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Jean-Xavier Ridon

Professor of French and Francophone Studies, Faculty of Arts

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Research Summary

My research focuses more specifically on how contemporary discourses of travel are adapting themselves to postcolonial awareness. This allows me to question how the traveller's position helps us to… read more

Recent Publications

  • RIDON, J-X, 2015. "J.M.G. Le Clézio - inappropriation et diversalité" The Irish Journal of French Studies. 15, 7-24
  • RIDON, J-X, 2015. J.M.G. Le Clézio et Édouard Glissant: pour une poétique de la trace" Contemporary French and Francophone Studies. 19, 81-97
  • RIDON, J-X, 2015. In: Exotisme et Altérité, Segalen et la Polynésie: "Segalen et l'autre impossible" Honoré Champion.

Current Research

My research focuses more specifically on how contemporary discourses of travel are adapting themselves to postcolonial awareness. This allows me to question how the traveller's position helps us to understand the ways a "Western subject" is being built and negotiated outside a hegemonic form of representation. Two ways to achieve this is, firstly, to take into account travels that are not just taking place in the western "exotic" other by Westerners but also by travellers coming from other cultural contexts (Asia, Africa); secondly by using documents based on the way the traveller is being perceived.

Past Research

  • My first monograph Henri Michaux, J.M.G. Le Clézio, L'exil des mots (Paris, Kimé, 1995) was an adaptation of my PhD dissertation. My corpus consisted of poems and novels revolving around the same question: how one can find a way of representing the Other without resorting to Western hegemonic narratives? I was explaining Henri Michaux' and Le Clezio's fascination for certain cultures (Indian, Mexican, South American) in order to understand the relationship that is established between their writings and "otherness.
  • My second monograph, Le Voyage en son miroir (Paris, Kimé, 2002) was more specifically studying contemporary travel narratives and how they are adapting themselves to postcolonial awareness. I was analysing the way some 20th century French and Francophone authors tried to find new ways to imagine and practice travel and the consequences in terms of representation. From Isabelle Eberhardt to Jean Baudrillard I was following different ways to reimagine travel. This book has been well received and I have consequently been invited to several international conferences (Britain, France, Italy and China) on the subject of travel narratives. Most notably, in 2004 I was invited to give the keynote lecture at Borders and Crossings: An International and multidisciplinary conference on travel writing at the University of Birmingham.
  • On the strength of my two previous monographs, I was commissioned in January 2006 by the Association pour une Collection d'Etudes Littéraires (ACEL, Switzerland) to write a book on the Swiss author Nicolas Bouvier and in particular on his travel narrative Le Poisson-Scorpion (1981). The monograph was published in September 2007 by Zoé in Geneva and was the first of a new "Collection Littéraire" devoted entirely to the study of Francophone authors. While analysing questions of interculturality and intertextuality, the book examines how Bouvier redefines the concept of exoticism and challenges the boundaries that exist between documentary and fiction.
  • My fourth monograph was entitled L'Étrangement du voyageur. It is a theoretical study on the many forms of cultural exchanges and negotiations that take place between the traveller and his/her host within a postcolonial context. I analyse travel narratives and films in which the traveller does not have complete control over his representation and where he can no longer define himself through his spatial practices. The traveller and his host occupy shifting positions and I am using the figure of the "stranger" in order to analyse these positions. As such I show how travel can become a critical practice which unveils the hidden ideologies of each of the places discovered. I examine cultural objects in which the meeting ground does not reproduce the relations of domination and subordination that we usually find between the traveller and the host. Indeed the texts and films I am using do not take place within a colonial context and rather identify a different mode of representation for the Other's voice. I use a wide range of literary and visual texts from Georges Picard's travel book in L'Eure-et-Loir to Stéphane Breton's film documentary, Eux et moi, about his stay with a tribe in New Guinea. My publisher Kimé in Paris has expressed interest for the project and is willing to publish it in 2017.

I have also edited the following books:

Européens qui sommes-nous?(Co-edited with N. Laporte and A. Mével) Pau, Presses Universitaires de Pau, 2012, 158 pages. 2-35311-033-9.

La Langue de l'autre, (Co-edited with S. Bonnemason-Richard, N. Laporte) Pau, Presses Universitaires de Pau, 2009, 116 pages. ISBN: 2-35311-014-2

Nouvelles lectures de l'exotisme, Actes de la première journée d'études Nottingham-Pau (Co-edited with Elodie Laügt), The University of Nottingham, 2005, 72 pages. ISBN 0-85358-185-1

Errances Urbaines. Editor for Special issue of Nottingham French Sudies, Volume 39, number I, Spring 2000, 125 pages. ISSN 0029-4586

Chapters in books:

"Jean Baudrillard et Edouard Glissant: lecture croisée et contradictoire de Victor Segalen" will be published in Victor Segalen, ce qui n'a pas été dit, Paris, Champion, 2019.

