Music and Metafiction: Creative Reading in Le cahier de romances
Creole and French lyrics to romantic ballads color Raphaël Confiant’s autobiographic portrait of boyhood in Fort de France, Martinique in Le cahier de romances (2000). The narrator and author figure, Raphaël, delights in the sonorous pleasure of listening to sung and spoken Creole. He also discovers a delectable refuge in reading French novels. Le cahier shows how vicarious experiences, like appreciating music and reading, cause pleasure by momentarily suspending reality. In addition to provoking pleasure, representations of writing, reading, and song also problematize aspects of Martinican society, such as racial and linguistic hierarchies. I argue that the way in which vicarious experiences inspire Raphaël to question his childhood space convert them from simple pleasures into forms of joy. Confiant reveals that creating and appreciating music and literature are not merely an evasion of reality but rather constitute a transformative reimagining of the past and the present. Intertextual representations of reading in Le cahier de romances invite us to creatively interpret the complex relationship between different vicarious experiences and Martinican society as represented in the novel.
**Join us Tuesday from 1-2 p.m. in room 202 of 220 York. A light, catered lunch will be provided.**
Sarah Piazza is currently working on a doctorate in Comparative Literature at Yale University. She earned her Master of Philosophy in Spanish from Yale’s Department of Spanish and Portuguese in 2013. Her prospectus examines uses of popular music in Francophone and Hispanic Caribbean novels. She is delighted to learn about the interdisciplinary intersections of Performance Studies thanks to PSWG!