JAMES, Alison

Présentation / Presentation

Alison James is Associate Professor of French at the University of Chicago. She is the author of Constraining Chance: Georges Perec and the Oulipo (Northwestern University Press, 2009) and of The Documentary Imagination in 20th-Century French Literature (forthcoming with Oxford University Press in 2020). In addition to publishing articles on the Oulipo group, the contemporary novel, representations of everyday life, nonfiction narrative, and connections between literature and philosophy, she has edited journal issues on “Forms of Formalism” (L’Esprit créateur 48.2, 2008), “Valère Novarina” (with Olivier Dubouclez, Littérature, no. 176, 2014), and “Fieldwork Literatures” (with Dominique Viart, Revue critique de fixxion française contemporaine, no. 18, 2019). With Christophe Reig, she co-directed the volume Frontières de la non-fiction: littérature, cinéma, arts (Presses Universitaires de Rennes, 2013). She is the co-founder (with Françoise Lavocat and Akihiro Kubo) of the International Society for Fiction and Fictionality Studies/Société internationale de recherches sur la fiction et la fictionnalité (ISFFS/SIRFF).

À propos du hasard / About chance (publications)

  • Constraining Chance: Georges Perec and the Oulipo (Northwestern University Press, 2009)
  • “Reflets et représentations: Richard Rorty et Clément Rosset face à la littérature.” Littérature, no. 147 (2007): 99–114.
  • “Aleatory Poetics.” Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics, Fourth Edition, edited by Roland Greene and Stephen Cushman. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2012.
  • “Randomizing Form: Stochastics and Combinatorics in Postwar Literature.” In Palgrave Handbook of Literature and Mathematics, edited by Alice Jenkins and Robert Tubbs. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. Forthcoming.

dans ALEA / in ALEA

  • (With Sébastien Wit) Atelier de travail de l’équipe XXe siècle: 18 juin 2019, Université Sorbonne Nouvelle / 21 mars 2020, University of Chicago Center in Paris

perspectives sur le hasard / on chance

“Human beings cannot imitate chance” (“L’homme ne peut imiter le hasard”), asserts the French writer Raymond Queneau, in a 1946 article that attempts to debunk the “myth of the documentary” as direct mimesis. Chance operates here as a boundary concept, defining a limit of thought, of human capacities, and of representation. Queneau casts it as an irreducible aspect of the real that cannot be recorded. Generally speaking, the claim that literature and art must banish chance have as their counterpart this idea that chance is the unrepresentable. Yet chance and design, as many have noted, sometimes seem to converge in their results. Controversies over the definition and role of chance are in fact at the heart of debates over artistic and literary creation in the twentieth century… [Read more]

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