"Sylvain Tesson, l'extrême comme nostalgie" will be published in Voyages Extrêmes, Paris, Editions Minard (forthcoming 2019).

"Victor Segalen - Écrire sur les traces et la question de l'informe" will be published in Victor Segalen, Paris, Passages (forthcoming 2019).

"Au fil du temps: Gadjo Dilo entre voyage, mémoire et deuil" in

Voyages. Edwin Mellen (forthcoming 2019).

"Segalen et l'autre impossible", in Exotisme et Altérité, Segalen et la Polynésie, Cahiers Segalen, Paris, Honoré Champion, 2015, pp. 81-97.

ISBN 978-2-7453-2899-1

"De la Déterritorialisation à la Relation : 'Lost in Space'" in C. Albert, A. Kourouma (eds) Déterritorialisation effet de mode ou concept pertinent?, Pau, Presses de l'Université de Pau et des pays de l'Adour, 2013, pp 47-57. ISBN: 2-35311-034-7

"La place de la culture rom au sein de la communauté européenne" in Européens, qui sommes-nous? (Co-edited with N. Laporte and A. Mével, J-X Ridon) Pau, Presses Universitaires de Pau, 2012, pp. 147-158. ISBN 2-35311-033-9.

« Segalen, Glissant, Le Clézio et l'ambiguïté insulaire » in Le Clézio, Glissant, Segalen: la quête comme déconstruction de l'aventure, Chambéry, University de Savoie, 2011, pp. 171-183. ISBN: 978-2-919732-02-9

"Littérature-Monde, or Redefining Exotic Literature?" in Transnational French Studies, Postcolonialism and Littérature-monde, Liverpool, University of Liverpool Press, 2010, pp. 195-209. ISBN 978-1-84631-483-4

"L'île perdue: entre invisibilité et nostalgie" in Le Clézio à la croisée des arts et des cultures, Rennes, Presses Universitaires de Rennes, 2010, pp. 75-91. 978-2-7535-1107-1

"Sans Soleil de Chris Marker et la parole de l'autre" in La Langue de l'autre, Actes du premier colloque Europe, (Co-edited with S.Bonnemason-Richard, N. Laporte) Pau, Presses Universitaires de Pau, 2009, pp. 107-116. ISBN 2-35311-014-2

"Elizabeth Vonarburg: pour une redéfinition du voyage spatio-temporel" in Redefining the Real, The Fantastic in Contemporary French and Francophone Women's Writing. Bern: Peter Lang, 2009, pp. 159-172. ISBN 978-3-03911-567-9

"La folie du lieu" in Aesthetics of Dislocation in French and Francophone Literature and Art. Lewiston: The Edwin Mellen Press, 2009, pp.117-129.

"Chris Marker and the Ghost of the Image" in Haunting Presence, Ghosts in French Literature and Culture. Cardiff: University of Wales Press, 2009, pp. 106-115.

ISBN 978-0-7083-2181-2

"Le voyageur et la négociation de l'étrangeté" in Dérives et déviances, Paris: SEDES, 2005, pp. 93-102.

"Le Clézio et la parole cachée" in Lectures d'une Oeuvre J.-M.G. Le Clézio, edited

by S. Jollin-Bertocchi et B. Thibault. Nantes: editions du temps, 2004, pp. 119-132.

ISBN 2-84274-301-6

"Pour une poétique du voyage comme disparition" in Autour de Nicolas Bouvier edited by C. Albert, N. Laporte, J-Y Pouilloux. Genève : Zoé, 2002, 120-35.

ISBN 2-88182-446-3

"Henri Michaux" 6000 words entry for Dictionary of Literary Biography edited by J.F Leroux, Volume 258, Bruccoli Clark Layman Book, 2002. ISBN 0-7876-5252-0

"Antonin Artaud et la culture des Indiens Tarahumaras" in Colloque Littéraire international: Les écrivains de Marseille. (N. Nivelle/J-C Latil eds.) Marseille: Marseille : Editions Académie Europe XXI, 2001, pp.110-21.

"Segalen et l'espace blanc de la carte" in Victor Segalen: Reading Diversity, Lectures du divers, Glasgow University Press, 2000, 89-101. ISBN 0-85261-659-7

"Maryse Condé et le fantôme d'une communauté inopérante." Francophonie et identités culturelles. Paris: Editions Karthala, 1999, 213-226. ISBN 2-86537-929-9

Articles:

"De la mystique contre-culturelle à un ailleurs écologique" will be published in Revue critique de fixxion contemporaine", n*16, 2018.

