The Author: Heather Williams read Modern Languages (French) at St. Hilda’s College, Oxford, and has held posts at the Universities of Oxford, Nottingham and Aberystwyth. She is currently Pilcher Senior Research Fellow at the University of Wales Centre for Advanced Welsh and Celtic Studies. She has published widely on Mallarmé and on the representation of Brittany in French literature.
Postcolonial Brittany: Literature between Languagesby Heather Williams
This book investigates the space between the two languages of modern-day Brittany through a series of close readings of literary texts that represent Brittany or Bretonness in the French language. This is the space that is negotiated by translation, be it a smooth translation of Breton scenes and themes into a French fit for the salons of the capital, or a foreignizing translation of Breton motifs into a French that writhes and struggles to accommodate them. It is also the space negotiated by the bilingual author who writes in the shadow of the other language: the literary conventions of one may litter his work in the other, or the idioms and syntax of one may make their ghostly presence felt in the other. But it can equally be a space of violence as in the case of the writer whose whole community has lost its mother tongue, and writes under protest in the language of the cultural oppressor or colonizer. As the first sustained analysis of the literature produced between French and Breton, this book shows us how literary language is affected by such inter-cultural tensions, and also what it can mean to be caught between cultures.
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