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Title: Dwelling space in post-war French fiction (Camus, Sollers, Perec)
Author: Villeneuve, Lisa
Awarding Body: Oxford University
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2008
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This thesis examines the concept of dwelling space in works written between 1957 and 1978. Our study emphasises a concern for the problematics of 'place'. By inscribing our reading within the parameters of the 'housing question' and economic modernisation in post-war France, we draw attention to the role ofthe habitable in transforming everyday private experience. The final chapter addresses four recent works (1985-1999) that draw together these concerns. Our readings proceed chronologically, beginning with Albert Camus's 'Jonas' (L 'Exil et Ie Royaume, 1957) in Chapter One. This is followed by Philippe Sollers's Le Parc (1961) and three works of Georges Perec: Les Choses (1965), Un Homme qui dort (1967) and La Vie mode d'emploi (1978). In the final chapter, our readings of Jean- Philippe Toussaint's La Salle de bain (1985), Jean Echenoz's ~ 'Occupation des sols (1988), Christian Oster's Mon GrandAppartement (1999), and Eric Chevillard's Au Pla/ond (1997) summarise our discussion ofdwelling space. Our study's theoretical framework is comprised oftwo lines ofinquiry. The first is grounded in the phenomenological tradition of Gaston Bachelard and Martin Heidegger; the second has recourse to the field ofHuman Geography, via the theoretical contributions ofHenri Lefebvre, David Harvey, and others. The originality ofthe thesis resides in its consideration of habitable space in the literature studied, as well as in the context ofthe socio-economic and demographic transformations ofthe Fourth and Fifth Republics. Our framework allows for an investigation of 'place' that reveals the spatial dynamics of an individual's role in his environment. As such, wee identify the ways in whic\1 everyday experience can be underpinned by sensations of familiarity or estrangement, at home and in the city. In the works studied, the travails experienced by individuals in their negotiation of personal space are seen to speak to the ambivalent status of modem dwelling.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Oxford University, 2008 Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available