Distinctly Narcissistic: Diary Fiction in Quebec
Published: December 1993© 1993
320 Pages, 6.14 x 9.21 in
Distinctly Narcissistic is a study of diary fiction written in Quebec between 1878 and 1990. Valerie Raoul explores the social and ideological context in which diary fiction occurs, and the relation in Quebec, between the diary form and (de)colonization. Many of the works she considers have received little critical attention until now.
Raoul bases her study on a psychoanalytic theory of narcissism. Building on the structure developed in her earlier book, The French Fictional Journal (1980), she analyses the interaction of self, time, and writing in diary fiction, extending her approach to take into account the cultural context of the works concerned. The theory of narcissism serves as a framework for the treatment of topics as varied as feminine superiority in Laure Conan’s early work, cerebral misogyny in narratives by men, ambivalent gender identities, and the recurring metaphor of giving birth to the self through the book.
In re-examining parallels between individual and collective psychology as well as between gender and ethnicity, Raoul provides new insight into the specificity of Quebec fiction and the relation of fiction to autobiography.