Is it possible to reread the entire sweep of French literature from a world perspective? Recasting French literary history in terms of the cultures and peoples that interacted both within and outside of France's national boundaries, this volume offers a new way of looking at the history of a national literature, along with a truly global and contemporary understanding of language, literature, and culture.
Questions concerning the relationship between France's territorial center and its extraterritorial peripheries are crucial to contemporary discussions of Francophonie. Boldly extending these and related questions to a whole range of French literature, the essays in this volume explore spaces, mobilities, and multiplicities from the Middle Ages to the present. They rethink literary history not in terms of national boundaries, as traditional literary histories have done, but in terms of a global paradigm that emphasizes border crossings and encounters with "others." Contributors offer new ways of reading canonical texts and considering other texts that are not part of the traditional canon. By emphasizing diverse conceptions of language, text, space, and nation, they offer a model approach that remains sensitive to the specificities of time and place and to the theoretical concerns that inform the study of national literatures in the twenty-first century.