French Fiction into the Twenty-First Century: The Return to by Simon Kemp

By Simon Kemp

The French novel’s “return to the tale” within the final a long time of the 20 th century and the start of the twenty-first is has been extensively stated in literary scholarship. yet is that this evaluate actual? With French Fiction within the Twenty-First Century, Simon Kemp appears to be like on the paintings of 5 modern writers—Annie Ernaux, Pascal Quignard, Marie Darrieussecq, Jean Echenoz, and Patrick Modiano—in the context of the present French literary scene, and examines how a long way they pursue the recommendations in their predecessors and simply how some distance they've got grew to become their backs at the period of test. (20110511)

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29 L’Événement holds a similar relationship to Les Armoires vides, being the explicitly autobiographical reworking of the abortion narrative rendered fictionally in the earlier novel. Such dyads are not entirely self-contained, however, since other texts often overlap them in certain details. 31 The majority of Ernaux’s revisiting is in keeping with these less schematic overlaps, with autobiographical material resurfacing here and there across her oeuvre. The clearest example of this is the representation of Ernaux’s childhood and adolescence, of which different aspects – such as her parents, café-épicerie life, her social milieu, education and religion, and her sexual development – form the major part of seven of her texts, and play a minor role in at least two others.

Her teaching experience is featured prominently – principally as a means of including comment on the younger generation – but of her life as a published author there is no mention. ’103 Bernard Pivot appears in Les Années as a face on the television, not as a personal acquaintance. The people and events of her earlier works are all present, from the ‘incident’ of La Honte to the affairs of Passion simple and L’Occupation, but no word of their reworking into literature. 104 Ernaux herself seems undecided on the question of her writing and experiencing selves.

45 In autobiographical writing, it is the perspective from a later time of narrating which creates this second, unacknowledged logic, selecting and arranging events to create meaningful coherence through prior knowledge of their outcome. 46 Ernaux’s development into the use of an intermittent time of narrating and her growing awareness of its potential impact on the material narrated can be traced through the publication history of the five texts concerned. In Journal du dehors, the intermittence is almost a side effect, a consequence of the project’s fragmentary nature as ‘a collection of snapshots of everyday urban life’,47 and of its subsidiary status to her other, simultaneous writing projects over the years in question.

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