n French Studies in Southern Africa - L'écriture autobiographique comme herméneutique du soi dans les contextes interculturels : J.M.G. Le Clézio, Ken Bugul et Amélie Nothomb




This article considers three autobiographical and autofictional texts, Ken Bugul's (1996), Amélie Nothomb's (1999), and J.M.G. Le Clézio's (2004) as a hermeneutics of the self in an intercultural context. How do these literary narrations contribute to our own understanding of the challenges of intercultural exchanges? A close reading of the texts in the light of the hermeneutical theories of Hans-Georg Gadamer and Paul Ricoeur brings to the surface the dialectics of the self and the other when the narrators are immersed in a culture different to their own. Vince Marotta's idea of an intercultural subject, open to the other and embracing a hybrid and fluid identity is also explored. Three questions are asked: what were the preconceptions about the other culture held by the protagonists before their arrival in the foreign country, how did the protagonists experience their first encounter with the other and how did this experience of a different culture change their understanding of themselves and of the other? The conclusion of the article draws attention to the reader's own comprehension of interculturality.


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