TitleLe rêve littéraire et le projet de la modernité
NameVarsanyi, Monika (author), Flieger, Jerry (chair), Eisenzweig, Uri (internal member), Schilling, Derek (internal member), Parker, Andrew (outside member), Rutgers University, Graduate School - New Brunswick,
French literature--20th century--History and criticism,
Dreams in literature,
Nerval, Gérard de, 1808-1855--Criticism and interpretation,
Proust, Marcel, 1871-1922--Criticism and interpretation,
Breton, André, 1896-1966--Criticism and interpretation
DescriptionThis dissertation explores the evolution of the use and form of the literary dream in Nerval’s Aurélia, Proust’s À la recherche du temps perdu, and Breton’s Poisson soluble and Les Vases communicants. These works represent a radical change of the literary dream from its traditional role in plot advancement, mythical motif, or theme, to philosophical and aesthetic innovations that challenge the boundaries between reason and the unconscious.
The extraordinary change in dream theory at the turn of the twentieth century--both in science and the arts--becomes clear by examining these texts in the light of the various functions that the literary dream performs, affecting the narratological and rhetorical structures of the texts, as well as the status of the dream in the narrative. The relationship among narrator, dream, and reality determines both form and function of the literary dream during this crucial evolution, which is manifest in three distinct stages in early contemporary French literature.
Although dreams appear as thematic content or device in Nerval, his blend of délire and dream represents a radical challenge to conventional notions of reality, both aesthetically and philosophically, and opens new perspectives by including hallucinatory experiences in his definition of dream.
In Proust, the entire text takes on the characteristics of dreams and its structure and logic reflect a dream-like representation of places, characters, and events. This oneiric register considers the literary dream an aesthetic process or form, a kind of textuality indistinguishable from the narrative itself. Used as a technique to shape the text, the dream brings both writing and reality closer to its realm.
Breton’s narratives not only resemble dreams, but the development of the technique of automatic writing establishes the dream as literary text. Beyond content, theme, or inspiration, dream evolves into an actual template of a new kind of artistic sensibility, which reveals a radical reevaluation of the creative process as deeply informed by the unconscious. This register represents a turning point, breaking with conventional thematic and mythical paradigms, and producing a phenomenon unique to the twentieth century: the literary dream as an aesthetic and theoretical paradigm.
NoteIncludes bibliographical references (p. 439-442)
Noteby Monika Varsanyi
CollectionGraduate School - New Brunswick Electronic Theses and Dissertations
Organization NameRutgers, The State University of New Jersey
RightsThe author owns the copyright to this work