Rewriting rewriting

Marguerite Duras, Annie Ernaux, and Marie Redonnet

by Cathy Jellenik (Author)
©2007 Monographs X, 211 Pages


Although the storytelling of any time rewrites itself, rewriting became a primary concern in the literature of the twentieth century, an era characterized as having quoted, reenacted, cannibalized, revised, redone, refurbished, and outright plagiarized the texts of earlier times. The modern obsession with literary reiteration manifests itself in a rather unique way in the narratives of Marguerite Duras, Annie Ernaux, and Marie Redonnet. These authors systematically and repeatedly rewrite their own texts, and in so doing, give evidence of three of the more salient aspects of twentieth-century French literature: a trend toward the representation of multifaceted selves, a desire to reevaluate the literary paradigm, and an acute concern for the unreliability of language. This book argues that the rewriting performed by Duras, Ernaux, and Redonnet moves beyond the tacit rewriting that occurs in any text toward a renovation of various features of the literary arena within which they circulate. Cathy Jellenik argues that all writing contains rewriting – an argument grounded in the theoretical apparatuses of Saussure, Bakhtin, Benveniste, Barthes, Kristeva, and Derrida. She then examines and interrogates the ways in which Duras, Ernaux, and Redonnet use rewriting to question and rethink the literary traditions they inherit. Jellenik suggests that the rewriting projects of Duras, Ernaux, and Redonnet promise to lead them, and their readers, toward the creation of a new literary aesthetic capable of responding to the questions of our times.


X, 211
ISBN (Hardcover)
Publication date
2007 (August)
Wiederholung Modernism Duras, Marguerite Rewriting Criticism Twentieth Century French Literature Literary Theory Female Author
New York, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, Oxford, Wien, 2007. X, 211 pp.

Biographical notes

Cathy Jellenik (Author)

The Author: Cathy Jellenik received her Ph.D. in twentieth-century French literature from The University of Colorado, Boulder, where she studied with Professor Warren Motte. She is the author of «Redonnet Redoes,» published in the Journal of Contemporary French and Francophone Literature, and is currently working on a manuscript addressing «minor literature» in twentieth-century France. She is Assistant Professor of French at The Citadel in Charleston, South Carolina.


Title: Rewriting rewriting