Les genres littéraires et l'oeuvre singulière
  • ISSN 0035-3906
  • E-ISSN: 1600-0811
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In this article on the poetics of the contemporary French novel the reading process is taken as point of departure for an interrogation of the ontological status of the literary work. Since Raymond Roussel’s early experimentations, the difficulty in reading the novel is connected to its conceptual aspect. Still this does not mean that the novel does not connect with reality. On the contrary this seems to be the very matter for Raymond Queneau as a reader of Bouvard et Pécuchet by Gustave Flaubert. In the twentieth century, as different writers as Georges Perec, François Bon and Claude Simon tend to explore the limits between the literary and the real, not only through auto-representation but in making the reader perceive language as representation on the one hand and as pure material on the other. Thus the intention behind the readings of La Vie mode d’emploi (1978), Tumulte (2006) and Le Jardin des plantes (1997) is to underline the ironic aspect of these novels and the paradox that in spite of very different structures and styles they all three become a means for examining the possibility of human experience as intertwined with literary expression. To grasp this essential aspect of the contemporary novel one has to practice a differential reading (Marjorie Perloff) implying different textual levels and a relevant contextualisation.


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