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Critical Essays on Michel Butor’s «L’Emploi du temps»

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Sudarsan Rangarajan

Michel Butor, one of the earliest exponents of the French New Novel, is known for experimenting with narrative voice (the second-person narration in La Modification), focalization (the changes in narrative perspective in Degrés), and the treatment of genres ( L’Emploi du temps).
L’Emploi du temps (1956) is a quintessential nouveau roman for it is about a novel within a novel. In Critical Essays on Michel Butor’s L’Emploi du temps, Sudarsan Rangarajan examines the different aspects of the novel from a postmodern perspective. Engaging contemporary theorists – Sartre, Foucault, de Man, and Prince among others – the essays encompass diverse areas: narratology, rhetoric, genre studies, existentialism, and postcolonialism. From the analysis of the beginnings and the function of narratees to the study of rhetoric, the journalistic discourse, the hybridization of the detective and the Gothic genres, the figure of the flâneur, and postcolonialist concepts (the elite and the subaltern), the essays provide new insights into one of the greatest twentieth-century novels.

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Appendix II 157

Extract

Appendix II Part 1: A Chronology of Key Events in L’Emploi du temps Jacques Revel arrives in Bleston on October 1, but begins his diary seven months later. The date of narration given below is the first time the event is narrated. Page numbers are given in parenthesis. Event Date of Date of occurrence narration Jacques Revel arrives in Bleston (9). October 1 May 1 First meeting with Horace Buck (24–25). October 6 May 13 First meeting with Ann Bailey. Buys maps from her (40). October 11 May 20 First visit to the Jenkinses (50–52). October 20 May 28 Visits the Old Cathedral, collides with a young woman October 21 May 29 (Rose Bailey) and falls (54). Second visit to the Jenkinses. Notices Mme Jenkins’ ring October 27 May 30 with a live fly. Buys Le Meurtre de Bleston (56–57). First visit to the Bleston Museum of Fine Arts (69–71). November 3 June 4 Conversation with the Priest at the Old Cathedral (72–81). November 4 June 5–7 Dinner at the Oriental Bamboo with James who November 6 June 10–11 paraphrases the first lines of Le Meurtre (Revel’s first meal at the restaurant) (88–92). Lunch at the Jenkinses. Mme Jenkins is offended by November 11 June 12 Revel’s remarks on the New Cathedral (94). Second meeting with Horace Buck (95–99). November 11 June 13 Leaves the hotel, and moves into Mme Grosvenor’s November 18 June 20 house; first visit to the New...

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