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Title: Language caught between cultures : Andrei�? Makine's 'Oeuvre' as an example of border writing
Author: Berry, Bruce Anthony.
Awarding Body: Leeds Metropolitan University
Current Institution: Leeds Beckett University
Date of Award: 2006
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The aim of the present thesis is to identify and disentangle the various themes that comprise Makine's first eight novels (ie. La Fille dun Heros de 1'Union Sovietique (1990), Confession dun Porte-Drapeau Dechu (1992), Au Temps du Fleuve Amour (1994), Le Testament Francais (1995), Le Crime d'Olga Arbelina (1998), Requiem pour 1'Est (2000), La Musique d'une Vie (2001), La Terre et le Ciel de Jacques Dorme (2003)) with a view to capturing Makine's narrative stance during this early period of culturechange. It is assumed that, as a native Russian who in 1987 made the conscious decision to defect to France (despite his appointment to the prestigious Chair of French at the Pedagogical Institute at Novgorod) and to write in French about his homeland, Makine is mindful of being a hybrid, self-questioning voice trapped between two competing ideologies, and thus centrally concerned with the cultural differences between East and West. As a result, his novels are identified as examples of Border Writing (a newly-coined genre focused on the tensions deriving from the double vision suffered by bicultural writers); and analysed accordingly. The view is taken that Makine is no stereotypical Border writer, however. True, his leading players are surrogate reflectors of his own feelings and attitudes, as is typical of the movement. But since the author is a native speaker of both French and Russian (having been brought up by his French grandmother in Siberia), he is able to slip effortlessly into either language, and thus freely tap either culture. His problem in consequence is not how to make contact with the Other Side, but how to make sense of the anarchic emotions it generates with such apparent easeThe texts being found to naturally divide into two back-to-back languages, with the dramatic action representing a tortuous and open-ended clash between the two, I conclude that - Makine's artistic canon is dominated by the issue of man's self-identity in a dichotomous world that is at once intractable (as represented by his homeland) yet susceptible of tender human feeling (as witness his inspirational cross-Border experiences); - through the medium of his principal characters he would appear to be embroiled in an ideological search for an accommodation between the world of the Mind and that of Physical Reality (as realised in the images he projects of the West and Mother Russia); and thus for an understanding of his true being; - since the existential crisis cannot be resolved in the here-and-now, the immediate presence of some higher order of reality accessible only through pure feeling and thus impervious to all intellectual or logical thought, is consistently intimated; - the said features are consciously promoted in three ways: (a) an acerbic image of `Russia' is presented in order to both force the contrast with the characters' speculative visions of France / the West, and render it intelligible to the (French / Western) reader by playing upon his inherited preconceptions of a brutal, mysterious country with a blindly patriotic citizenry, (b) the stirring emotionalism of a fantastical 'France' / 'West' is maximised in order to underline the subjectivity of the characters' feelings and attitudes and (c) the reader is consistently drawn into an empathetic appreciation of the author's existential dilemma through force of style (eg. withheld explanations, aposiopetic suspension dots, veiled allusions and quasi-philosophical exegeses).Desirous of minimising the influence of a preconceived hypothesis, interpretative algorithm or literary model in an endeavour to produce an original work that captures the essential tenets of Makine's writing in a maximally unbiassed and inclusive way, I here employ a strictly abductive methodology. My approach is thus objective; but my conclusions subjective
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available