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Fragmentation in the middle novels of Claude Simon: Le vent to Histoire Dybikowski, Ann Margaret 1980

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FRAGMENTATION IN THE MIDDLE NOVELS OF CLAUDE SIMON LE_VENT TO HISTOIRE by ANN MARGARET DYBIKOWSKI B.A.(Hons.)> U n i v e r s i t y of London, England, 1965 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY i n THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES (Department of French) We accept t h i s t h e s i s as conforming to the required standard: THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA MAY 1980 c} Ann Margaret Dybikowski, 1980 In presenting t h i s t h e s i s i n p a r t i a l f u l f i l m e n t of the requirements f o r an advanced degree at the U n i v e r s i t y of B r i t i s h Columbia, I agree that the L i b r a r y s h a l l make i t f r e e l y a v a i l a b l e f o r reference and study. I f u r t h e r agree that permission f o r extensive copying of t h i s t h e s i s f o r s c h o l a r l y purposes may be granted by the Head of my Department or by h i s r e p r e s e n t a t i v e s . I t i s understood that copying or p u b l i c a t i o n of t h i s t h e s i s f o r f i n a n c i a l gain s h a l l not be allowed without my w r i t t e n permission. Department of French The U n i v e r s i t y of B r i t i s h Columbia 2075 Wesbrook Place Vancouver, B.C. V6T 1W5 ABSTRACT: This study of n a r r a t i v e fragmentation concentrates on three major novels of Claude Simon's c e n t r a l p e r i o d — La Route des Flandres, Le Palace and H i s t o i r e — though i t a l s o looks at the foreshadowing of t h e i r composition i n the theme of fragmentary v i s i o n i n Le Vent; a work which, w h i l e i t does not f u l l y r e a l i z e i t s own s t a t e d aims, c o n s t i t u t e s the n o v e l i s t i c credo of the c e n t r a l p e r i o d . By n a r r a t i v e fragmentation i s meant the d i s c o n t i n u i t y produced by d e c h r o n o l o g i z a t i o n , abrupt sequence s h i f t s , and other devices that d i s -rupt the accustomed c o n t i n u i t y of n a r r a t i v e . Only what Ricardou has c a l l e d " l a fragmentation majeure", that i s , the major breaks between sequences, and not the minor i n t e r r u p t i o n s or d i g r e s s i o n s w i t h i n sequences, are d e a l t w i t h i n d e t a i l . I t i s considered f i r s t i n the general context of the fragmentedness of much twentieth century f i c t i o n and a r t , w i t h s p e c i a l reference to the p a r a l l e l w i t h Cubism. Some of the forms f r a g -mented n a r r a t i v e may take are suggested, together w i t h t h e i r p o s s i b l e f u n c t i o n s and s i g n i f i c a n c e as w e l l as the e f f e c t of fragmentation on the reading process. The fragmentedness of Simon's novels was viewed i n i t i a l l y by many c r i t i c s as a mimetic reproduction of mental processes, notably those of memory. One aim of t h i s study i s to examine n a r r a t i v e fragmentation i n the l i g h t of that i n t e r p r e t a t i o n , showing how and to what extent i t serves to evoke mental processes, but a l s o how i t o f t e n f u l f i l s an a n t i -r e a l i s t f u n c t i o n , undermining the coherence of the r e c i t . A n a l y s i s of the breaks i n the n a r r a t i v e and the t r a n s i t i o n a l devices connecting juxtaposed or interwoven sequences i n La Route shows that f a r i i from i m i t a t i n g the workings of memory, they f u l f i l mainly thematic functions, serving to superimpose rel a t e d scenes and figures i n a s p a t i a l composition i n which every element r e f l e c t s the others. Narrative f r a g -mentation i n Le Palace i s analyzed f o r . i t s rendering of a c e r t a i n experience of the passage of time (discontinuity, alternate slow-motion and l i g h t n i n g progression) through the a l t e r n a t i o n of two sequences i n a rhythmic pattern of interruptions and re p r i s e s . In H i s t o i r e narrative fragmentation i s shown to play a s i g n i f i c a n t r o l e i n suggesting the fragmentariness and di s c o n t i n u i t y of memory, but here, i n t h i s the most fragmented of the three novels analyzed, the exploration of the p o s s i b i l i t i e s of fragmented form i s c a r r i e d to i t s furthest extent, r e s u l t i n g i n a collage type composition of great inventiveness. Narrative fragmentation i n the novels of Simon's c e n t r a l period i s thus shown torcontribute