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Structuralist Perspectives in Criticism of Fiction

Essays on "Manon Lescaut</I> and "La Vie de Marianne</I>


Patrick Brady

This volume, essentially methodological in orientation, presents a spectrum of French, Russian, and American modes of structuralism. Each approach is extrapolated from a structuralist mode of language theory (Derrida), period style theory (Jakobson, Foucault), information theory (Lotman), linguistics and narratology (Christensen, Ohmann; Barthes, Chatman; Heller and Macris), social anthropology (Lévi-Strauss), psychoanalysis (Lacan), sociology (Goldmann), or archetypology (Durand). Each is situated in relation to earlier work in each of these fields and then demonstrated and tested by means of concrete application to the analysis of two paradigmatic but profoundly different narrative texts of the rococo period: Prévost's Manon Lescaut (1731) and Marivaux's La Vie de Marianne (1731-41). While the main concern is thus a critical examination of the most controversial modern critical perspectives, the study also proposes the first elements of a comprehensive new theory of the rococo.