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Poetics of the New History by Philippe Carrard Review by: Frank Paul Bowman The French Review, Vol. 68, No. 6 (May, 1995), pp. 1080-1081 Published by: American Association of Teachers of French Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/397078 . Accessed: 09/10/2014 16:31 Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of the Terms & Conditions of Use, available at . http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp . JSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researcher
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  Poetics of the New History by Philippe CarrardReview by: Frank Paul Bowman The French Review, Vol. 68, No. 6 (May, 1995), pp. 1080-1081Published by: American Association of Teachers of French Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/397078 . Accessed: 09/10/2014 16:31 Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of the Terms & Conditions of Use, available at  . http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp  . JSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range of content in a trusted digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new formsof scholarship. For more information about JSTOR, please contact support@jstor.org.  .  American Association of Teachers of French  is collaborating with JSTOR to digitize, preserve and extendaccess to The French Review. http://www.jstor.org This content downloaded from 148.223.122.186 on Thu, 9 Oct 2014 16:31:30 PMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions  THE FRENCH EVIEW, ol. 68, No. 6, May 1995 Printed n U.S.A. REVIEWS Literary History and Criticism edited y James P. McNab CARRARD, PHILIPPE. oetics of the New History. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins, 1993. ISBN 0-8018-4254-9. Pp. xxi + 256. $32.95. This study is not a general presentation of the new French historiography, which might be regretted for it covers a considerably wider range of authors and material than does Burke's The French Historical Revolution and particularly pays attention to some of the lesser known figures who have done valuable work, including feminist historians such as Knibielher. Rather, Carrard who clearly knows this rich literature very well does the kind of rhetorical analysis of their historical writing which scholars such as White and Orr have done on earlier texts, studying how they seek to persuade and particularly how they combine in a rather new way the scientific and the literary, appeal to both logic and rhetoric, use both mathematics and figurative language. The study is done with charity and apprecia- tion, for Carrard shares Gossman's conviction that rhetoric in history need not lead to facile and irresponsible relativism. Carrard occasionally shows slight impa- tience with Le Roy Ladurie's use of slang, with the sleight-of-hand use of statistics where French cliometrics leave much to be desired; he is more telling in his criti- cism of a certain lack of self-consciousness in many of the texts studied, where indeed a bit of irony might well make modish pretensions more palatable. Carrard has a thorough knowledge of the products of the New French History, and his command of the critical tools needed for his analysis is excellent; the book is also readable and informative, even when one does not know the texts being discussed. He does an excellent job at showing how these historians reflect the innovative thoughts of a Barthes or a Foucauld. There, one might regret the absence of a fuller analysis of the founding fathers, Febvre and Bloch, but that would be another, more historically-oriented book. On the other hand, he tellingly demonstrates how these historians have set themselves against but remained indebted to the positivist paradigm as exemplified by Langlois and Seignobos. His study of how these historians have shied away from and yet had recourse to narration is very convincing, including what could be caustic remarks about how historical biography has been redefined. The chapter on perspectivee and focali- zation is most convincing, but perhaps the dead horse of our necessary subjectiv- ity, in this instance, might be more fully implemented in terms of the often hidden (or at least not overtly acknowledged) political agenda which characterizes many of these authors (Carrard is excellent in this regard on Furet and on Le Roy Ladurie, but a Agulhon or a Ozouf are equally marked by their political stance). The fourth chapter, on the various ploys used by the writers to make their works both readable and convincing, is most telling, its subtitles (e.g., Rites of quantification ) or sections (the discussion of pretentious titles) occasionally revealing an irony which Carrard always controls with appreciation. This book is an excellent demonstration of how the tools of literary analysis can be used to elucidate texts which are not literature as strictly defined. It also shows that, we have gone a long way since White's pioneering effort, primarily I think by 1080 This content downloaded from 148.223.122.186 on Thu, 9 Oct 2014 16:31:30 PMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions  REVIEWS 1081 moving from a concern with typology and structure to a concern with the arts of communication and persuasion. Carrard convincingly reiterates that no discipline is totally homogeneous, which is the major thrust of the Parallax eries in which his book appears. This is a most useful text for those who take pleasure in reading these new historians, and hopefully for those historians themselves. University of Pennsylvania Frank Paul Bowman HALEN, PIERRE. Le Petit Belge avait vu grand: une itterature oloniale. ruxelles: Labor, 1993. ISBN 2-8040-0875-4. Pp. 398. 895 FB. Halen propose une investigation de l'imaginaire dans la litterature coloniale belge &crite en frangais. La d6marche de l'auteur consiste a discerner des liens entre une dizaine de textes et les circonstances de leur production. Chaque theme abord6 fait d'un aspect de l'existence intime l'indice d'une situation politique et ideologique marquee par la d&ception. Ce constat n6gatif apparait surtout dans l'analyse des histoires d'amour qui vouent invariablement le couple mixte a la separation. L'&chec des projets de vie commune entre un Europben et une Africaine (la combi- naison inverse, un Africain et une Europbenne est rarement envisag&e) renvoie, selon Halen, A '&chec de la colonisation comme processus de fondation sociale. De maniere analogue, r&cits d'aventures, enquetes criminelles, evocation de maladies mettent en valeur un sentiment d'incomprehension r&ciproque, soulignant l'im- possibilite de l'Europeen de s'integrer a la soci6te africaine ou de lui imposer des valeurs occidentales. L'6tude de Halen fait red&couvrir des ouvrages oublies ou mal connus tels que La Termiti&re e Gillks, L'Homme qui demanda du feu de Reisdorff et inclut la paralit- terature. La section consacrbe aux aventures contient des consid6rations tres nu- ancees sur la fonction de la camera dans Tintin au Congo pour repr6senter un colonisateur pacifiste et d6sinteresse dans une Afrique en attente de civilisation. Si l'approche thematique oblige parfois l'auteur a se rep6ter, elle met en relief certains el1ments fondamentaux tels que les lieux privilkgies des activites coloniales. Le jardin d'agr6ment emblkmatise ainsi la puissance acquise et la r6ussite sociale; sa description signale le triomphe de l'ordre et de la civilisation europeenne sur le paysage africain. Mais l'oisivete qui regne dans ce lieu artificiel est egalement like au mode de vie de l'6pouse europbenne, neurasth6nique, incapable de s'adapter au nouveau continent; les cl6tures qui entourent le jardin indiquent le d6sir de se proteger de l'espace environnant. Comme le montre cet exemple, l'approche de Halen se fonde sur la volonte de comprendre plut6t que de juger. Dans ce sens, ce livre s'inscrit dans le sillage du collectif Papier blanc, encre noire: ent ans de culture rancophone n Afrique centrale (Zaire, Rwanda et Burundi) publie sous la direction de Marc Quaghebeur aux editions Labor (1992) et consacre divers aspects de la question coloniale. Dans l'essai de Halen, on aurait cependant souhaite une reflexion theorique sur les problkmes de l'identite et de l'exotisme dans l'6criture coloniale. En outre, le lecteur ne peut s'emp cher de s'interroger sur le r61e de moddles anglais ou frangais dans la construction d'un imaginaire colonial belge. Ces questions feront l'objet d'un prochain ouvrage de Halen qui constituera le compl6ment du Petit Belge avait vu grand. On espere que de tels projets se poursuivront et s'attacheront entre autres a l'image de l'Afrique dans les lettres belges non coloniales et post-coloniales, ou encore a l'examen de contes oraux et de romans africains de la meme 6poque pour This content downloaded from 148.223.122.186 on Thu, 9 Oct 2014 16:31:30 PMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

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