tip^at c e r t a i n psychological realism i n the twentieth century t r a d i t i o n of stream of consciousness f i c t i o n . But i t s thematic and formal r o l e i s shown to be of far greater importance and o r i g i n a l i t y . The replacing of chronological order by a compositional method that juxtaposes or interweaves fragmented sequences emphasizes thematic r e l a t i o n s between narrative elements and favours the creation of formal symmetries and patterns. Beneath the surface incoherence and disorder of fragmented narrative l i e s a t i g h t l y k n i t and formally rigourous composition, made possible by that very fragmentation. i i i TABLE OF CONTENTS Abstract-- p. i i Table of Contents p. i v L i s t of f i g u r e s p. v i i i I n t r o d u c t i o n p. 1 r Chapter IT Fragmented N a r r a t i v e ; I t s Nature and S i g n i f i c a n c e p. In t r o d u c t i o n p. 9 I . What i s fragmented n a r r a t i v e ? , p. 15 i . Fragmentary n a r r a t i v e p. 16 i i . Fragmented n a r r a t i v e p. 17 i i i . Time-sequence and fragmentation p. 20 i v . N a r r a t i v e subject and fragmentation p. 20 v. N a r r a t i v e v o i c e and fragmentation p. 21 v i . T e x tual sequence p. 23 v i i . Language and fragmentation p. 26 I I . Fragmented composition and i t s e f f e c t s p. 27 i . Fragmentation as a technique of d e f a m i l i a r i s a t i o n p. 30 i i . J u x t a p o s i t i o n and the production of meaning p. 31 i i i . Fragmentation and the rendering of s i m u l t a n e i t y p. 32 i v . Fragmentation and s p a t i a l form p. 34 v. Fragmentation and formal design p. 37 v i . Fragmented n a r r a t i v e and the reader*s response p. 40 Chapter I I ? The Theme of Fragmentary V i s i o n and the Conception of a Fragmented N a r r a t i v e i n *'Le Vent" p. 43 i v I n t r o d u c t i o n p. 43 I. The broken m i r r o r ? image of a n a r r a t i v e s t y l e p. 44 I I . The r o l e of the n a r r a t o r i n Le Vent p. 47 I I I . A phenomenological j u s t i f i c a t i o n f o r fragmented n a r r a t i v e p. 49 IV. The problem of language p. 52 V. N a r r a t i v e s t r u c t u r e i n Le Vent p. 53 VI. N a r r a t i v e method i n the s i x t h chapter p. 56 V I I . Images of fragmentation p. 60 Conclusion p. 63 Chapter I I I ? Representation of an Inner World of P r o d u c t i v i t y of a Text? C r i t i c a l Response to the Fragmented N a r r a t i v e of the Novels from "La Route  des Flandres" to " H i s t o i r e " p. 64 Chapter IV: The Techniques of Montage i n 1'La Route des Flandres" I n t r o d u c t i o n p. 79 "L'embranchement du h u i t " : a n a r r a t i v e j u n c t i o n p. 82 Types of t r a n s i t i o n p. 86 i . T r a n s i t i o n s based on p s y c h o l o g i c a l s t a t e s or processes p. 90 i i . The a l t e r n a t i o n of frame and n a r r a t i o n p. 96 i i i . M i s l e a d i n g adverbs and conjunctions p. 103 i v . T r a n s i t i o n by means of indeterminate pronouns p. 106 v. Sequences contained i n extended parentheses p. I l l v i . T r a n s i t i o n through a s s o c i a t i o n p. 114 Conclusion p. 121 Chapter V1: In the L a b y r i n t h : The Composition of "La Route des Flandres" p. 123 I n t r o d u c t i o n p. 123 I . The patterns of fragmentation p. 124 V I I . A fragmentary v i s i o n p. 133 I I I . In the l a b y r i n t h : the book as symbolic space p. 135 IV. R e p e t i t i o n and symmetry i n the composition p. 138 V. Archetype and v a r i a t i o n p. 148 VI. The s p a t i a l form of La Route des Flandres p. 153 Conclusion p. 155 Chapter VI: Fragmentation and the P e r c e p t i o n of Time i n "Le Palace" p. 157 I n t r o d u c t i o n p. 157 The composition of the novel p. 161 i . " I n v e n t a i r e " p. 162 i i . "Le r e c i t de l'homme-fusil" p. 165 i i i . "Les f u n e r a i l l e s de P a t r o c l e " p. 171 i v . "Dans l a n u i t " p. 173 v. "Le bureau des objets perdus" p. 175 Conclusion p. 179 Chapter V I I : The Mosaic of the Past: The Fragmented Text of " H i s t o i r e " p. 181 " H i s t o i r e " p. 181 I n t r o d u c t i o n p. 181 ' I.- Memory as subject p. .183 .. . I I . Memory and language p. 190 '.';: I I I . The indeterminate " I i r p."~199 - . I V . Patterns of fragmentation, i n the composition of H i s t o i r e . p; 208 •V. N a r r a t i v e fragmentation and the rendering of consciousness p. 212 ,; VI. The text as c o l l a g e : anatomy of a chapter p-. 