Scholarly Book Project

My research is situated at the intersections of World Literature, French and Francophone Studies, and Creative Writing. I’m interested in literature as an embodied experience and the ways in which different forms of translation—linguistic, cultural, and perceptual—shape narrative possibilities. My book project, Sensing the World Within: Synesthesia and the Global Imagination in Francophone Literature, offers a new way of understanding intertexuality and adaptation in Francophone literature: rather than looking at the ways in which entire narratives are rewritten, this project examines fleeting and seemingly inconsequential synesthetic instances—scenes, tropes, and fragments—that are vital to the narratives they tell. Just as synesthesia is the crossing between the senses, Sensing the World Within shows the rich crossings of worlds already present within Francophone literature and argues for heeding these moments that demand both careful attention and close reading within a broader literary framework. For example, one chapter shows how Moroccan writer Abdelkbir Khatibi’s La Mémoire tattouée: autobiographie d’un décolonisé draws on Japanese literature and the haiku in order to imagine Morocco’s position within the Mediterranean. In Sabrina Kherbiche’s La Suture, the figure of a glass cage—which inspires imagery of seeing and touch—echoes Sylvia Plath’s famous imagery of The Bell Jar, which becomes an important intertextual reference in this story about mental health and anorexia. Another chapter discusses Hélène Cixous in relation to Clarice Lispector. This project also considers Francophone writer Ryoko Sekiguchi’s poetic work Manger fantôme in conversation with Vladimir Nabokov’s The Gift to explore how the synesthetic intersections of touch, vision, and taste figure one’s sense of identity and geography. While there has been much discussion about how to define both “the world” and “literature” in World Literature Studies, this project argues that World Literature already exists within Francophone literature, which must be read comparatively in order to understand the ways in which it is shaped by texts beyond its cultural and colonial borders.