A False Document? Andreï Makine's Le Testament français and the Postmodern Theory of History. / Duffy, Helena.

In: Irish Journal of French Studies, Vol. 14, 2014, p. 137-159.

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A False Document? Andreï Makine's Le Testament français and the Postmodern Theory of History. / Duffy, Helena.

In: Irish Journal of French Studies, Vol. 14, 2014, p. 137-159.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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@article{ac741417ac7743cab4d134d5de59de01,
title = "A False Document? Andre{\"i} Makine's Le Testament fran{\c c}ais and the Postmodern Theory of History",
abstract = "Written in French and set largely in the Soviet Union during Thaw and Stagnation, Andre{\"i} Makine's Le Testament fran{\c c}ais (1995) narrates the story of a Russian boy piecing together French history from multifarious sources. By exposing the openness of documents to interpretation, the absence of objective and rigorously scientific accounts of the past, the possibility of various and potentially contradictory emplotments of the same historical data, and the need for the past to be narrativized, Makine's award-winning novel illustrates many tenets of the postmodern theory of history and has much in common with the genre of historiographic metafiction as theorized by Linda Hutcheon. However, while being concerned with the hermeneutics and validity of archival traces Makine's award-winning novel breaks — for political reasons, as the article argues — with the paradigm observed in postmodern historical novels: instead of conservatively using documents to demonstrate radically their unreliability, it uses them to construct an ideologically-driven and largely reactionary historical account whose key objective is to replace Russia on the world's political map in response to the USSR's collapse and the correlated decline of its authority over its former sphere of influence as well as of its say over world affairs.",
keywords = "Andrei Makine, Historical documents, Postmodernism, Historiographic metafiction, Postmodern philosophy of history, Russia",
author = "Helena Duffy",
year = "2014",
language = "English",
volume = "14",
pages = "137--159",
journal = "Irish Journal of French Studies",

}

RIS

TY - JOUR

T1 - A False Document? Andreï Makine's Le Testament français and the Postmodern Theory of History

AU - Duffy, Helena

PY - 2014

Y1 - 2014

N2 - Written in French and set largely in the Soviet Union during Thaw and Stagnation, Andreï Makine's Le Testament français (1995) narrates the story of a Russian boy piecing together French history from multifarious sources. By exposing the openness of documents to interpretation, the absence of objective and rigorously scientific accounts of the past, the possibility of various and potentially contradictory emplotments of the same historical data, and the need for the past to be narrativized, Makine's award-winning novel illustrates many tenets of the postmodern theory of history and has much in common with the genre of historiographic metafiction as theorized by Linda Hutcheon. However, while being concerned with the hermeneutics and validity of archival traces Makine's award-winning novel breaks — for political reasons, as the article argues — with the paradigm observed in postmodern historical novels: instead of conservatively using documents to demonstrate radically their unreliability, it uses them to construct an ideologically-driven and largely reactionary historical account whose key objective is to replace Russia on the world's political map in response to the USSR's collapse and the correlated decline of its authority over its former sphere of influence as well as of its say over world affairs.

AB - Written in French and set largely in the Soviet Union during Thaw and Stagnation, Andreï Makine's Le Testament français (1995) narrates the story of a Russian boy piecing together French history from multifarious sources. By exposing the openness of documents to interpretation, the absence of objective and rigorously scientific accounts of the past, the possibility of various and potentially contradictory emplotments of the same historical data, and the need for the past to be narrativized, Makine's award-winning novel illustrates many tenets of the postmodern theory of history and has much in common with the genre of historiographic metafiction as theorized by Linda Hutcheon. However, while being concerned with the hermeneutics and validity of archival traces Makine's award-winning novel breaks — for political reasons, as the article argues — with the paradigm observed in postmodern historical novels: instead of conservatively using documents to demonstrate radically their unreliability, it uses them to construct an ideologically-driven and largely reactionary historical account whose key objective is to replace Russia on the world's political map in response to the USSR's collapse and the correlated decline of its authority over its former sphere of influence as well as of its say over world affairs.

KW - Andrei Makine

KW - Historical documents

KW - Postmodernism

KW - Historiographic metafiction

KW - Postmodern philosophy of history

KW - Russia

UR - http://www.ingentaconnect.com/contentone/irjofs/ijfs/2014/00000014/00000001/art00008

M3 - Article

VL - 14

SP - 137

EP - 159

JO - Irish Journal of French Studies

JF - Irish Journal of French Studies

ER -