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Title: Traces d'un palimpseste : la sexualité, le mal et la mort dans l'universe romanesque de Loys Masson
Author: Mongelard, Michaela
ISNI:       0000 0001 3414 7818
Awarding Body: University of Surrey
Current Institution: University of Surrey
Date of Award: 1997
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The thesis centres on the fiction of the author, Loys Masson (1915-1969) born in Mauritius, who lived in France from the age of 24 till his death, where he played a prominent role as a Resistance poet during the war. The works on which this study will be based cover the period from 1952-1970, including the novels, two elegiac celebrations of birds and a posthumous collection of short stories. Using a combined psychoanalytical and thematic approach, the analysis will focus on three main themes, sexuality, evil and death, identified here as nuclei of meaning. Unravelling the repetitive, obsessive pattern which underpins Masson’s writing, the aim is to show the existence of a palimpsest, that is, a primary text, an originary writing whose traces cannot be erased; these residual inscriptions constituting ‘a text within the texts’. The massonian palimpsest, based on a Christian scenario, tells the story of a fall, of the expulsion from paradise. The first part of the thesis will thus address the question of sexuality, starting first with the relation of the son to the father, moving on to an exploration of sexual desire, structured around notions of mediation, transgression and sin. Evil in the second part takes the form of a struggle between God and Satan, between reptiles and birds, the latter embodying a desperate need for spiritual salvation, which remains unattainable. Death seems unavoidable, casting its shadow on all the characters, who locked in darkness, are threatened by illness and madness, the sea voyage representing the ultimate chance of redemption, of rebirth, but the search for a new Eden remains unfulfilled, condemned to failure. The notions of guilt and sin are paramount in Masson, showing the subject as a doomed being, a prisoner of past events, of childhood traumas, justifying hence the choice of a psychoanalytical approach, which takes as object not the author, but the text. This thesis adopting a non-bio graphical perspective, which contrasts with the angle favoured by critics, hopes thereby to generate a new critical discourse on Masson, to encourage a re-appraisal of his work.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Literature