Absence, ritual & commemoration in contemporary French narrative.

Project Details

Key findings

The nine articles which constitute the outputs of this project offer an overview of late twentieth- and early twenty-first century fiction which
1. pushes the investigation of the nouveau roman’s legacy beyond the examination of structural features, metafictional inquiry and ludic play and challenges the dominant formalist readings of that legacy,
2. reveals the crucial role played by ritual in the work of both the nouveau roman and its literary successors,
3. shows the ways in which contemporary French writers not only resume and rework certain themes that, although in many respects ‘traditional’, also figured prominently in the writing of certain nouveaux romanciers (family, heritage and history; memory and commemoration; the relationships between generations, between individual and community, between individual and terroir), but also reinstate meaning at the centre of French literary enquiry,
4. demonstrates that this preoccupation with meaning concerns not only the processes of its production within the text, but also the processes by which it is produced in the referential world, including the various linguistic and gestural codes by which a given social group communicates, the codes of behaviour and customs that the community assumes, the symbolic objects that it creates, the symbolic spaces that it delimits, and the rituals that it observes, as well as the equally significant transgression of codes, boundaries and rituals,
5. provides the first close readings of many of the texts examined and the first sustained analysis of the work of several of the authors discussed,
6. demonstrates the benefits to be derived, in the analysis of this corpus, from an interdisciplinary approach that combines methodologies and concepts derived from anthropology and sociology, from cultural/ visual theory and from psychology/ psychoanalysis.
Effective start/end date1/09/0628/02/07


  • AHRC: £43,643.00


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