Writing in reverse: Archiving the future in Mercier's Van 2440

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In Van 2440, Louis-Sébastien Mercier invents a new kind of historian who is capable not only of recounting and critiquing the past, but also of embedding himself in the politics of the present to shape the trajectory of the future. To illustrate this point, I focus on three elements of the novel: the "nouveaux testamens," or the journals kept by French citizens in the future; the un-numbered section "L'éclipse de lune"; and the lengthy footnotes that divide the page, the story, and the narrator, creating the illusion of a dialogue between present and future.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)35-47
Number of pages13
JournalFrench Review
Issue number2
StatePublished - Dec 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Cultural Studies
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Education
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Literature and Literary Theory


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