216 Conclusion p. 224 v i Conclusion p. 226 Notes p. 232 Selected B i b l i o g r a p h y p. 243 LIST OF FIGURES Figure 1: Drawing a f t e r a sketch by Andre Lhote p. 13 Figure 2: Pronominal switches i n La Route des Flandres p. 100 Figure 3: N a r r a t i v e switches i n Part I of La Route p. 127 Figure 4: N a r r a t i v e switches i n Part I I of La Route p. 128 Figure 5? N a r r a t i v e switches i n Part I I I of La Route p. 129 v i i i INTRODUCTION The first-time reader of La Route des Flandres or Hlstolre i s struck most forcefully by the fragmentation of the narrative which Is one of the fundamental features of Claude Simon's mature novels. Scenes are inter-rupted by new episodes which are themselves i n turn interrupted or curtailed. Past and present intermingle in a chaotic succession in which chronology plays no part. At times the text resembles a collage of f r a g -ments that include quotations from other texts, slogans, headlines, recurring phrases. The reader's expectations of narrative continuity are continually un f u l f i l l e d . At the same time, no-matter how chaotic or fragmented the text may appear, the reader i s aware, however vaguely, that some overall pattern governs i t s development, who could f a i l to notice, when reading La Route des Flandres for the f i r s t time, for instance, the frequency of tr i p l e elements: the novel's division into three parts, i t s three narrative frames (train, prison-camp, hotel room), i t s three trian-gular dramas — to name the most obvious. This combination of a fragmented narrative and complex underlying patterns i s particularly exciting to a reader interested in composition. To read a Simon novel i s to embark almost immediately on an increasingly complicated system of cross-reference. Simon i s fond of describing his writing as "bricolage", which suggests the construction or assemblage of an object (in this case a text) out of whatever materials are available. 2 I see my own approach to his work as the reverse of that process: a deconstruction or disassemblage, as i t were, a taking to pieces of the text to see how i t works, how the parts f i t together and how i t s mechanisms function. My study has necessarily been limited. Since fragmented composition by Its very nature requires detailed analysis, i t has simply not been possible to Include as many of the novels as I had at f i r s t hoped. Selection was essential and though i t was made partly on grounds of per-sonal preference, i t was largely guided by the desire to concentrate on a unified group of novels. The work of Claude Simon up to the present f a l l s Into three broad phases: the early novels (Le Trlcheur. Gulliver and Le Sacre du Prlntemps) i n which he was attempting to find his way, the novels between Le Vent and La Bataille de Pharsale which constitute a middle period (L'Herbe, La Route des Flandres, Le Palace and Histoire) of which Le Vent and La Bataille de Pharsale, both transitional works, mark the opening and closing stages, and f i n a l l y the more recent works (Les Corps conducteurs, Trlptyque and Lecon de choses) which are a definite departure from what had come to be considered as a distinctively Slmonlan manner. In the view of Gerard Roubichou, whose work offers one of the most systematic and rigorous approaches to Simon's writing currently available, the novels from L'Herbe to Histoire form a unified body of writing — "un unlvers romanesque global regi par d'analogues lois d'ecriture et de proi-duction". 1 These novels are related to each other not only because charac-ters and incidents reappear from one book to the next, and because of the recurrence of certain themes, but more fundamentally, because of the similarities of style and composition which mark this period of Simon's 3 writing. Roubichou calls i t " l a periode centrale". Central not merely because of i t s position but because in his view, i t i s " l a plus remarquable, l a plus 'achevee' de l a production simonienne". Not a l l readers would share this estimation of course. For some, on the contrary, i t i s the most recent novels that constitute Simon's greatest achievement, since, freed of the psychological and representational concerns that, in their view, mar the earlier work, „ the later novels are his fullest and most sustained realisation of the power of a text to generate i t s own themes and fictions without reference to any supposedly pre-existing r e a l i t y . Personally, however, I tend towards Roubichou's judgement, for while I ad-mire Simon's most recent work, I find i t over-contrived and lacking the textual richness and density of his previous novels. Conceivably, i t was the necessity