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Title: Subjectivity in Sartre's 'L'idiot de la famille' : biography as a space for the development of theory
Author: Mueller, Marieke
ISNI:       0000 0004 6346 649X
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2015
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In the context of a renascent interest in the thought of Jean-Paul Sartre, this thesis proposes a close examination of one of his less studied texts, the study of Gustave Flaubert, L'Idiot de la famille (1971-72). The analysis focuses on theoretical developments that emerge from Sartre's biographical enquiry, pursuing an interdisciplinary approach combining a consideration of literary theory and literary history with the perspective of Sartre's philosophy of subjectivity. L'Idiot is situated amongst a wide variety of texts by Sartre, from Qu'est-ce que la littérature? (1948) to the Critique de la raison dialectique (1960), identifying theoretical innovations within Sartre's understanding of the subject (ch. 1), his social theory (ch. 2), his theory of the imaginary (ch. 3), of literary production (ch. 4) and of reading (ch. 5). Additionally, hitherto largely unexplored passages highlight Sartre's reflections on the situation of the late 1960s. Previous analyses of the philosophical innovations presented in L'Idiot have often focused on the strictly theoretical passages in the biography. The present thesis also concentrates on the 'imagined' scenes presented throughout the text. Read as an integral part of Sartre's method, it is suggested that the dramatization facilitated by the biographical format is an integral part of the theoretical enquiry. Despite the lack of explicit referencing provided by Sartre, the biography is explored in its open character, identifying a series of resonances and similarities with a diverse range of authors. The different chapters consider thinkers whose relationship with Sartre has received little or no attention (such as Pierre Bourdieu and Walter Benjamin), or whose work resonates with Sartre in ways that have so far gone unnoticed (Roland Barthes, Maurice Merleau-Ponty and Maurice Blanchot).
Supervisor: Howells, Christina Sponsor: Arts and Humanities Research Council ; Jesus College Oxford
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Biography as a literary form ; Literature--Philosophy ; French literature--20th century--History and criticism ; France--Intellectual life--20th century