Performing the Pied-Noir Family: Constructing Narratives of Settler Memory and Identity in Literature and On-Screen sheds new light on the memory community of the pieds-noir from the Algerian War (1954-1962) as it continues to resonate in France, where the subject was initially repressed in the collective psyche. Aoife Connolly draws on theories of performativity to explore autobiographical and fictional narratives by the settlers in over thirty canonical and non-canonical works of literature and film produced from the colony’s imminent demise up to the present day. Connolly focuses on renewed attachment to the family in exile to facilitate a comprehensive analysis of settler masculinity, femininity, childhood, and adolescence and to uncover neglected representations, including homosexual and Jewish voices. Connolly argues that findings on the construction of a post-independence identity and collective memory have broader implications for communities affected by colonization and migration. Scholars of literature, film, Francophone studies, and film studies will find this book particularly useful.
Aoife Connolly is lecturer of French studies at Technological University Dublin.
Chapter 1: Camus, Meursault, Daru, Cormery: The First Pied-Noir Men
Chapter 2: Performing French Algerian Femininity
Chapter 3: Performing Pied-Noir Masculinity
Chapter 4: Performing Childhood and Adolescence through French Algerian Narrators
About the Author
Connolly shows how the self-representations of the settler populations who fled to France when Algeria became independent have changed over time, with the topos of hypermasculinity foregrounded during the colonial period becoming tempered by a wider and more complex range of gender roles. She shines valuable new light on these developments by examining a large body works by familiar and lesser known writers and filmmakers, greatly expanding and nuancing our understanding of this field. The twists and turns seen since independence are brought skilfully into focus by mapping them onto ongoing revisions in the reputation of colonial Algeria’s most famous writer, Albert Camus.
Using the family as a prism through which to view constructions of identity by pied-noir authors, Connolly’s wide-ranging analysis makes an engaging and intellectually rigorous contribution to the academic literature on this important postcolonial community. This thoughtful and historically-contextualised deconstruction of narratives via the categories of masculinity, femininity and youth adds welcome nuance to our understanding of a community that is frequently essentialized. Connolly’s study highlights previously marginalised voices without reifying these or ignoring the congruences between their perspectives and those of the wider pied-noir community.