French Forum (Journal)

  • Helena Duffy (Guest editor)

Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial workEditor of research journal


The Holocaust in French Literature: 1997-2017

This special issue of French Forum aims to bring together contributions on the representations of the Holocaust in French and Francophone literature that have become available in the last two decades. Twenty years ago Patrick Modiano published his hybrid text Dora Bruder which heralded a proliferation of French-language novels addressing the Shoah in a way that has been reflective of the recent developments in historical understanding, philosophy and literary theory. Among the authors who have recently written about the Holocaust are Soazig Aaron, Pierre Assouline, Laurent Binet, Philippe Claudel, David Foenkinos, Yannick Haenel, Fabrice Humbert, Jonathan Littell and Arnaud Rykner. Far from being a homogenous group, these writers include contemporaries of the survivors’ children and those who, without necessarily having a ‘familial’ relationship to the Jewish tragedy, have been seen as part of the ‘third generation’. Likewise, if some writers have adopted a pan-European perspective on the Shoah, others have been focussing more narrowly on the Vichy regime’s anti-Semitic policies and the horrors of the deportation. Finally, these authors’ level of engagement with postmodern historiography and aesthetics varies significantly. Notwithstanding these differences, the special issue is hoping to cast some light upon the impetus behind the French writers’ renewal of interest in the Holocaust over the last twenty years, and to identify recurring themes and narrative strategies. We welcome contributions engaging with the work of a single author as well as comparative approaches, including articles analysing contemporary writings in conjunction with earlier fiction. Articles may pertain to either the aesthetics or the thematics of Holocaust literature, to the critical reception thereof, or to the ethics of literary figurations of the Shoah.
Type of journalJournal


  • Holocaust
  • French literature
  • postmodernism