This article analyzes a trend in the prose texts of French writers of Iranian origin, based on close readings of Chahdortt Djavann, Comment peut-on être français? (How Can One Be French? 2006), and Ladane Azernour, Les larmes de l'exil: L'Iran confisqué (The Tears of Exile: Iran Confiscated, 2004). The article argues that new orientalism in France comes from the “natives” only, and can thus be considered as “self-orientalism” according to Edward Saïd's term. It uses the term native to point out the paradox of the new orientalist writers' discourse: they proclaim their Iranian origins and their witnessing of contemporary Iran, while they dissociate themselves from other Iranians. The article shows that new orientalism is tied with an “emulative” type of occidentalism, as opposed to a “revisionist” type. Such an emulative form of occidentalism is very close to an interiorized orientalism, erecting the West as a model and reproducing orientalist stereotypes. French new orientalist narratives are characterized by their simplified version of Islam, their construction of a polarized vision of the world, and the proclamation of their preference for the West. Emphatically othering characters and places, these narratives suggest that understanding between Iranian and French peoples has become impossible after the Islamic revolution. The autobiographical literary form helps to construct such a discourse because it makes it almost impossible to question the lived experiences. One of the purposes of this article is to point out the potential danger in publishing more new orientalist narratives, which for now are scarcely represented in the Franco-Iranian literary panorama.

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