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Isotopias

Places and Spaces in French War Fiction of the Twentieth and Twenty-First Centuries

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Peter Tame

This monograph is the first book to examine places and spaces in French war fiction of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. These places and spaces are presented as literary isotopias, or fictional «worlds», and analysed in a selective corpus of thirty-three novelists and forty-two examples of war fiction. The book identifies and classifies the various types of isotopia that appear in fiction in the form of scenes, images or literary microcosms. The author establishes four isotopic modes – possession, dispossession or loss, alienation, and repossession – by which means the isotopias are expressed. The spaces considered include territorial demands, gains, possessions, losses and national spaces, as well as internal mental spaces.
The corpus of novels selected for this project covers a wide variety of examples of fictional worlds: the spiritual, the marginal, the regional, the ideological, the psychological, the erotic, the ecological and the political. The methods of analysis identify these worlds, demonstrate both how they function in relation to the characters in the novels and how they affect the reader, and provide further illumination on the intentions, achievements and ideologies of the characters and of the novelists concerned. One of the findings of the study is that the greater the stress of war and conflict the more authors and characters tend to seek refuge in their imaginary (isotopic) worlds.

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Illustrations/Figures Figure 1: The art-reality-art cycle: A two-dimensional view 6 Figure 2: The overlapping of isotopias 7 Figure 3: Isotopian circles 11 Figure 4: The art-reality-art cycle and the temporal dimension: A three-dimensional view 14 Figure 5: Isotopic or modal cycle of possession 20 Figure 6: The Cévennes in France 97 Figure 7: Les Cévennes (north): Detailed view 98 Figure 8: Socio-political circles in Marcel Aymés Uranus 435 Figure 9: Palimpsest – Metalepsis 445

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