Sight to the blind in the age of anxiety? A study of narrative form in the novels of Paul Gadenne

Thompson, Michael Edmund (2019). Sight to the blind in the age of anxiety? A study of narrative form in the novels of Paul Gadenne. University of Birmingham. M.A.

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Paul Gadenne, long considered a literary outsider, has received limited critical attention until recently. This close reading of his novels foregrounds their interaction with foundational mythic and Biblical narratives. Informed, in particular, by the thinking of Vladimir Propp and Paul Ricœur, it analyses characterization, the depiction of space and the evocation of the experience of time. It argues that these narratives provide not only a thematic and ideological background to the works, but also their structure and dynamic. An examination of the extent to which his writing is determined by these hypotexts shows an evolution in technique, towards a more challenging relation to his sources. Greater demands are placed upon the reader, in a move from didacticism towards creative ambiguity. Several of his novels undermine the status of the narrator and employ disturbing shifts in chronology, demonstrating Gadenne’s awareness of literary developments at the dawn of le nouveau roman. While acknowledging these links to his contemporaries, this study sees him as a Christian metaphysical novelist, a fellow traveller with Mauriac, Bernanos and Green, who integrates an understanding of Kafka and Kierkegaard into a distinctive vision of man, caught between the anguish of exile and the hope of divine Grace.

Type of Work: Thesis (Masters by Research > M.A.)
Award Type: Masters by Research > M.A.
Licence: All rights reserved
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
School or Department: Department of Modern Languages
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PQ Romance literatures


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