Of Words and the World: Referential Anxiety in Contemporary French Fiction [NOOK Book]

Overview

Here David Ellison explores the problems encountered by France's best experimental authors writing between 1956 and 1984, when faced with the question: "What should my writing be about?" These years are characterized by the rise of the "new novelists," who questioned the representational function of writing as they created works of imagination that turned in upon themselves and away from exterior reality. It became fashionable at one point to affirm that literature was no longer about the world but uniquely about...

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Of Words and the World: Referential Anxiety in Contemporary French Fiction

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Overview

Here David Ellison explores the problems encountered by France's best experimental authors writing between 1956 and 1984, when faced with the question: "What should my writing be about?" These years are characterized by the rise of the "new novelists," who questioned the representational function of writing as they created works of imagination that turned in upon themselves and away from exterior reality. It became fashionable at one point to affirm that literature was no longer about the world but uniquely about the words on a page, the signifying surface of the text. Ellison tests this assumption, showing that even in the most seemingly self-referential fictions the words point to the world from which they can never completely separate themselves.

Through close readings Ellison examines the novels and theoretical writings of authors whose works are fundamental to our perception of contemporary French writing and thought: Camus, Robbe-Grillet, Simon, Duras, Sarraute, Blanchot, and Beckett. The result is a new understanding of the link between the referential function of literary language and the problematic of the ethics of fiction.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781400820870
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press
  • Publication date: 3/22/1993
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Edition description: Course Book
  • Pages: 220
  • File size: 322 KB

Table of Contents


Acknowledgments


Note on Texts and Translations


Introduction
3
Pt. 1
Metamorphoses of the Referential Function, 1956-1984
23
Ch. 1
Vertiginous Storytelling: Camus's La Chute, 1956
25
Ch. 2
Reappearing Man in Robbe-Grillet's Topologie d'une cite fantome, 1976
44
Ch. 3
Narrative Leveling and Performative Pathos in Claude Simon's Les Georgiques, 1981
55
Ch. 4
The Self as Referent: Postmodern Autobiographies, 1983-1984 (Robbe-Grillet, Duras, Sarraute)
69
Pt. 2
"Pure Fiction" And the Inevitability of Reference
97
Ch. 5
Blanchot and Narrative
104
Ch. 6
Beckett and the Ethics of Fabulation
132

Conclusion
155

Notes
159

Works Cited
183

Index
193
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