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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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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


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 1 When Patrick Modiano published his debut novel, La Place de l’Étoile, in 1968,2 one of the many things that contributed to the impact he made was the sheer number of allusions, references and quotations contained in the work. Perhaps not surprisingly, given the success of its predecessor, the follow-up text, La Ronde de nuit,3 can be seen to continue in much the same vein. From the very title of the book onwards, the cultural clins d’œil quickly accumulate, and the harder the reader concentrates on the narrative itself, the more the extent of the intertextual borrowing becomes clear. André Billy, Albert Camus, Rembrandt van Rijn, Sacha Stavisky, Paul Verlaine – these are just some of the various and varied sources who have already been identified. Numerous others have yet to be revealed, such as Emmanuel Berl, whose insistence, in his review of La Place de l’Étoile,4 that ‘beaucoup de fées se sont penchées sur le berceau de P. Modiano’ has been self-mockingly remodelled to give: ‘Toutes les fées se sont penchées sur mon berceau. Elles avaient bu sans doute’ (RN 74). Recognizing this 1 I gratefully record my indebtedness to the Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland, whose award of a generous research grant allowed this article to come to fruition. 2 Patrick...

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