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What Forms Can DoThe Work of Form in 20th- and 21st- Century French Literature and Thought$
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Patrick Crowley and Shirley Jordan

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781789620658

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781789620658.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM LIVERPOOL SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.liverpool.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Liverpool University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in LSO for personal use.date: 17 September 2021

A Gaggle of Geese or Technical Rigour

A Gaggle of Geese or Technical Rigour

Re-forming the Novel in 1940s France

(p.39) Chapter Two A Gaggle of Geese or Technical Rigour
What Forms Can Do

Ann Jefferson

Liverpool University Press

This chapter explores the role that consideration of form played in debates about the novel when a new generation of novelists came to the fore after the defeat of France in 1940. Reinforced by a widespread sense that the French novel lagged behind its European and American counterparts, the decade of the 1940s saw the emergence of a new ‘pensée romanesque’ triggered by the work of these novelists (Sartre, Duras, Beauvoir, Camus, Blanchot, Queneau, Triolet, Des Forêts, et al) and commented on explicitly by several of them (Blanchot, Queneau, Sartre) as well as by authors of critical essays, such as Claude-Edmonde Magny and Jean Pouillon. In their various ways, these writings testify to a perception that the nature of human experience had changed and that this change requires a transformation of the forms and techniques of fiction. This search for forms adequate to their object is accompanied — well before the emergence of the nouveau roman in the 1950s — by an equally strong sense that the novel needs to develop clearer generic definition and that this will necessarily entail a greater engagement with questions of its form, technique and language.

Keywords:   Form, Genre, Novel, 1940s France and literature

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