for excessive control of the text in the attempt to eradicate psychological or referential elements that has led to the loss of l y r i c a l intensity regretfully noted by Roubichou: On peut se deraander s i l a disparition — ou l a diminution — de cette force lyrique (vis lyrica) dans les dernieres oeuvres n'est pas une perte importante pour l'univers sioonien.3 Many readers, no doubt, w i l l share this sense that, despite the formal perfection of the later work, something v i t a l has been lost. I have chosen to limit myself in this study, to the novels of the central period. This choice does not merely express personal preference, but also the belief that these novels form a unified group within which, i t would be possible to study certain types and effects of narrative fragmentation i n depth and to trace their evolution from one novel to the next. This seemed more satisfactory than the most obvious alternative of a broad but inevitably more superficial study of narrative fragmentation in the whole of Simon's work. Such a study would, in any case, tend to 4 s p l i t i n two because while fragmented composition continues to characterize Simon's novels, i t s nature and functions dif f e r significantly in the later works. Another alternative would have been to select one or more novels from the central and later periods and to study the changing role of fragmented composition by contrasting them, but some of the rich variety of compositional effects in the central period would have been passed over in such a project. It seems altogether more satisfying to explore the composition of one particular group of novels in i t s f u l l range and depth than either to contrast works of a quite different character or to attempt to deal with the evolution of Simon's compositional techniques across a period of thirty years and a dozen novels. My study of fragmented composition begins with Le Vent, which, though i t does not properly belong with the novels of the central period, announces them. In style and composition, i t i s closer to the more conventional works that precede i t , but i t s reflections on narrative convention prepare the way for the highly original novels that were to follow. The theme of fragmentary vision (the fragmentedness of experience, the fragmentary knowledge we have of our own and other lives) which appears from the opening pages, could almost constitute an aesthetic programme for the succeeding novels. It i s for this reason that I have devoted a whole chapter to Le Vent, even though i t cannot be placed on the same level as the mature work that was to come. I have not dealt at a l l with L'Herbe, the novel which followed Le Vent and which i s the f i r s t of Simon's mature works. It has already been the sub-ject of Roubichou's minutely detailed Lecture de "L'Herbe" and I have therefore preferred to concentrate on the three major novels that succeeded i t , which have not yet received the same kind of exhaustive analysis of 5 narrative method and composition that Roubichou has performed for L'Herbe The scope of the topic i t s e l f s t i l l needs defining before we go any further. In the novels of the central period, the narrative i s fragmented on two levels, that of the overall composition with i t s interrupted^ episodes and disordered time-sequence and that of the sentence by sentence development. Jean Ricardou has made a useful distinction between these two levels: Ce qui deroute l a lecture, en effet, d'emblee, ce sont les bifurcations incessantes dues a un morcellement a deux nlveaux. D'une part, une fragmentation majeure: ainsi rencontrons-nous des sequences, s i l'on appelle ainsi une suite coherente d'elements fictionnels, et des raptures, s i l'on nomme ainsi l a separation de deux sequences. D'autre part, une fragmentation mineure: ainsi rencontrons-nous, a 1'interiear des sequences, des coupures ou separations relatives obtenues solt par metaphore, solt par comparaison, soit par alternative, et des fragments ou segments obtenus dans une sequence par 1'intervention d'une coupure.4 What Ricardou calls " l a fragmentation mineure"— the breaks within a sequence brought about by comparisons, alternatives and so forth — has from the start, attracted much comment and i t s mechanisms have been the object of detailed analysis."