Arcana Albright

Andrew W. Mellon Regional Fellow in the Humanities

20102011 Forum on Virtuality

Arcana Albright

Assistant Professor, French, Albright College

Literary Screens: Television Viewed through Contemporary French Fiction

Out of words writers of fiction create virtual worlds. Television, meanwhile, constitutes what Anne Friedberg has aptly called a “virtual window” onto the world. Since the 1980s, cultural critics from Baudrillard to Bourdieu have taken television to task, but how do writers of fiction view this (supposed) rival? Over the past fifteen years, a variety of “TV fictions” has emerged on the literary scene in France. This project examines not only how these fictions characterize television and articulate a postmodern televisual subjectivity, but also the extent to which they appropriate television to esthetic ends, that is, as a vehicle to explore new literary forms. The project also explores how television functions as a screen onto which are projected anxieties, desires, and fears that extend beyond the realm of television.