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Book Reviews Alastair B. Duncan, ed. C la u d e Sim on: N ew D ire c tio n s. Edinburgh: Scottish Academic Press, 1985. Pp. 166. (distrib. in U.S. & Can. by Longwood Publ. Co., 27 S. Main St., Wolfeboro, NH 03894.) This collection of articles written by various British scholars who have worked on the French new novelists and who are au courant with contemporary critical methods is a valuable contribution to Simon scholarship. Intended as a document which would give a taste of Simon to the English-reading world (as specified in the Introduction), this book offers an interview with the 1985 winner of the Nobel Prize for literature, a fragment of a novel Simon is currently working on presented in French with an English translation on the opposite page, nine critical articles, and a survey of Simon criticism, as well as an up-todate selective bibliography of Simon’s works and critical works about him. In the interview Simon discusses concretely some of his works, as well as the influence that other writers have had on him, and he explains his views concerning art and fiction. The main idea which emerges is that of a writer passionately fascinated by the creative process, who is and has been rebelling against realism, or as he calls it, academism, by which he means traditional novels following logical and chronological patterns. The frag­ ment, which interestingly (symptomatically?), like many previous novels by Simon, is about individuals caught in war, destruction, and death, provides the reader with a sense of Simon’s writing strategies. In fact this fragment illustrates his comments in the interview in which he emphasizes the importance of description, and gives readers a feeling for his tech­ nique of establishing relationships between figure and surrounding in which neither dominates. With regard to the critical articles in the book, they do not really constitute as eclectic a collection as the editor tells us; rather they fall along two different, at times overlapping, lines. One set of papers explores how various themes such as kinship, generations, the character as reader, sexuality, history, and myth are fictionalized in various texts. The other set studies various textual strategies such as the use of intertextuality, the creation of hierarchy and coherence, and the poetic techniques which underlie Simon’s prose of the 60’s and 70’s. While I find all of the articles intelligent and informative, there are several I would like to single out because of their novelty or usefulness. Celia Britton, “Claude Simon’s genera­ tion game: the family and the text,” uses Lacan’s notions of the Symbolic and the Imaginary in order to show the opposition between the maternal and the paternal figures in the novels belonging to Simon’s first period. Jean Duffy, “Authorial correction and bricolage in the work of Claude Simon,” studies the techniques Simon puts into play in order to transform his early short texts into full novels and shows that he eliminates all the ingredients of the traditional novel (causal and temporal organization, psychological and sociological commentary, and anchoring of discourse). Pat O’Kane, "La Route des Flandres: the rout(e) of the reader?,” documents how the reader, reading, and the ways they are explored constitute important aspects of La Route des Flandres. John Fletcher, “ Intertextuality and Fictionality: Les Géorgiques and Homage to Catalonia," studies how Simon intertextualizes Orwell’s text. He points out that Orwell’s idealist text and Simon’s own text set up a debate. Mary Orr, “The generative image: an exploration of Claude Simon’s La Chevelure de B éré n iceoffers a comparison of two texts, Femmes (1966), a work of fiction parallel to some paintings by Miró, and La Chevelure de Bérénice (1983). Both texts explore the possibilities generated by the word femme. Vol.XXVII, No. 4 103 L ’E sprit C réateur In conclusion this book is both pleasant and useful reading, a significant addition to critical works about the recent nobel laureate in literature. D in a S h e rz e r University o f Texas at Austin Vera Lee. L ove & S tr a te g y in th e E...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1931-0234
Print ISSN
0014-0767
Pages
pp. 103-104
Launched on MUSE
2017-07-05
Open Access
No
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