* The major fragmentation, that of the progression of sequences, has received l i t t l e systematic analysis to date. For this reason, although the two levels of fragmentation are clearly connected and equally contribute to the general fragmentedness of the novels, I propose to deal only with the major level of fragmentation. Throughout, I have been conscious of having to confront two conflicting attitudes towards the question of fragmented narrative. On the one hand, there i s what might be termed the neo-realist attitude, which sees fragmen-tation as the mark of the novel of memory: the fragmentation of the narrative mirrors the double fragmentedness, both of experience i t s e l f and of the traces It leaves in the mind. On the other hand, there i s the Ricardolian . 6 approach which, has dominated Simon criticism since about 1970, which would interpret fragmented narrative on the contrary as a deliberate subversion of the realist i l l u s i o n and as a sign of the growing pre-eminence accorded to the autonomous development of the text. I have attempted in my third chapter, to give some account of these two conflicting positions i n order to provide a c r i t i c a l context for discussion of the novels. In my own view, neither approach i s sufficient by i t s e l f to explain the novels of the central period, for there i s a tension in them between the twentieth-century tradition of psychological - realism to which they partly belong and the novel of pure textuality towards which they are moving. This tension, far from constituting a flaw, accounts i n part, for their r i c h -ness, for the reader's sense of their inexhaustibility and for a certain elusiveness in the face of systematic analysis, for they can be read on so many levels at once. I have attempted throughout, to maintain a balance between these two approaches and not to distort or deny the psychological elements i n the novels through retrospective awareness of the direction Simon's writing was to take. It seems to me somewhat regrettable that Simon himself should now consider these elements as flaws i n his work. My f i r s t chapter is an examination of fragmented narrative in general terms, which attempts both to define i t and to suggest i n broad outline the types of representational, thematic and formal effects i t can achieve. The secondary aim of this chapter i s to evoke, however sketchily, the wider twentieth century background, both Of the novel and of the visual arts, against which the significance of fragmented composition can be better understood. From there, I go on i n my second chapter to look at the theme of "fragmentary vision i n Le Vent, to see the way in which i t foreshadows the 7 subsequent novels and to assess Simon's f i r s t attempts at creating a fragmented narrative. The third chapter as already mentioned, reviews differing c r i t i c a l interpretations of the fragmented composition that marks the hovels of the central period. The remaining chapters are devoted to detailed analysis of La Route  des Flandres, Le Palace and Histoire. I have tried i n each case to concen-trate on a particular aspect or function of fragmentation. In the two chapters on La Route, I have f i r s t examined very closely the breaks i n the narrative and the transitional devices that link fragmented sequences, before going on to look at the role of these breaks in the overall composition of the novel. With Le Palace, I have tried to show how narrative fragmentation contributes to rendering a certain perception of time. In the case of Histoire, which i s i n some ways a more traditional novel, I have tried to indicate to what extent the fragmentation of the narrative f u l f i l l s a psychological function — the representation of consciousness while also reflecting the growing autonomy of the text and the importance of fragmentation in i t s own right as a compositional mode, akin to collage in the visual arts. Whenever feasible, I have attempted to schematise the progression of the narrative, so that both the extent of i t s fragmentedness and i t s characteristic structural patterns may be grasped in an overall view. I hope to have shown in my analysis of these three novels;'how the fragmentation of the narrative • contributes to their thematic and formal patterns and thus to the total significance of each work. In uncovering the basic framework of the narrative and i t s articulations and i n suggesting some of the structural elements in each novel, I have no illusions of having done more than take the f i r s t step towards accounting 8 for their compositional richness and complexity, which seem almost inexhaustible. The search for further connections and patterns is a pleasure to be renewed with each subsequent reading. 