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Title: The heuristics of narrativity in the works of Jean-Philippe Toussaint
Author: Crichton, Will
ISNI:       0000 0004 5921 8733
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2016
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This thesis analyses nine novels and two films by Jean-Philippe Toussaint, spanning the period from La Salle de bain (1985) to Nue (2013). Drawing on the hermeneutic phenomenology of Paul Ricoeur, it argues that Toussaint's texts can be fruitfully understood as representing fictionalised forms of reflexive narrativity. Through the close readings of the texts developed in this thesis, it is argued that Toussaint's anonymous fictional narrators are presented as both the readers and writers of their own lives, engaged in reimagining their own past experiences in ways which are heuristically motivated towards future possibilities for action, and that these reimaginings are represented both as and through the formal variations of the texts themselves. Also emphasised, however, is the way in which such refigurative narrative engagements are frequently depicted as deceptive or problematic. The first chapter, Self in the World, analyses La Salle de bain (1985), L'Appareil-photo (1988) and La Réticence (1991), focusing on the ways in which Toussaint's novels engage with thematic issues of subjectivity, identity, agency and the human capacity for reflexive narrativity. The second chapter, The Other in the Self, analyses two novels, Monsieur (1986) and La Télévision (1997), and two films, La Sévillane (1992) and La Patinoire (1999), focusing on the ways in which Toussaint's texts deploy various forms of ironic discourse in the critical mediation of the relationship between individual subjectivity and the exigencies of society, the workplace, and problems related to creative agency. The final chapter, Selfhood in the Other, analyses the novels of Toussaint's Marie tetralogy, Faire l’amour (2002), Fuir (2005), La Vérité sur Marie (2009), and Nue (2013), focusing on how this series interrogates philosophical questions of intersubjectivity by drawing on a number of historical conceptualisations of the aesthetic concept of the sublime.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Wolfson Foundation
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: PQ Romance literatures