Returned to sender: writing back to a literary precursor

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


The present analysis brings to bear for the first time the intertextual relationship fostered by the Vietnamese-French author, Linda Lê, with the late Austrian poet-turned-writer, Ingeborg Bachmann, in Lê’s reworking of the novel Malina (1971). In particular, this discussion makes evident the extent of the influence of Bachmann’s text on Lettre morte (Dead letter, 1999), which I contend can be read as a phantasmagorical returned letter to a literary precursor. After Gudrun Kohn-Waechter, I view Malina as a fictional, unsent letter. As such, I make an intertextual reading of the novel with Lettre morte, which presents as an intimate epistle of resistance and a communication with the dead; while the narrator writes in apology to her deceased father, I claim that she is simultaneously writing back in homage to a late literary forebear–Ingeborg Bachmann.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationGenre, text and language
Subtitle of host publicationmélanges Anne Freadman
EditorsVéronique Duché, Tess Do, Andrea Rizzi
Place of PublicationParis
PublisherClassiques Garnier
Number of pages29
ISBN (Print)9782812437946
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • Intertextuality
  • literary forebear
  • Linda Lê
  • Ingeborg Bachmann


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