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Weeks 8-9

Core Reading

Ferrari, J., Où j'ai laissé mon âme (Arles: Actes Sud, 2010) [please buy the Actes Sud 'Babel' edition at approx. €7]

Advance preparation for seminar discussion

Week 8

  1. Summarize the plot.
  2. Consider the role of the text's formal features, in particular the use of structural divisions and italicized parentheses (throughout and notably pp. 147-9).
  3. Consider and be ready to discuss the variability of narrative perspective and narrative voice.
  4. Identify key character traits of Degorce, Andreani and Tahar.*
  5. Discuss the relationship between Degorce and Andreani within and across its different phases.
  6. Examine and discuss the portrayal of the French army.
  7. How does the text situate the events it depicts in Algeria within a broader historical narrative of decolonization?

Week 9

  1. How effective a technique does the text suggest torture to be?
  2. What are the effects of having tortured on (a) Degorce and (b) Andreani? How does the text stage a comparison between the two in this regard?
  3. How do these two principal characters differ in the way they relate to family and friends?
  4. Discuss the thematization of language, truth and lying in the text.
  5. Consider the function(s) of religion and religious discourse in the text.
  6. How do you account for the title?
  7. Read Todorov's article and discuss in relation to key episodes or ideas from the text.*

(* indicates topic of student presentation)

Further Reading

  • Alerini, P., 'Jérôme Ferrari, Où j'ai laissé mon âme', Essaim 29, 2 (2012): 177-181. Accessible through CAIRN via this link.
  • Branche, R., La Torture et l'armée pendant la guerre d'Algérie (Paris: Gallimard, 2001). See here.
  • Droz, B. & Lever, E., Histoire de la guerre d'Algérie (1954-1962) (Paris: Seuil, 1982). See here.
  • Evans, M., Algeria: France's Undeclared War (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012). See here.
  • Lhote, F. 'La Guerre d'Algérie aujourd'hui, entre "temps commémoratif" et fiction: Où j'ai laissé mon âme (2010) de Jérôme Ferrari', French Studies Bulletin 36, 137 (2015): 83-86. See here.
  • Stora, B., La Gangrène et l'oubli: la mémoire de la guerre d'Algérie (Paris: La Découverte, 1991). See here.
  • Scarry, E., The Body in Pain: The Making and Unmaking of the World (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1985). See here.
  • Todorov, T., 'La torture dans la guerre d'Algérie', Le Débat 5, 122 (2002): 102-108. Accessible through CAIRN via this link.
  • Trinquier, R., La Guerre moderne (Paris: Economica, 2008), in particular pp. 51-87. See here.
  • Vidal-Naquet, P., La Torture dans la République (Paris: Minuit, 1972). See here.
  • Villatoux, P. and M.-C., La République et son armée face au péril subversif : guerre et action psychologiques en France, 1945-1960 (Paris: Les Indes savantes, 2005), in particular pp. 493-528. See here.

Other material

Interview with Jérôme Ferrari by Olivier Barrot ('Un livre, un jour', 2010). To access click here.

Interview with Jérôme Ferrari by Jean-Étienne de Linares and Olivia Moulin (27 June 2011) available via this page.

Lecture slides

Slides from Week 8 and Week 9.