Baroque Fictions: Revisioning the Classical in Marguerite by Margaret Elizabeth Colvin

By Margaret Elizabeth Colvin

This quantity is the 1st in-depth research of the French novelist Marguerite Yourcenar?Ђ™s fiction to contend that the author?Ђ™s texts convey in unforeseen methods a variety of features of the neobaroque. This subversive, postmodern aesthetic privileges extravagant creative play, flux, and heterogeneity. In demonstrating the affinity of Yourcenar?Ђ™s texts with the neobaroque, the writer of this learn casts doubt on their presumed transparency and balance, characteristics linked to the French neoclassical culture of the previous century, the place the Yourcenarian ?“uvre is more often than not positioned. Yourcenar?Ђ™s election to the distinguished, tradition-bound French Academy in 1981 as its first girl ?Ђњimmortal?Ђќ cemented her already well-established area of interest within the twentieth-century French literary pantheon. A self-taught classicist, historian, and modern day French moralist, Yourcenar has been praised for her polished, ?Ђњclassical?Ђќ sort and analyzed for her use of fable and common topics. whereas these components at the start appear to justify amply the neoclassical label wherein Yourcenar is most generally famous, this study?Ђ™s shut analyzing of 4 of her fictions finds in its place the texts?Ђ™ opacity and subversive resistance to closure, their rejection of strong interpretations, and their deconstruction of postmodern Grand Narratives. Theirs is a neobaroque ?Ђњlogic,?Ђќ which stresses the absence of theoretical assurances and the restrictions of cause. The accident of the recent millennium ?Ђ” which in such a lot of methods displays Yourcenar?Ђ™s disquieting imaginative and prescient ?Ђ” and her centenary in 2003 offers now not rather a lot an excuse to reject the author?Ђ™s neoclassical label, yet relatively the duty to think again it in gentle of up to date discourses. This learn could be of curiosity to scholars of twentieth-century French fiction and comparative literature, in particular that of the latter 1/2 the 20th century. desk OF CONTENTS: I. A Frontispiece II. advent Marguerite Yourcenar and the Writing of Fiction: a classy significant III. bankruptcy 1 Anna,Soror...: Neobaroque Sacralizes the Abject IV. bankruptcy 2 Denier du r??ve : Baroque Discourses,Fascist Practices V. bankruptcy three Neobaroque Humanism: ?ЂњSounding the Abyss ?Ђќ in L ?Ђ™?’uvre au Noir VI. bankruptcy four Neobaroque Confessions: Un homme obscur and the Oppressive Superficiality of phrases VII. end An writer for the hot Millennium VIII. chosen Works mentioned and Consulted IX. Index of right Names

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The Great Depression of the same decade and the ensuing economic and social crisis strengthened the psychological need for tradition and control as well as nostalgia for lost or disappearing humanistic values. All of these factors help explain the return to classical sobriety and themes in literature of the interwar period. (At the other end of the social and cultural spectrum, of course, were the Dada and Surrealist movements that sprang up in the post-World War I years. They represented namely __________________ 39 André Gide, Essais critiques (Paris: Editions Gallimard, 1999) 282.

43 Wellek, “Classicism in Literature,” History of Ideas, vol. I, 455. 44 Ibid. Introduction 37 was complicit with fascist aims of order, control, and manipulation of the popular will. 45 Yet she hardly could have remained immune to the influence of classicism’s progressive adaptation to political, cultural, and social circumstances throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Not only have we seen that some of her earlier fictional works are “classical” in the modernist sense. Her later “historical” novels, on which her international reputation rests, suggest both nineteenth-century classicism by virtue of the totalizing weight of her erudition, seamless virtuosity, and “author-ity,” as well as twentieth-century classicism by virtue of her unfashionable use of history and her reliance on timeless, universal themes.

29 In the second place, it is possible to detect in products of the era elements both of order and disorder, of boundaries and openendedness: Rabelais wrote the chaotic, carnivalesque Pantagruel and __________________ 27 René Wellek, “Classicism in Literature,” Philip P. , Dictionary of the History of Ideas. Studies of Selected Pivotal Ideas, vol. I (New York: Charles Scribner’s Son, 1973) 455. , 451. 29 Denys Hay, “Idea of Renaissance,” History of Ideas, vol. IV, 126-28. 34 This is the subversive tradition—classicism’s hidden yet always present lining—to which Marguerite Yourcenar belongs, as I hope the following chapters will show.

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