The Novel Map
Space and Subjectivity in Nineteenth-Century French Fiction
Publication Year: 2013
Focusing on Stendhal, Gérard de Nerval, George Sand, Émile Zola, and Marcel Proust, The Subject of Space: Mapping the Self in Nineteenth-Century French Fiction explores the ways that these writers represent and negotiate the relationship between the self and the world as a function of space in a novel turned map.
With the rise of the novel and of autobiography, the literary and cultural contexts of nineteenth-century France reconfigured both the ways literature could represent subjects and the ways subjects related to space. In the first-person works of these authors, maps situate the narrator within the imaginary space of the novel. Yet the time inherent in the text’s narrative unsettles the spatial self drawn by the maps and so creates a novel self, one which is both new and literary. The novel self transcends the rigid confines of a map. In this significant study, Patrick M. Bray charts a new direction in critical theory.
Published by: Northwestern University Press
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Title Page, Copyright
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List of Illustrations
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This book attests to my enduring fascination with spaces and places. While writing this book over the years, I have had the good fortune of hiking above an ocean of fog in Big Sur, sneaking into the catacombs of Paris at night, walking through an inhabited cemetery in Cairo, and contemplating an unending sea of cornfi elds in Champaign. But a book ...
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All translations are mine, unless otherwise cited. An earlier version of chapter 4 appeared as an article in French Forum under the title “Lost in the Fold: Space and Subjectivity in Gérard de Nerval’s ‘Généalogie’ and Sylvie,” French Forum 31, no. 2 (Spring 2006): 35–51. I would like to thank the editors of that journal for their kind permission to reprint the ...
Introduction. Here and There: The Subject in Space and Text
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Toward the end of October 1830, an unnamed young man, having bet and lost his last coin on cards at the Palais Royal, enters a curiosity shop on the Left Bank to while away the hours until the evening, when he can throw himself in the Seine under cover of darkness. To his mild surprise, the dejected youth fi nds before him four galleries of astonishing antiq-...
Part I. Stendhal’s Privilege
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Il est, dans l’histoire littéraire, des personnages qui déroutent les procédés ordinaires de la critique et qu’on se sent envie de traiter Stendhal, Dominique, Henry Brulard, M.B.A.A. (Monsieur Beyle, Ancien Auditeur), and Mr. Myself are some of the many names and pseudonyms that testify to the multiplicity of the subject Henri Beyle. In his writings, ...
Chapter One. The Life and Death of Henry Brulard
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The contradictions of its fi rst two chapters orient the Vie de Henry Bru-lard, as a chaotic autobiographical discourse gives way to a linear nar-rative. Various styles and perspectives succeed each other as the narrator struggles to defi ne the project and to summarize the “life” of Brulard. After describing the view of Rome in a style reminiscent of Chateaubri-...
Chapter Two. The Ghost in the Map
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The incomplete fusion of autobiography and fi ction allows the entry of the subject into text, it promises the only possibility of objective self-knowledge and creative self-defi nition. The tension between the identities of Beyle and Brulard can only be preserved if the text remains ambigu-ous: both autobiography and fi ction, and neither one nor the other. The ...
Part II. Nerval Beyond Narrative
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...semblait prendre plaisir à s’absenter de lui-même, disparaître de son oeuvre, à dérouter le lecteur. Que d’efforts il a faits pour rester Théophile Gautier was often an astute reader of his childhood friend Gérard Labrunie (known by his most common pseudonym, Gérard de Nerval). Gautier’s characterization of Nerval as a version of Stendhal ...
Chapter Three. Orientations: Writing the Self in Nerval’s Voyage en Orient
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Gérard de Nerval’s Voyage en Orient would appear to be the long fi rst-person travel narrative of a Parisian erudite, who travels from Paris to Constantinople via Geneva, Constance, Vienna, Cerigo (Cythera), Cairo, and Beirut. Inscribed within the very popular genre of exotic travel litera-ture, the text repeatedly claims to be the truthful account of its narrator’s ...
