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L ’E s pr it C r éa te u r tributions from Bachelard, Barrère, de Man, Gaudon, Glauser, Moreau, Riffaterre, Carol Rigolot, and Paul Zumthor. J o h n A . F r e y The George Washington University Christiane Papadopoulos. L ’E x p r e s s io n d u te m p s d a n s l ’œ u v r e r o m a n e s q u e e t a u t o ­ b io g r a p h iq u e d e M a r g u e r i t e Y o u r c e n a r . B e rn e , F r a n k f u r t/ M ., New Y o rk , 1988. pp. 211. Originally a doctoral dissertation written at the University of Zurich, L'Expression du temps dans l'œuvre romanesque et autobiographique de Marguerite Yourcenar has as its purpose “ d’arriver à une compréhension approfondie de la notion de temps de Yourcenar en analysant les moyens ... par lesquels la nature et le mouvement du temps sont traduits dans quelques-unes de ses œuvres...” (6). Papadopoulos restricts her examination to Yourcenar’s novels and autobiographical works, commenting only occasionally on Feux and Nouvelles Orientales, which, like Denier du rêve, “ d aten t... d’une époque où le mythe avait joué un rôle vraiment essentiel” (6). The work is largely a stylistic one in which Papadopoulos studies the use of tenses and sequence of tenses; the occurrence of various themes, images and symbols, especially those she feels to be the central expressions of Yourcenar’s conception of time: water, the circle and the mirror. She looks carefully, too, at indirect styles which, in her view, serve as a means of conveying biography. She studies the differences in the author’s stance on styles appropriate to biography and autobiography. She underscores devices that Yourcenar favored for abolishing or extending distance, both spatial and temporal, especially objects and irony. She brings into focus as well those images that Yourcenar commonly used to express the eternal, including examples from the lives of real and fictional characters, the author’s own life, and the genesis of her writings. The theoretical bases on which this detailed study is based are explained and docu­ mented at great length, in the tradition of doctoral theses. The theoreticians include, among others, Poulet, Pouillon, Weinrich, and Weyl, on time; Lejeune, on autobiography; Deforge and Baudrillard, on the role of objects; Jankélévitch, Allemann, Fontanier, Morier, and Kerbrat-Orecchioni, on figures of speech, notably irony; and many published critics on Yourcenar’s work. The author would have done well to have reworked much of this aspect of her work. The information provided, while required in a doctoral thesis, is rather basic, and could be assumed to be known by the audience to whom the book is addressed. Unfortunately, too, much of the commentary on this theoretical work leads Papadopoulos only to rather elementary conclusions, e.g., images of space can imply images of time, the use of the present tense can signal a general maxim, irony “ distances” the reader and author from an object. While the book suffers somewhat from a doctoral style and structure, it does open dis­ cussion on a great many topics related to time in the works of Yourcenar which, although too numerous to receive full treatment in the book, may fruitfully serve as the starting point for further examination. The study also attests to the author’s “ émerveillement” and to her attempt to “ open her eyes” (199) to all of the great questions that Yourcenar illustrates in the course of her literary career. C. F r e d e r ic k F a r r e l l , J r . a n d E d it h R. F a r r e l l The University o f Minnesota, Morris 108 W i n t e r 1989 ...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1931-0234
Print ISSN
0014-0767
Pages
p. 108
Launched on MUSE
2017-07-05
Open Access
No
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