Autofiction, Ethics and Consent: Christine Angot’s "Les Petits"

Shirley Jordan


This article focuses on the problem of ethics in contemporary self-fiction, taking as a case study one of its most distinctively conflictual practitioners, Christine Angot. Angot’s work and its reception are notoriously shot through with instances of violence, abuse and betrayal which may be analysed in diegetic terms, in generic terms, in terms of the interfacing of life on and off the page, and in terms of reader-writer relations. The struggle over how Angot is to be read is, in addition, often violently articulated. The article pursues these conflicts by focusing on the question of consent, a question which has been explored in relation to the central incest narrative of Angot’s work but which, it is argued, has wider applicability. As players in Angot’s universe, protagonists, author and readers are repeatedly brought to consider consent and to declare themselves consenting or un-consenting. Such negotiations bring into exceptionally sharp focus the ethical dimensions which are at stake in self-fiction more generally. Following an introductory analysis of ethics and consent in Angot’s evolving corpus, the article explores these themes through detailed reference to Angot’s 2011 work Les Petits.

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2012 | Revue critique de fixxion française contemporaine |  (ISSN 2033-7019)  |  Habillage: Ivan Arickx |  Graphisme: Jeanne Monpeurt
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