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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Narrative Voice in Contemporary WWI French Fiction
by Hurwitz, Ellen Elizabeth, M.A., The American University of Paris (France), 2014, 125; 10305704
Abstract (Summary)

Thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts in Cultural Translation at the American University of Paris, May 2014.

This thesis illustrates how certain narrative techniques in contemporary French fiction respond to an on-going compulsion to address the experience of World War I. With four selected novels from the last 25 years serving as examples, it uses literary analysis and translation to examine narrative voice. In these novels narrative voice is characterized by disorientation and ambiguity, thus creating resistance rather than engagement for the reader. The resistant narrative voice communicates the contextual trauma of the war through textual means. Translation of passages from the novels provides insight into the language mechanisms and cultural messages that are at work during the reading process.

Part 1 documents how the author’s reading process changes from suspensive to strategic. It explores narrative voice, narrative resistance, engagement with text, and the consequences of translation. Part 2 illustrates these concepts of textual communication using analyses and translations from three novels: Jean Rouaud’s Les Champs d’honneur (1990), Marc Dugain’s La Chambre des officiers (1998), and Philippe Claudel’s Les Âmes grises (2003). Part 3 continues the study with an examination of Jean Echenoz’s 14 (2012). While in the first three novels markers of orality identify points of communication between the first-person narrators and the readers, in 14, shifts in subjectivity signal points of communication for the third-person narrator. Finally, in Part 4, this thesis expands the idea of translation as a communicative act between the text and the reader, describing how the translator engages in a dialogue about language, culture, and the field of cultural translation.

Keywords: narrative voice, subjectivity in language, contemporary French literature, World War I, cultural translation.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Milne, Anna-Louise
Commitee: Gilbert, Geoffrey
School: The American University of Paris (France)
Department: Cultural Translation
School Location: France
Source: MAI 56/02M(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Romance literature, Rhetoric
Keywords: Claudel, Philippe, Dugain, Marc, Echenoz, Jean, France, Narrative voice, Rouaud, Jean, World War I
Publication Number: 10305704
ISBN: 978-1-369-49268-2
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