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Solitude and the Quest for Happiness in Vladimir Nabokov’s «American Works» and Tahar Ben Jelloun’s Novels

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Bernard R. Périssé

Not only do the two writers discussed in this book both display exceptional artistic ability to express their thoughts in a foreign language (neither English in Vladimir Nabokov’s case, nor French in Tahar Ben Jelloun’s, is the author’s native tongue) but these two writers share many other concerns. Both deal with the theme of alienation in its various manifestations: immigration; the moral solitude of common or upright individuals; madness and other irrational behaviors; and women’s condition in society. The quest for happiness is at the core of Nabokov’s and Ben Jelloun’s respective works, but the solutions proposed by these two novelists highlight important differences regarding their views of life.