Peer-Reviewed Journal Details
Mandatory Fields
Patrick Crowley
Studies In Travel Writing
‘Traces of Empire: Travel and Jean-Paul Kauffmann’s Allegories of Confinement’,
Optional Fields
Jean-Paul Kauffmann is a travel writer whose work obliquely interrogates his long and difficult confinement as a hostage in Beirut from May 1985 to 4 May 1988. His work engages, in part, with sites and traces of French imperialism that sponsor a reflection upon confinement and freedom and on a self that is ruptured from the past and in search of the reparative. This article examines traces of French colonialism within Kauffmann's work, tracking them, in particular, in La Maison du retour (2007). It is argued that his engagement with the colonial is a self-limiting, if paradoxically doubling, discursive exploration that moves not towards an oppressed other but towards cultural verticality that might offer a connection across the void of his crushing experience, and gravitational pull, of confinement. His work offers a restricted form of microspection that, understandably, shores up the self.
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