« Bouvier et le quatuor cingalais, ou les ambivalences de la « magie » », Viatica, Hors-série n°1, octobre 2017, mis en ligne le 27/09/2017, URL : http://viatica.univ-bpclermont.fr/bouvier-intermediaire-capital/ii-recits-images-traductions/bouvier-et-le-quatuorcingalais-ou-les-ambivalences-de-la-magie

"J.M.G. Le Clézio - inappropriation et diversalité" in The Irish Journal of French Studies, Volume 15, 2015, pp. 7-24. ISSN 1649-1335

"J.M.G. Le Clézio et Édouard Glissant : pour une poétique de la trace." Contemporary French and Francophone Studies, Volume 19, Issue 2, 2015, pp. 146-154.

"Foreword" in Charles Manfield (ed.), Narrative and the Built Heritage, VDM Verlag, 2011. ISBN 978-3639277333

"Lenteur et étrangeté", in Lettres Modernes Minard, série Voyages contemporains, 2010, 11-32. ISBN 978-2-256-91157-6 (09/10)

"Escribir desde los Màrgenes." Letras Libres, Noviembre 2008. (Translation of the article "Écrire les marginalités" publié dans le Magazine Littéraire.

"Le voyage et l'absence: Nicolas Bouvier et le Poisson-Scorpion" in Nouvelles Lectures de l'exotisme, University of Nottingham, 2005, 40-52.

"Henri Michaux: un voyage au pays des signes." Vives Lettres, n˚ 13, 2002.

"Héritage et archive de la marge." Critique, n˚ 646, mars 2001, 224-231.

"Un barbare en banlieue" in Nottingham French Sudies, Volume 39, number I, Spring 2000, 25-38.

"Écrire les marginalités." Magazine Littéraire (février 1998), 39-43.

"J.M.G. Le Clézio: between here and there, a displacement in memory." World Literature Today , 71.4 (Autumn 1997), 717-722.

"Mémoire, récit et contamination dans La Fée carabine de Daniel Pennac." L'Esprit Créateur, 37.3 (Fall 1997), 50-60.

"La carte postale ou l'impossible discours amoureux." Dalhousie French Studies, 22 (Spring-Summer 1992), 111-119

"André Breton face au mythe de la femme-enfant." The French Quarterly, 39 (August 1992), 311-316.

"Le Passage ou l'architecture du devenir." Paroles Gelées, 10 (1992), 39-49.

