The Migrant Canon in Twenty-First-Century France


The Migrant Canon in Twenty-First-Century France

Oana Sabo

210 pages


April 2018


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eBook (PDF)
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April 2018


$50.00 Add to Cart
eBook (EPUB)
Ebook purchases delivered via Leaf e-Reader

April 2018


$50.00 Add to Cart

About the Book

The Migrant Canon in Twenty-First-Century France explains the causes of twenty-first-century global migrations and their impact on French literature and the French literary establishment. A marginal genre in 1980s France, since the turn of the century “migrant literature” has become central to criticism and publishing.

Oana Sabo addresses previously unanswered questions about the proliferation of contemporary migrant texts and their shifting themes and forms, mechanisms of literary legitimation, and notions of critical and commercial achievement. Through close readings of novels (by Mathias Énard, Milan Kundera, Dany Laferrière, Henri Lopès, Andreï Makine, Éric-Emmanuel Schmitt, Alice Zeniter, and others) and sociological analyses of their consecrating authorities (including the Prix littéraire de la Porte Dorée, the Académie française, publishing houses, and online reviewers), Sabo argues that these texts are best understood as cultural commodities that mediate between literary and economic forms of value, academic and mass readerships, and national and global literary markets. By examining the latest literary texts and cultural agents not yet subjected to sufficient critical study, Sabo contributes to contemporary literature, cultural history, migration studies, and literary sociology. 

Author Bio

Oana Sabo is an assistant professor of French at Tulane University.


"The Migrant Canon is well researched and written in a style that is genuinely engaging. This study of the interplay of national, global, and literary issues should interest all scholars of literature in French."—D. L. Boudreau, Choice

"Students and scholars of the Migrant Novel and of Francophone literature will read this book with great interest. This book is especially valuable for Sabo's impressive lists of Migrant Novels. These lists, which are included in various chapters, can readily be translated into reading lists for students. . . . This book is a welcome addition to French and Francophone studies."—Felisa Vergara Reynolds, H-France

"Sabo's book proposes original avenues for understanding contemporary French literature at a time of transition: the field is increasingly heterogeneous, heteroglossic, and interdisciplinary, and its commercial expansion and viability are accelerated by a rising number of translations from and into French. This ambitious study raises complex and timely questions in informed and perceptive ways."—Patricia-Pia Célérier, French Studies

"The Migrant Canon is a must-read for scholars of migration, French and francophone literature, of postcolonial studies, and of global (literary) studies."—Julianna Blair Watson, Modern Philology

“An elegant, rigorous, intellectually invigorating examination of migrant literature, a genre that has worked its way from the margins to the center of cultural debate in recent years. Sabo asks crucial questions about art, society, and nation.”—Warren Motte, College Professor of Distinction at the University of Colorado Boulder and author of Mirror Gazing

“Drawing on a rich corpus of translingual and migrant writing, Oana Sabo provides a compelling analysis of how recent literature in French has addressed questions of contemporary mobility. She focuses on editorial practices, reception, and forms of literary consecration in order to investigate the emergence of a remarkable body of writing that the terms ‘Francophone’ and ‘postcolonial’ can no longer fully contain. This is a subtle and searching study that will prove invaluable for scholars and students alike.”—Charles Forsdick, James Barrow Professor of French at the University of Liverpool

“This study will rock the boat and become a source of reference. . . . It constitutes a major contribution to the field of francophone studies, cultural studies, postcolonial studies, and global studies. It will serve as a springboard for scholars and teachers of the francophone field as they make their selections of texts and authors. It is original, well-researched, and timely.”—Martine Natat Antle, McCaughey Chair of French Studies at the University of Sydney

Table of Contents

Introduction: The French Literary Field in the New Millennium
1. Production: Publishing Houses and Their Marketing Practices
2. Reception: Online Readers in the Global Literary Marketplace
3. Consecration: The Prix littéraire de la Porte Dorée and Its Migrant Archive
4. Canonization: Dany Laferrière at the Académie française
Conclusion: French Migrant Literature in a Global Context

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