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Abstract: Reyns-Chikuma

“Playing with the m/paternity rights in two crossover pieces of literature: And Tango Makes Three and
in its translation/adaptation Tango a deux papas et pourquoi pas?”

In 2005 came out a book for young readers (ages 4 to 8) titled And Tango Makes Three conceived and written by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell, and illustrated by Henry Cole. The back cover avoids any explicit reference to the subject of the book, such as gay family/‘homoparentalité’ because these words could shock, and indeed did shock…. some... in the US. Five years later, Beatrice Boutignon published Tango a deux papas et pourquoi pas? The format of the French book, which is actually standard for the children books, is identical to the American one (hardcover; same length, height, thickness, made of 32 pages of glossy paper). One could then believe that it is a translation of the American edition. However, although the two books are inspired by the same ‘fait divers’, real and as reported in
the newspapers such as The New York Times, and although it relates the same story, in my presentation I will show that the two versions ‘perform’ different literary facts. By modifying some textual and paratextual elements [introduction of a “I”; cover, drawings], the French author
tries to help the readers to accept ‘l’homoparentalité’; however, as the many successful anti-gay-marriage demonstrations show, this piece of French crossover literature is still inscribed within a traditional frame [two parents/one child ; republican universalism’] which limits the impact of its ‘progressive’ ‘adaptation’.

Talk by Christian Reyns-Chikuma (University of Alberta) 

Friday, October 31, 2014 at 3:00pm in CHD420