Future Research

  • My next monograph will be a key output from my project on counter-culture and travel narratives.This project will raise similar questions to those asked in my Silk Road project but these will be approached from a mainly literary and film context.
  • Starting with the protest movements of the 60s, counterculture can be defined as the ideological stance taken by a generation which rejected the dominant values of capitalism (rationality vs passion/ science vs experience and practice/materialism vs spirituality). As part of a youth culture it also puts forward an idea and practice of nomadism as oppose to the sedentary. Even though writers and ethnographers (Michaux, Levi-Strauss) announced in the mid 20th century the "end of travel" the counter culture of the 60s re-appropriated the idea of travel as a source of freedom, as a form of escape from a materialist world, but also as a search for new experiences and a confrontation with otherness. Was it just another form of Orientalism or Primitivism or did it actually offer new ways to think the relationships between the West and Asia?
  • RIDON, J-X, 2015. "J.M.G. Le Clézio - inappropriation et diversalité" The Irish Journal of French Studies. 15, 7-24
  • RIDON, J-X, 2015. J.M.G. Le Clézio et Édouard Glissant: pour une poétique de la trace" Contemporary French and Francophone Studies. 19, 81-97
  • RIDON, J-X, 2015. In: Exotisme et Altérité, Segalen et la Polynésie: "Segalen et l'autre impossible" Honoré Champion.
  • RIDON, J-X, 2014. Le Poisson-Scorpion de Nicolas Bouvier Infolio.
  • RIDON, J-X, 2013. “De la Déterritorialisation à la Relation : ‘Lost in Space’”. In: Déterritorialisation Presses Universitaires de Pau. (In Press.)
  • RIDON, J-X, LAPORTE, NADINE and MÉVEL, A., eds., 2012. Européens qui sommes-nous? Presses Universitaires de Pau.
  • RIDON, J.-X., 2011. Segalen, Glissant, Le Clézio et l’ambiguïté insulaire. In: CAVALLERO, C., ed., Le Clézio, Glissant, Segalen: la quête comme déconstruction de l’aventure Université de Savoie. 171-183
  • RIDON, J.-X., 2010. L'île perdue: entre invisibilité et nostalgie. In: LÉGER, T., ROUSSEL-GILLET, I. and SALLES, M., eds., Le Clézio, passeur des arts et des cultures Presses Universitaires de Rennes. 75-91
  • RIDON, J.-X., 2010. Littérature-monde, or redefining exotic literature?. In: HARGREAVES, A.G., FORSDICK, C. and MURPHY, D., eds., Transnational French studies: postcolonialism and Littérature-monde Liverpool University Press. 195-209
  • RIDON, J.-X., 2010. Lenteur et étrangeté. In: ANTOINE, P., ed., Voyages de la lenteur Lettres Modernes Minard. 11-32
  • RIDON, J-X, 2009. “Chris Marker and the Ghost of the Image”. In: Haunting Presence, Ghosts in French Literature and Culture University of Wales Press. 106-115
  • RIDON, J-X, 2009. “La folie du lieu”. In: Dislocation in French and Francophone Literature and Art The Edwin Mellen Press. 117-129
  • RIDON, J-X, 2009. “Elizabeth Vonarburg: pour une redéfinition du voyage spatio-temporel”. In: Redefining the Real, The Fantastic in Contemporary French and Francophone Women’s Writing Peter Lang. 159-172
  • RIDON, J-X, LAPORTE, NADINE and BONNEMASON-RICHARD,S, eds., 2009. La Langue de l’autre Presses Universitaires de Pau.
  • RIDON, J.-X., 2007. Le Poisson-Scorpion de Nicolas Bouvier Carouge-Genève: Editions Zoé.
  • RIDON, J-X., 2005. Le voyageur et la négociation de l'étrangeté. In: DUBOIN, C., ed., Dérives et déviances [volume 1] Paris: SEDES. 93-102
  • RIDON, J-X., 2005. Le voyage et l'absence: Nicholas Bouvier et le Poisson-Scorpion. In: LAÜGT, E. and RIDON, J-X., eds., Nouvelles lectures de l'exotisme: Actes du premier colloque Nottingham-Pau Nottingham : University of Nottingham. 40-52
  • LAUGT, E. and RIDON, J-X., eds., 2005. Nouvelles lectures de l'exotisme: Actes du premier colloque Nottingham-Pau Nottingham : University of Nottingham.
  • RIDON, J-X., 2004. Le Clézio et la parole cachée. In: Lectures d'une Oeuvre: J.-M.G. Le Clézio Versailles : Editions De l'UVSQ. 119-132
  • RIDON, J-X., 2002. Le voyage en son miroir: essais sur quelques tentatives de réinvention du voyage au 20e siècle Paris: Kimé.
  • RIDON, J-X., 2002. Henri Michaux (6000 word entry). In: Dictionary of Literary Biography: Modern French Poets 258. Detroit, MI : Bruccoli Clark Layman Books (BCL).
  • RIDON, J-X., 2002. Pour une poétique du voyage comme disparition. In: ALBERT, C., LAPORTE, N. and POUILLOUX, J-Y., eds., Autour de Nicolas Bouvier: Résonances Carouge-Genève: Éditions Zoé. 120-135
  • RIDON, J-X., 2001. Héritage et archive de la marge Critique. 57(646), 224-231
  • RIDON, J-X., 2001. Antonin Artaud et la culture des Indiens Tarahumaras. In: NIVELLE, N. and LATIL, J-C., eds., Colloque Littéraire international: Les écrivains de Marseille Marseille: Editions Académie Europe. 110-121
  • RIDON, J-X., ed., 2000. Errances Urbaines, including an introduction, p 1-6 and a chapter, 'Un barbare en banlieue', pp 25-38: Special Issue of Nottingham French Studies, 39.1 Nottingham : University of Nottingham.
  • RIDON, J-X., 2000. Segalen et l'espace blanc de la carte. In: FORSDICK, C. and MARSON, S., eds., Victor Segalen: Reading Diversity, Lectures du divers Glasgow : Glasgow University Press. 89-102
  • RIDON, J-X., ed., 2000. Errances urbaines: Special Issue of Nottingham French Studies, 39.1 Nottingham : University of Nottingham.
  • RIDON, J-X., 1999. Maryse Condé et le fantôme d'une communauté inopérante. In: ALBERT, C., ed., Francophonie et identités culturelles Paris: Editions Karthala. 213-227
  • RIDON, J-X., 1998. Ecrire les marginalites Magazine Littéraire. ISSUE 362, 39-43
  • RIDON, J-X., 1997. Between Here and There: A Displacement in Memory World Literature Today. VOL 71(NUMBER 4), 717-722
  • RIDON, J-X., 1997. Memoire, recit et contamination dans La Fee Carabine de Daniel Pennac L'Esprit Créateur. VOL 37(NUMBER 3), 50-60
  • RIDON, J-X., 1995. Henri Michaux, J.M.G. Le Clézio : l'exil des mots Paris : Kimé.

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