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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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Acknowledgements

Extract

I should like to thank Manuel Bragança, Michel Déon, Dominique Jeannerod, and Richard Lewis, for their continuing help and sensible advice on this book over the years it took to prepare it. Thanks are also due to my son, Mark, who gave technical help with the diagrams, and to my wife, Barbara, who stoically bore the brunt of isotopic speculation over the long period necessary for the preparation of this book. I should also like to express my thanks to the editorial team at Peter Lang, in particular to Hannah Godfrey and Alessandra Anzani for their help with the manuscript. I should finally like to thank Queen’s University Belfast for financial help with the preparation of this book.

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