Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Aspects du temps chez Claude Simon: L'écriture de l'histoire et de la mémoire
by Cherry, Alina, Ph.D., New York University, 2009, 231; 3365698
Abstract (Summary)

My dissertation examines Claude Simon's original treatment of time. This work was motivated by a desire to explore how Simon reconciles his fascination with the past and his esthetics of spontaneity, two seemingly conflicting notions. Whereas numerous writers have chosen to depict fractured timelines, Simon's originality consists in representing the past not as a disrupted chronological sequence, but as a reality that emerges in the present of writing.

I argue that Simon centers his exploration of the recurring themes of history, war, and genealogy, on the investigation of traces, construed as marks of the past that can be interpreted in the present. This conception of time as a layered yet permeable structure that allows communication between strata is reflected in Simon's subversive use of the system of time reference. By disrupting the tense structure and indexical references as well as by blurring chronological lines and eliminating proper names that refer to historical figures and landmarks, Simon creates a narrative that eludes traditional temporal configurations. Events no longer occur chronologically but are structured according to criteria such as repetition, analogy, probability, circularity, and hypothesis. I show how the narrative detemporalization shifts the focus from a traditional view of history governed by the concepts of continuity and synthesis, to a perspective that emphasizes the heterogeneity of traces and their role as fragmentary evidence in the reconstruction of events.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Nicole, Eugene
Commitee: Beaujour, Michel, Bishop, Tom, Hollier, Denis, Miller, Judith
School: New York University
Department: French
School Location: United States -- New York
Source: DAI-A 70/07, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Romance literature
Keywords: Ecriture, Histoire, Memoire, Nouveau roman, Simon, Claude, Temporalite
Publication Number: 3365698
ISBN: 978-1-109-25853-0
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