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Call for papers: Colloque international "Faulkner's France / La France de Faulkner"

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Actualité du 21-03-2022 au 21-12-2022

Call for papers for the international colloquium Faulkner's France / La France de Faulkner which will take place on Thursday 13, Friday 14 and Saturday 15 October 2022. Submission deadline: May 30, 2022.

International Colloquium

Faulkner's France / La France de Faulkner

Organized by the UR UPJV 4295 at the University of Picardie Jules Verne

Thursday 13, Friday 14 and Saturday 15 October 2022



Keynote speakers

Prof. Michael Zeitlin, University of British Columbia

Prof. Claude Romano, Paris Sorbonne University

 [Download PDF version]

This third international colloquium organized by UR UPJV 4295 in Amiens, France, at the University of Picardy proposes to examine the special link between William Faulkner and France. The French were among the very first readers of Faulkner, notably thanks to his discoverer, Maurice-Edgar Coindreau, then a professor at Princeton University, who was one of the first translators of Faulkner's novels into French. The Gallimard family contributed to making Faulkner’s work known, publishing his novels about the same time as they appeared in the United States. In the 1940s French intellectuals might have been the first to highlight the universal dimension of Faulkner's work: Sartre, Camus and Larbaud can therefore be counted among Faulkner’s first critics. French universities have made Faulkner a favorite topic since the mid-1970s, thanks to the seminal works of André Bleikasten, Michel Gresset and François Pitavy, published both in French and in English. A conversation about Faulkner, uninterrupted to this day, then started between France and the United States. France was also the first country outside the United States to establish a Faulkner Foundation, located at the University of Rennes from 1994 to 2005. The French phenomenological tradition has recently taken up Faulkner's work, in the wake of Merleau-Ponty, notably through Claude Romano's Le chant de la vie: Phénoménologie de Faulkner (2005). Faulkner is still taught in French universities, thus attracting unflagging attention. What’s more, in the wake of Claude Simon, a number of French writers continue to claim Faulkner as a major source of influence; they include Pierre Michon, Pierre Bergounioux, Philippe Sollers and Franck Bouysse.


But the special bond between France and Faulkner is not one-sided. Faulkner spent more than six months in France in 1925 after publishing his first short stories and his first novel in the United States. He was deeply influenced by Parisian museums, the café culture, and the atmosphere of the Luxembourg Gardens in the aftermath of World War One. He wrote extensively in Paris, soaking up his daily and cultural observations, which are palpable in many later texts. His visit to the battlefields of the Great War also gave a decisive and lasting inflection to his imagination and his writing. Additionally, from his early childhood and throughout his entire life and career there was no corpus of works which Faulkner returned to more routinely or more extensively than that of France, particularly the works of Balzac, Dumas, Flaubert, and Proust, all of whom constitute some of his most profound influences from world literature.


This international colloquium therefore proposes to examine Faulkner’s France, the country that has given William Faulkner pride of place since the 1930s, but also France as Faulkner wrote about it, thought about it, and revisited it in his works, at different stages in his career. S. D. Woodworth’s William Faulkner en France, Panorama critique 1931-1952, was published in French in 1959. The first international colloquium on Faulkner and France was held at the Charles V Institute/University of Paris VII in May 1980; a few years later, it was followed by the collective work Faulkner & Idealism, Perspectives from Paris, co-edited by Michel Gresset and Patrick Samway. The colloquia organized by the University of Picardie Jules Verne (UR UPJV 4295) are therefore part of a long tradition that testifies to the unflagging vitality of Faulkner studies in France.


One common area of interest is the proclivity of French scholars for Faulkner’s language, including its sonic, material, or textual/aesthetic properties. Whilst not beholden to post-structuralist thinkers, critics such as Bleikasten and Gresset, as well as recent and contemporary French scholars, show a unique feel for the texture of Faulkner’s prose. These figures share with developments like the New Formalism and post-critique an appreciation of the activity of reading and our encounter with literature. Arising perhaps from the tradition of commentaire de texte — though in no ways limited to its method — this model has borne richly nuanced readings of Faulkner in ways that suggest a meaningful affinity between his work and a particularly Gallic academic tendency.


Prospective contributors are invited to examine, analyze, illustrate, and attempt to explain the privileged and unlikely link that unites France and a Nobel Prize winner for Literature from the American South. Subjects of interest may include, but are by no means limited to:


Faulkner’s connection to the Hauts-de-France region insofar as it is home to the battlefields of the First World War.

Wider connections to France, to the international image of France, and to global francophone nations / cultures / literary traditions.

Parallels between Faulkner’s work and various traditions within French philosophy, for instance French existentialism, phenomenology, structuralism, deconstruction, etc.

→ Faulkner’s influence from French writers (Balzac, Dumas, Flaubert, Proust, etc.) as well as his influence from and to French writers or writers writing in French, or with French influence globally.

→ The impact of French visual arts on Faulkner’s writing, via his knowledge of, reaction to, and interaction with the works of Cézanne, Rodin, Manet, Degas, Monet, Matisse, Picasso, as well as the architecture of Paris or the artistic treasures from around Europe and the world housed in museums such as the Louvre, and others.

→ Biographical explorations of Faulkner’s time in France, or his attitude to France in subsequent decades.

→ New readings of Faulkner’s representation of France in his 1920s fiction and across his wider oeuvre.

→ New approaches to Faulkner in translation.


Our wish is that this topic will bring together young and seasoned researchers, from France and from all around the world.


Proposals of no more than 500 words should be sent with a short bio/bibliographical note to Frédérique Spill (, Peter Lurie (, Astrid Maes ( and Bernard Joy ( by May 30, 2022.

Limited participation/presentation via Zoom may be available.


Informations pratiques

  • du 21-03-2022 au 21-12-2022





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