TitleNarrative worlds and fictional worlds
NameSorrell, Peter (author), Schilling, Derek (chair), Allamand, Carole (internal member), Hippolyte, Jean-Louis (internal member), Gliserman, Martin (outside member), Rutgers University, Graduate School - New Brunswick,
French literature--20th century--History and criticism,
Queneau, Raymond, 1903-1976--Criticism and interpretation,
Simon, Claude--Criticism and interpretation,
Robbe-Grillet, Alain, 1922-2008--Criticism and interpretation
DescriptionThrough a focused exploration of “experimental” novels by Raymond Queneau, Claude Simon, and Alain Robbe-Grillet, the reading experience is reexamined in this dissertation. Special attention is paid to the process of “worldbuilding,” namely the symbiotic relationship between synthetic reading competency and higher-level acts of interpretation. It is argued throughout that readers interact with literary texts not simply as verbal structures, but also by co-creating a multiplicity of imaginary worlds subtended by intentional structures that span the divide between reader and text. The intentional attenuation of subject and object is characteristic of the aesthetic experience as described by Dufrenne, Iser, and Merleau-Ponty, and it is further intensified in the novels of Queneau, Simon, and Robbe-Grillet, which address the status of fiction in fiction. In this way, the reader’s attention wanders between the worlds depicted by texts and the words by means of which these worlds are depicted.
The work of these authors is marked by transition and transaction on the part of character and reader. Behind Queneau’s language-games, a multiplicity of fictional worlds rapidly cycles in and out of being. Simon’s densely packed prose shifts the novice reader into his fictional worlds through the figure of the “soldier-subject.” The geometric simplicity of Robbe-Grillet’s descriptions hides the impossibility of deciphering the events of his fictional worlds. The reader’s interaction with these texts is dynamic, relying upon the basic process of building a world out of disparate textual and extra-textual elements.
Following possible worlds theorists such as Dolezel and Pavel, the two primary worlds engendered by the literary artwork are conceived of as (1) “narrative,” whereby the reader manipulates the linguistic building blocks of the text, and (2) “fictional,” in which the reader transcends such language-based constraints to emerge into a space clearly distinguished from everyday life. Examination of the reader’s nonlinear movement between intertwined narrative and fictional worlds demonstrates Matei Calinescu’s provocative notion that every reader is a rereader. It is suggested that understanding the reader’s movement between absorption in a text and interaction with a text by means of worldbuilding might elucidate a novel kind of “rereading” exemplified by new technologies.
NoteIncludes bibliographical references (p. 409-432)
Noteby Peter Sorrell
CollectionGraduate School - New Brunswick Electronic Theses and Dissertations
Organization NameRutgers, The State University of New Jersey
RightsThe author owns the copyright to this work