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Title: Despair, destruction and creation : a study of the works of Emmanuel Bove, 1898-1945
Author: Bennett-Powell, Gabriel Anne.
Awarding Body: Birkbeck (University of London)
Current Institution: Birkbeck (University of London)
Date of Award: 2003
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Emmanuel Bove wrote some thirty novels and short stories between 1924 and 1945. His writing represented a challenge to the 'Belles lettres ', and was celebrated by Max Jacob and Rainer-Maria Rilke, praised by Samuel Beckett and rediscovered by Peter Handke. His work describes a disintegrating society using the perspective of a central character whose experience of the day-to-day is of a hostile world, be it in a family environment or a country at war, that causes physical and mental illness. Bove's work anticipates the Absurd and Existentialist literature, and its expression of ennui is an aspect of its modernity. Previous studies of Bove's work have analysed its aesthetic qualities and its narrative structures, and compared it with the Nouveau Roman, the literature of the Absurd and Existentialism, Russian novels of the nineteenth century and English!American writing of the first half of the twentieth century. In this study, fiction is shown to be a social and psychological archive, representing the rejection and alienation of the subject, his material deprivation and mental suffering. Despair is emphasised as a constant in the threatening experience that is everyday life. The importance of the family and of socio-historical influences on the subject's condition is discussed. The study examines the possibility of redemption by writing, and analyses how the texts give expression to artistic creation as a positive response to the negative experience of the everyday. The thesis claims that Bove's work is an exploration of the human psyche, its experience of trauma and its responses. It analyses the representation of suffering and the causes of the destruction of the individual. The theoretical support for the interpretation of the texts is drawn mainly from the disciplines of psychology and psychoanalysis. Psychoanalytical theory underpins also the interpretation of references in the text to artistic creation that is indicated as one of the possible responses to suffering. The thesis is divided into two parts. Part One gives an introduction to Bove's life and work (Chapter I); it places Bove's writings in the literary historical context of the development of novel writing from Dostolevski to the Nouveau Roman (Chapter 2), and discusses the approach of previous critics to Bove's work (Chapter 3). Part Two presents an analysis of the expression given to the despair and destruction of the subject and to the compensatory, therapeutic value of creative writing. Chapter 4 focuses on the mind and Chapter 5 on the body.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available