Present Pasts: Patrick Modiano's (Auto)Biographical Fictions by Dervila Cooke

By Dervila Cooke

This can be the 1st in-depth research of the twelve Modiano texts particularly excited by life-writing in autobiographical and biographical-cum-historiographical initiatives. The texts coated variety from los angeles position de l'?toile (1968) via to los angeles Petite Bijou (2001). shut textual research is mixed with a theoretical technique in keeping with present considering in autobiography, biography, and reader-response. Modiano's use of autofiction and biofiction is analysed within the gentle of his carrying on with obsession with either own trauma and background, in addition to his difficult courting along with his paternally-inherited Jewish hyperlinks. His view of identification (of self and different) is therefore mentioned on the subject of a specific literary and socio-historical context - French, postmodern, post-World struggle II, and post-Holocaust.

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Additional resources for Present Pasts: Patrick Modiano's (Auto)Biographical Fictions (Faux Titre 255)

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52 Present Pasts imaginer to avoid certain narratives that might be better faced headon. Another reason for a view of fiction as inadequate may be Modiano’s feeling of never really being able to access the historical events that he views as autobiographically important. In these matters, he will never be able to ‘affronter le passé en face’, despite being locked into a desire for imaginative connection with them. While Philippe Lejeune, one of the principal theorists of autobiography in France, places great stress on labels in his definition of what is autobiography and what is a novel, Modiano seems to accord less importance to this factor, and perhaps even to play on it.

The incorporation of precise topographical and historical detail into the fictions also often causes ontological blurring. On a more general level, the familiarity of Modiano’s fictional universe to the multiple-text reader can create feelings of ontological uncertainty, as it increases the solidity (and in a sense the ‘reality’) of that universe, even though it is often unclear which parts are most historically based. Modiano seems to be a figure struck by the bizarre in life, and this itself adds to the dreamlikeness of his writing.

Further, I dislike the fixity and intentionality inherent in the term ‘implied’. This is partly because the term does not adequately stress the historicism of reading practices (there can be no transhistoric implied author, just as there is no trans-historic implied reader), but also because I prefer to recognize that the reader retains some autonomy in his or her imagined picture of the author, despite being likely to respond in certain ways to certain narrative techniques. Of course, real authors are free to encourage the creation of different pictures of themselves from novel to novel.

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