From Ireland to René Maran
It is in the Gard that Roger Little, an Irish fervent lover of French literature leads a still active career as a passionate researcher. He is the author of numerous publications and director of the collection "Authorously Same" (L'Harmattan). Having devoted several major studies to him, Roger Little is certainly the most specialized specialist in René Maran .
“We are too suspicious in France of foreign tastes. They could at least serve as an indication. One should, it seems, consider that the foreigner, placed outside the Parisian coteries, outside the influence of an often slave and rarely disinterested criticism, goes naturally to the most important efforts, to works whose beauty seems to him the newest and least debatable. […] He goes towards what is lacking in his country and only contemplates with love the unforeseen works. »
Roger Little, former holder of the chair of French (1776) at Trinity College Dublin, the oldest in the world, pursues two lines of research: modern French poetry and the representation of black people in French-language literature. He is the author of works on Apollinaire, André Frénaud, Lorand Gaspar, Rimbaud, Saint-John Perse , The Shaping of Modern French Poetry; White Negroes: Representations of the Other Other, Between Totem and Taboo: Black Man, White Woman in Francographic Literature .
How do you like to introduce yourself?
As discreetly as possible.
What is your initial training?
What reader are you?
Portrait of a writer
How long have you been writing?
Since I was young.
What made you want to write?
How long have you been publishing?
Since the 1950s.
What made you want to publish?
What genre do you like to write the most?
Poetry and critical studies.
In your job as a writer, what brings you the most?
The satisfaction of sharing.
Why this interest in René Maran?
In 1977, when Saint-John Perse was put on the aggregation program, my interventions were very much in demand in France because no one had seriously worked there when I had already published two books on him. Without Maran being on the program today, it's just like .
The “Otherly same” collection
What is the editorial line of the collection?
This collection presents in reissue texts that cannot be found outside specialized libraries, have fallen into the public domain and which deal, in writings of all genres normally written by a white writer, with blacks or, more generally, with the Other. Exceptionally, with the gracious agreement of the rights holders, it welcomes texts protected by copyright, even unpublished. Foreign texts translated into French are obviously not excluded. It is therefore a question of making available to the public a rather neglected aspect of postcolonial discourse (in the broad sense of this term: that which covers the period since the installation of overseas settlements). The choice of texts is made first of all according to the intrinsic and historical qualities of the work, but also takes into account the importance to be given to it in the contemporary perspective. Each volume is presented by a specialist who, while favoring a liberal perspective, highlights the historical, sociological, psychological and literary interest of the text.
Why did you commit to this collection?
The absence of reissues of little-known and yet enlightening works on a whole section of French history and current events relating to black people. The difficulty of obtaining the original edition of such books in Ireland.
What do you mean through it?
That racism, born of a history of violence and contempt, always present slyly and even openly in French society, is inadmissible and above all harmful to the living together of a society.
Who is she talking to ?
To any open mind.
Photo credit: Robin Bowers