Monstrous fictions: testifying to the Rwandan Genocide in Tierno Monénembo's L'Ainé des orphelins

Syrotinski, M. (2009) Monstrous fictions: testifying to the Rwandan Genocide in Tierno Monénembo's L'Ainé des orphelins. Forum for Modern Language Studies, 45(4), pp. 427-440. (doi:10.1093/fmls/cqp112)

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Abstract

Fiction, in its obliqueness, provides the space to say what history can only say in the mode of a pathos obscuring the ‘truth’ of the event. Trauma narratives feature performative language, which can have good and bad consequences, and maybe ultimately transformative psychotherapeutic ones. Mone´nembo shows us a profoundly traumatised child, whose symptoms match those of children suffering from attachment disorder. His text may not match the sobriety and directness of other texts of the devoir de me´moire project, but rather than stand in for direct testimony, it stands alongside the events. Faustin’s narrative acts out the irreducible ambivalence of all traumatic memorialisation, which can only ever accede indirectly to the event, such that the event proper comes into being only as a kind of originary supplement (cf. Derrida on testimony). Our own devoir de me´moire is to remember that sharing in the work of remembering and mourning is an ongoing collective responsibility.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Syrotinski, Professor Michael
Authors: Syrotinski, M.
College/School:College of Arts > School of Modern Languages and Cultures > French
Journal Name:Forum for Modern Language Studies
ISSN:0015-8518
ISSN (Online):1471-6860
Published Online:27 August 2009

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