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Cercle de Lectures - The handbag, the trunk and the bundle

Novelistic passepartouts and travel accessories

18:30 - 20:00
18:30 - 20:00
Cité Auditorium (3, rue Genistre)

Free entrance


In French

What do we pack in our kit bag when we set sail? What role do "travel accessories" play in the economy of the crossing? What tale is told by all these objects that accompany migrants when they cross the Mediterranean, the Atlantic or the Alps – literally or metaphorically? What exactly is the purpose of the compasses, the binoculars, the maps, the suitcases that weigh down travellers while still enabling them to find their way on the other side? In other words, what do we bring with us from the world of yesterday into the world of today and tomorrow? Photos, talismans, mementos, or just ineffective nostalgia? What traces remain – concrete or symbolic – of the loss, the shadow cast by a paradise lost?

The suitcase (or trunk or kit bag) is used to carry our most precious belongings, in terms of objects and memories. The map helps us find our way in the selva oscura or the jungle of the New World. The sextant and the compass enable us to find our bearings when we are disorientated – in other words, to find the Pole Star when we've lost our way. But once we bring them into literature, all these objects weigh more than their own weight, which is measurable and adjustable. For more information, we question travellers of all sorts, migrants and holiday-makers, whom a string of novelists, artists and filmmakers have enabled to set sail. Robinson Crusoe, of course, but also his distant cousins – Eugène Ionesco's Man with Bags, David Albahari's Snow Man, Franz Kafka's The Man who Disappeared and Negar Djavadi's Disoriental. 

Register here

(Due to the current health crisis, the capacity at our events is limited. Therefore, if after registering you are unable to attend, we kindly invite you to contact us as soon as possible by e-mail ( so that we can free up your space for others).

In accordance with the health instructions related to the Covid-19 pandemic, access to this event is placed under the 2G+ regime of the CovidCheck regulations.

Cercle Cité, in collaboration with Corina Ciocârlie

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