Chapter Four. Unfolding Nerval
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The Voyage en Orient reveals that the presence of the subject is con-stantly shifting, avoiding any defi nitive reading, escaping the fatalism of narrative. If the subject can be compared to any character and substituted in any text, if there are no limits either to metaphor or to the metamor-phosis of language, then the subject loses all coherence and becomes a ...
Part III. Sand’s Utopian Subjects
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Homme, mon ami, tu plaisantes volontiers les oeuvres, fatalement autobiographiques, de la femme. Sur qui comptais-tu donc pour te la peindre, te rebattre d’elle les oreilles, la desservir auprès de toi, te Of all the writers I study in this book, George Sand was the most suc-cessful, not only in terms of earning a living from her pen, but espe-...
Chapter Five. Drowning in the Text: Space and Indiana
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When Indiana was fi rst published under the pseudonym G. Sand in 1832, the fi rst reviewers proclaimed the new male writer a profound analyst of contemporary society, but at the same time one whose novel undoubtedly benefi ted from revisions by a woman’s pen; according to Sand’s Histoire de ma vie: “Les journaux parlèrent tous de M. G. Sand avec éloge, insi-...
Chapter Six. Carte Blanche: Charting Utopia in Sand’s Nanon
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George Sand’s last major novel, Nanon from 1872, narrates the appropri-ation of a tool of elite power, the Cassini “Carte générale de la France,” by a humble peasant girl, who uses these maps to internalize and negotiate the space of revolutionary France. The novel presents the history of the French Revolution from a displaced perspective: it is told as a memoir by ...
Part IV. Branching Off: Genealogy and Map in the Rougon-Macquart
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C’est un de mes principes qu’il ne faut pas s’écrire. L’artiste doit être dans son oeuvre comme Dieu dans la création, invisible et tout-puissant; qu’on le sente partout, mais qu’on ne le voie pas.*Moi, je tâche de travailler le plus tranquillement possible, mais je renonce à voir clair dans ce que je fais, car plus je vais et plus je suis ...
Chapter Seven. Zola and the Contradictory Origins of the Novel
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Naturalism, as Zola theorized it, merged for the fi rst time in literary his-tory the realist ambition of depicting social interactions with the scientifi c examination of what underlies those interactions. Mimesis surrenders to analysis as the naturalist novelist discovers the true cause of human be-havior hidden under the surface of polite nineteenth-century bourgeois ...
Chapter Eight. Mapping Creative Destruction in Zola
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In the novels of the Rougon-Macquart, power resides in the ability to har-ness the destructive force of origins—of memory, of history, of heredity. In the beginning there was only the fateful “fêlure,” the crack that renders impossible a whole, univocal origin. The “fêlure” reproduces only itself as every successive generation invokes the authority of the origin’s secret, ...
Part V. Proust’s Double Text
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L’espace fond comme le sable coule entre les doigts. Le temps l’emporte et ne m’en laisse que des lambeaux informes . . .*Marcel Proust’s monumental novel À la recherche du temps perdu cap-tures the struggle to write the self in the spaces of the text, fi ctionalizing the process of the formation of textual subjectivity found in Stendhal’s ...
Chapter Nine. The Law of the Land
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At the familiar beginning of À la recherche du temps perdu one fi nds in contradiction to the novel’s title, not a search for lost time, but the fran-tic search for a lost place. The narrator, writing in the ambiguous tense of habit, the imperfect, relates the trouble he has going to sleep and the even greater trouble he has of fi nding himself again upon waking. The ...
Chapter Ten. Creating a Space for Time
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The end of the Recherche leaves the reader with an unanswerable ques-tion. Is the novel the narrator is about to write the novel the reader is about to fi nish, or is it a virtual novel, existing somewhere beyond the reader’s imagination and the theoretical projections of the aging narra-tor? Many indications within the text itself favor one or the other inter-...
Conclusion. Now and Then: Virtual Spaces and Real Subjects in the Twenty-First Century
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In nineteenth-century French literature, the self was written in text as a subject of space in works that upset the traditional generic boundaries of novel and autobiography. This subject of space emerging from the play of language in text projected an origin outside the text, in an autobiographi-cal self inhabiting real-world places. Maps in the novel (Stendhal’s ich-...
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Page Count: 285
Illustrations: 12 b/w
Publication Year: 2013