Annie Ernaux

  • Elizabeth Fallaize
Part of the Women in Society book series (WOSO)


Born in Normandy in 1940 to parents who ran a combined café and grocer’s shop, Annie Ernaux’s writing is strongly marked by her consciousness of her working-class rural background and the chasm between the socio-cultural milieu of her parents, in which she was largely immersed until the age of 18, and that of the left-wing intellectual which she later became. As an adolescent, she dreamed only of escape from the small town of Yvetot; as a writer she returns constantly to it, agreeing eventually with Flaubert, as she ironically remarks in an autobiographical article: ‘In art, Yvetot is as good as Constantinople.’1 She dates her conviction that writing for her had to be about ‘the real’ from the time when she began to teach literature to classes which included many pupils from a background similar to her own:

In the classroom, which I had imagined as a pure space, where the beauty of the text would impose itself on everyone, social and cultural differences were blindingly obvious…l realised that the dream of ‘writing about nothing’, literature as a search for interiority or the expression of metaphysical alienation would no longer ever be acceptable to me. I began at the same time to return to my own history, a return sparked off by the sudden death of my father, in 1967.2


French Woman Female Ancestor Pure Space Maternal Instinct Mouth Wide Open 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Annie Ernaux bibliography

Books and articles by Ernaux

  1. Annie Ernaux, Les Armoires vides (Paris: Gallimard, 1974); Cleaned Out, trans. by Carol Sanders (New York: Dalkey, 1991).Google Scholar
  2. Annie Ernaux, Ce qu’ils disent ou rien (Paris: Gallimard, 1977).Google Scholar
  3. Annie Ernaux, La femme gelée (Paris: Gallimard, 1981).Google Scholar
  4. Annie Ernaux, La Place (Paris: Gallimard, 1983); Positions, trans. by Tanya Leslie (London: Quartet, 1991).Google Scholar
  5. Annie Ernaux, Une femme (Paris: Gallimard, 1988).Google Scholar
  6. Annie Ernaux, Passion simple (Paris: Gallimard, 1991).Google Scholar
  7. Annie Ernaux, ‘Ernaux, Annie’, in Le Dictionnaire: Littérature française contemporaine, ed. by Jérôme Garcin (Paris: Editions François Bourin, 1989), pp. 179–83.Google Scholar
  8. Annie Ernaux, Preface to François Salvaing, Le tour du Tour par trente-six détours (Paris: Messidor, 1990), pp. 11–15.Google Scholar

Books, articles and selected reviews of Ernaux’s work

  1. Alliot, Bernard, ‘Renaudot: Annie Ernaux pour La Place’, Le Monde, 14 November 1984.Google Scholar
  2. Alphant, Marianne, ‘Une femme apparaît’, Libération, 21 January 1988.Google Scholar
  3. Bernstein, Michèle, ‘Annie Ernaux: Souvenirs d’en Normandie’, Libération, 1 March 1984.Google Scholar
  4. Courchay, Claude, ‘L’Infortune d’être femme’, Le Monde, 27 March 1981.Google Scholar
  5. Day, Loraine and Tony Jones, Annie Ernaux: La Place/Une femme, Glasgow Introductory Guides to French Literature, no. 10 (Glasgow: University of Glasgow French and German Publications, 1990).Google Scholar
  6. Day, Loraine, ‘Class, Subjectivity and Sexuality in Les Armoires vides’, in Contemporary French Fiction by Women, ed. by Margaret Atack and Phil Powrie (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1990), pp. 41–55.Google Scholar
  7. Delbourg, Patrice, ‘Annie Ernaux’, Les Nouvelles littéraires, 26 February 1981.Google Scholar
  8. Dumas, Mireille, ‘Une femme dans l’engrenage’, Combat, 13 March 1981.Google Scholar
  9. Ferney, Frédéric, ‘Annie Ernaux: La cérémonie des adieux’, Le Figaro Littéraire, 8 February 1988.Google Scholar
  10. Nourissier, François, ‘Mort et résurrection d’une femme’, Figaro-Magazine, 16 January 1988.Google Scholar
  11. Savigneau, Josyane, ‘Annie Ernaux ou la femme blessée’, Le Monde des Livres, 3 February 1984.Google Scholar
  12. Savigneau, Josyane, ‘Le retour d’Annie Ernaux’, Le Monde, 14 January 1988.Google Scholar
  13. P.M. Wetherill (ed.), La Place, Methuen’s Twentieth Century Texts (London: Methuen, 1987).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Elizabeth Fallaize 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • Elizabeth Fallaize

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