In seven highly autobiographical French novels from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, fiction brings to real life a simple resolution. These novels plot to kill a female character based on a woman in the author's life, a person who was still alive when the novel was published.
Because these novels both depend on and radically diverge from autobiographical reality, they are uniquely instructive about the nature of fiction itself. Reading the life stories in relation to the plots, Mortimer brings into sharp critical focus plot, plotting, and the plotable. Always interesting, often revealing, this probing analysis of a special type of autobiographical fiction, with its distinctive treatment of real and fictionalized women, will stimulate and entertain the reader.
La porte étroite, Alain-Fournier's
Le grand Meaulnes, Radiguet's
Le diable au corps, and Beauvoir's
New York, Bern, Frankfurt/M., Paris, 1991. XIV, 222 pp.
Contents: Critical reading of autobiographical fiction - Plot, plotting, the plotable - French realistic novels: Staël, Corinne
(1807); Constant, Adolphe (1816); Gide, L'immoraliste (1902) and La porte étroite (1909); Alain-Fournier,
Le grand Meaulnes (1913); Radiguet, Le diable au corps (1923); Beauvoir, L'invitée (1943).