Conceptualizing peripheral urban literature in France and Brazil

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This paper is founded on the premise that, while banlieues and favelas do not share the same history, architecture or demography, their residents experience similar forms of stigmatization and these prompt comparable responses from writers. The comparison between French ‘banlieue narratives’ and Brazilian ‘marginal–peripheral literature’ offers an important insight into how literature produced inside vulnerable communities looks at itself and is perceived by the gatekeepers of literary institutions, and what strategies are available to writers who wish to destigmatize disadvantaged neighbourhoods. The article starts with a comparison of urban development in France and Brazil before it discusses both countries’ respective literary traditions and ways of conceiving urban and literary margins. Finally, a range of key strategies equally relevant to both contexts are discussed. The conclusion sheds light on what is universal about the experience and on the literary representation of urban disadvantage.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)46-62
Number of pages17
JournalRomance Studies
Issue number1-2: Banlieue Narratives: Voicing the French Urban Periphery
Early online date12 Jun 2018
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • banlieue
  • destigmatization
  • favela
  • Marginal literature
  • urban periphery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Literature and Literary Theory


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