Claude Simon: The Artist As Orion: 'Blind Orion Hungry for the Morn'

Sykes, Stuart W (1973) Claude Simon: The Artist As Orion: 'Blind Orion Hungry for the Morn'. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Abstract

Since the nouveau roman became established, some fifteen years ago, as the dominant literary movement in France, Claude Simon has emerged as the most considerable writer of that group, although he has not attracted the critical interest devoted to Michel Butor, Alain Robbe-Grillet, and Nathalie Sarraute, This thesis is a general chronological essay on Simon's development, from his earliest published work, Le Tricheur (1945), to Les Corps Conducteurs (1971). The first chapter of the thesis groups together Simon's early writings, which are heavily derivative, owing much to the example of the American novel in general. Subsequent chapters take each novel since 1957 in turn, and show that Simon, if still giving signs of his indebtedness to William Faulkner, soon begins to establish his independence as an artist of considerable stature. The distinctly autobiographical novels of the 1960s are succeeded by texts which, like Orion Aveugle, are the culmination of Simon's long-standing belief in art for art's sake, and are concerned above all to display pictorially the artist's apprehension of the world. Throughout the thesis, attention is paid to basic and recurrent themes, time and death in particular, but the aim is to see how language itself emerges as the principal theme of Simon's writing, both in relation to the characters themselves, and to the novelist who is their creator. Simon is constantly preoccupied with the limitations of traditional novel form; his evolution, particularly since 1957, is that of a writer trying to circumvent the obstacle of linear prose in order to achieve a spatial representation of consciousness, where memory, perception, and imagination interact incessantly. Simon's novels are based on sensorial rather than intellectual constructions, and this tendency becomes more strongly defined the longer his career goes on. A constant feature of his work is the attention paid to artistic representations of one kind or another, and to paintings in particular; the title of this thesis is based on Simon's remarks concerning Poussin's Paysage avec Orion Aveugle, the central figure of which is seen by Simon as an apt metaphor for the empirical way in which he approaches the task of writing, treating each book as a discovery in itself: the artist as Orion does not use words for a didactic or informative purpose, but explores the synthetic and pictorial potential of language.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: French literature
Date of Award: 1973
Depositing User: Enlighten Team
Unique ID: glathesis:1973-78656
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 30 Jan 2020 15:05
Last Modified: 30 Jan 2020 15:05
URI: http://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/78656

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