Interrupted Visions: Seeing and Writing the Mediterranean of the Twentieth and Twenty-First Centuries.
Author(s)Winston, Shannon Katherine
Hannoosh, Michele A.
Hayes, Jarrod L.
KeywordsThis Dissertation Is Situated in Francophone Studies, Visual Culture, and Mediterranean Studies
Full recordShow full item record
AbstractSince at least Albert Camus??? novel L'Etranger (1942), vision has been a major element of literary works on and from the Mediterranean. This dissertation seeks to show how the common correlation between seeing and knowing is undone in the works of writers from around the Mediterranean, including: Anna Maria Ortese???s ???Un paio di occhiali??? and L???Iguana, Abdelkebir Khatibi???s La M??moire tatou??e: Autobiograhie d???un d??colonis?? and Triptyque de Rabat, Assia Djebar???s La Nouba des femmes du Mont Chenoua, ???La Femme en morceaux,??? and La Femme sans s??pulture, and Jean-Claude Izzo???s Total Kh??ops. In short stories, novels, and films from 1953 to 2002, modes of seeing that are marked by interrupted vision, in particular, figure the problem of understanding and writing the colonial past and the post-colonial present. Ortese and Djebar employ images of framed vision ??? through eyeglasses, doorways, and narrative frames ??? to write what lies just outside of them, and to highlight what is only partially seen. In Khatibi, one finds the blink and the syncope, which attempt to map visually Morocco???s liminal position as defined by a dynamic of rupture and continuity between the Atlantic and the Mediterranean. Finally, Jean-Claude Izzo focuses on the crime genre as a frame, which allows him to engage with the criminal and ethical problems of France???s desire for cultural homogenization. These works reveal a persistent desire and effort to ???see??? past the constraints of the past and the present, including those of the nation state. In so doing, they create new visual configurations and perceptual networks that imagine and reimagine the twentieth-century Mediterranean as a space defined by contradiction, liminality, and interconnected histories.