, according to Culioli.

Publication Title

Auto/ethnography: Rewriting the Self and the Social

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