The Dynamics of Time and Space in Recent French Fiction: Selected Works by Annie Ernaux, Patrick Modiano, Jean Echenoz and Marie Darrieussecq
Griffiths, Claire H.
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AbstractThis thesis investigates the ways in which literary texts negotiate spatio-temporal movements and how, through the nature of narrative, they may offer models for expressing the lived experience of time and place. The theoretical framework traces developments in philosophies of time and space beginning with Henri Bergson’s concepts of duration and simultaneity. The desire to portray both of these informs Gilles Deleuze’s study of cinema to produce his writings on the image-temps and image-mouvement which highlight the constant change undergone in moving through space and time which he defines as différence. The transformative nature of our relationship with the space around us and the agency of the body in that transformation is seen by Deleuze as a positive creative force and one which demands a continual deterritorialisation and reterritorialisation evidenced in the literature studied. Henri Lefebvre further interrogates the importance of the body in the production of space and contributes to the debate around the creation of place and non-place taken up by Michel de Certeau, Edward Casey and Marc Augé, whose work on supermodernity articulates concerns about the absence of place at the end of the twentieth century. These theories provide a backdrop for a close reading of the literary texts published between 1989 and 2017. Each of the four authors selected interrogates spatio-temporal connections in their work and, in order to model our lived experience at the turn of the millennium they experiment with form, genre and language and raise questions about the formation, location and stability of the self. Patterns of repetition and rewriting in the works of Annie Ernaux and Patrick Modiano engage with non-linear approaches to narrative and problematize duration, stasis and the construction and accessibility of memory. The novels of Jean Echenoz explore non-places and liminal spaces in ways that suggest possibilities for the future of fiction and Marie Darrieussecq questions the centrality of the body in defining the self and its agency in creating place. My findings suggest that the desire to comprehend and mirror the lived experience of time and space motivates the literary project of the selected authors and that the nature of narrative, in its openness and fluidity, can replicate and respond to some of the anxieties around time, place and non-place at the end of the 20th and beginning of the 21st centuries.
CitationGarvey, B. (2018). The Dynamics of Time and Space in Recent French Fiction: Selected Works by Annie Ernaux, Patrick Modiano, Jean Echenoz and Marie Darrieussecq. (Doctoral dissertation). University of Chester, United Kingdom.
PublisherUniversity of Chester
TypeThesis or dissertation
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