The College warmly congratulates current graduate student Hannah Scheithauer who has been announced as the winner of the prestigious R. Gapper Postgraduate Essay Prize for her essay ‘Cycles of Violence and Fictions of the ‘Grey Zone’ in Jérôme Ferrari’s Où j’ai laissé mon âme (2010)’.

The prize is awarded for an essay of outstanding merit at postgraduate level. The winning essay is deemed to be exceptionally distinguished work for that level: critically or theoretically sophisticated, intellectually adventurous, original in its approach and expressed in sophisticated and elegant English or French.

Hannah said: ‘I’m delighted to have been awarded this important postgraduate prize by the Society for French Studies for a piece relating to my ongoing doctoral research. This recognition comes as a huge motivation as I enter the final stages of the thesis-writing process, in which I will tackle the challenge of bringing together a range of contemporary works of literature in both French and German. I’m so grateful to everyone who has supported my work – at Queen’s, in Oxford, and beyond!

My essay considered Jérôme Ferrari’s 2010 novel Où j’ai laissé mon âme [Where I Left my Soul], which relates the downfall of a former hero of the French Resistance as a perpetrator of torture during the Algerian War of Independence. The novel’s example allowed me to ask how literary texts navigate the fraught intersection of memories relating to National Socialism on the one hand, and colonial histories of violence on the other. More specifically, I explored the currency of the notion of a moral ‘grey zone’ in recent memory studies, commending its ability to accommodate ethical ambivalence while simultaneously acknowledging that it is vulnerable to being misappropriated in a way which flattens the ethical terrain on which historical violence plays out.’