Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2015

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


French & Italian

First Advisor

Warren Motte

Second Advisor

Elisabeth Bloomfield

Third Advisor

Valerio Ferme

Fourth Advisor

James Cowell

Fifth Advisor

Kieran M. Murphy


This dissertation explores the dynamic but often overlooked peripheral literature of the French Basque Country, examining the different ways in which space is represented in the contemporary novels of that region. In four chapters focusing on physical, literary, linguistic and narratological spaces, my analysis examines on the work of four authors from Bayonne: Itxaro Borda, Marie Darrieussecq, Marie Cosnay, and Xabi Molia. Using a variety of novels by these four authors, I examine some of the diverse approaches they have taken to those spaces in their work.

At the same time, however, their work also exhibits certain shared characteristics, such as an emphasis on innovation, the desire to challenge convention and blur boundaries, and an interrogation of concepts like identity and the periphery. All four authors question the need to define and categorize, embracing movement and change and, ultimately, raising some important questions: What is space? What is the periphery? What does it mean to be Basque? Like Borda, Darrieussecq, Cosnay, and Molia, I do not endeavor to provide definitive responses, but rather to examine the ways in which the four authors from Bayonne explore those questions through the representations of space in their dynamic and innovative work.