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Narratives of French Modernity

Themes, Forms and Metamorphoses- Essays in Honour of David Gascoigne


Edited By Lorna Milne and Mary Orr

Inspired by the work of their colleague David Gascoigne, a group of scholars from the UK and France examine in this book the narrative strategies of some of the most interesting and important French writers of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Stretching chronologically from 1905 to 2005, the volume examines a wide variety of prose genres, from pornography to Bildungsroman to magic realism, as well as poetry. Michel Tournier figures in several of the contributions, emerging as something of a touchstone for many of the thematic preoccupations that are common throughout the period: values and authority, self and other, identity, spirituality, migration and exile, sexuality, the body, violence and war, and language. The authors also examine the flourishing of intertextuality, as well as the use of traditional forms, such as mythical structures and the ‘robinsonade’, to undermine authoritative ‘métarécits’. Probing these themes and forms, and their metamorphoses across 100 years, the essays demonstrate a striking degree of continuity, linking writers as different as Apollinaire and Houellebecq or Valéry and Fleutiaux, and highlight the difficulty of dividing the period neatly into chronologically ordered categories labelled ‘modern’ or ‘postmodern’.


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Contents - v


Contents Acknowledgements ix Lorna Milne and Mary Orr Introduction 1 Ian Higgins A Void to Avoid a Void 39 Peter Read Apollinaire’s Voluptuous Calvary: Lexical Fields, Generic Conventions and Narrative Space in Les Onze mille verges 47 Michael Tilby Céline, Invective and the Dismantling of Narrative: Casse-pipe 67 Michael Kelly Mounier Multivocalist: Towards a Multiple Articulation of the French Experience of Black Africa 85 Robin MacKenzie The Rhetoric of the Border in Julien Gracq’s Le Rivage des Syrtes 107 Alan Morris The Mémoires of Doctor Lamballe and Mister Swing Troubadour: Echoes of Vidocq and Robert Louis Stevenson in Patrick Modiano’s La Ronde de nuit 123 vi Anne Chevalier L’Enfance perturbe et fertilise le récit dans la littérature française du vingtième siècle : l’exemple de Chamoiseau 139 David Evans ‘On transporte avec soi une espèce de gouf fre’: Textual Spaces and Literary Heritage in Michel Houellebecq’s Poésies 153 Mairi Maclean Tournier and his Intellectual Milieu: Narratives of Modernity 175 Paul Gif ford Footprint in the Sand: Tournier’s Re-Writing of Paul Valéry in Vendredi ou les limbes du Pacifique 191 Susan Bainbrigge ‘Terre d’asile, terre d’accueil’: Explorations of the Robinsonade in Pierre Mertens’s Terre d’asile 215 Mary Orr The Metamorphoses of Forms in Tournier’s Roi des Aulnes and Pierrette Fleutiaux’s Métamorphoses de la reine 229 Lorna Milne Deep Space: A Sojourn in the Salt Mines with Michel Tournier and Marie Nimier 251 Alain Goulet Les Nuits de Sylvie Germain et le pari...

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