9 CHAPTER I FRAGMENTED NARRATIVE: ITS NATURE AND SIGNIFICANCE Literature, which has traditionally projected a coherent view of the world, i s now grappling with i t s fragmented form; and like the modern painter, the modern novelist i s now reassembl-ing the pieces i n a new order. Claude Simon interviewed by Claud DuVerlie, Sub-stance, 8 (Winter 1974). Many of the novels that one thinks of as essentially modern are notable for their fragmented composition. This is as true of works such as Ulysses, U.S.A. and The Sound and the Fury, which marked the great renewal of the novel in the twenties, as of recent writing i n the sixties and the seventies which have produced not only the fragmented narrative of the nouveau roman in France, but also such works as Uwe Johnson's Speculations about Jakob, Grass's Pages from the diary of a snail, John Berger's G, Julio Cortazar's Hopscotch and many others. A variety of explanations have been offered to account for this fragmentedness. It i s a c r i t i c a l commonplace, according to Eric Rabkin, who, discusses the role of fragmentation in his a r t i c l e "Spatial Form and  Plot", to view the fragmentation of twentieth century 1literature as "an analogy for the f e l t fragmentation of twentieth century culture." 1 He himself sees i t as one of a number of techniques that serve to revitalize familiar literary forms. Another commentator, Michel Zeraffa, in his study of the novel of 10 the twenties, La revolution romanesque. advances the thesis that narrative 2 forms are always dictated by the currently prevailing image of man. In his view, the fragmentation that marks the novels of Joyce, Woolf, Faulkner and others, i s directly related to new conceptions of personality. The same belief has been eloquently expressed by the novelist, Ana'is Nin: Much has been written about the fragmentation of the novel, but this reaction stems from an outmoded concept of wholeness. Whole-ness in the past was a semblance of consistency created from a pattern, social and philosophical, to which human beings submitted. This a r t i f i c i a l unity of man was dissolved by a new vision into the selves which were masked in order to achieve a semblance of unity, a new vision into the r e l a t i v i t y of truth and character. Man i s not a f i n i t e , static, crystallized unity. He i s f l u i d , in a constant state of flux, evolution, reaction and action, negative and positive. He is the purest example of r e l a t i v i t y * We as novelists have to make a new synthesis, one which includes fluctuations, oscillations and reactions. It i s a matter of reassembling the fragments in a more dynamic li v i n g structure. This s p l i t from an unreal uniformity of pattern, this fragmen-tation has been the theme of modem literature beginning with Proust's microscopic analysis through the dissolutions of Joyce's play on words; but neither of these processes needed to be fatal to the ultimate integration . . . . What remains to be created is a new synthesis to include a l l the newly discovered dimensions.3 Nin i s defending the modern novel against those c r i t i c s who have attacked 4 i t specifically for what they see as i t s fragmentation of the person. Like Virginia Woolf, who, in a celebrated lecture,^called on novelists to abandon the a r t i f i c i a l construction of "character" and in i t s place, depict the individual consciousness traversed by a multitude of fragmentary impressions and responses,Nin seeks in the novel' >ja portrayal of personality in keeping with the constant state of flux i n which the self exists. The rendering of that state of flux necessarily entails a fragmentation of the stable, coherent processes of narrative. Nin's word8 are echoed by the c r i t i c Sharon Spencer, writing of modern novelists i n Space. Time and Structure in the Modern Novel; Like the Cubist painters, they are determined to shatter the old 11 idea that reality i s clear, simple, coherent and unified . . . . a l l refuse their readers the assurance of easy conclusions and quick judgements. They are asking, instead, that their readers observe and acknowledge that reality Is polymorphous, i l l o g i c a l , fragmented, chaotic, and, above a l l , myriad faceted.6 Both Nin and Spencer are writing from what might be termed a neo-realist standpoint. Implicit , in what both of them say here, is the view that the novel depicts reality and that rea l i t y , internal or external, being multi-faceted, constantly changing and therefore fragmented, the serious novelist w i l l attempt to represent i t thus. While this view may go a long way towards accounting for the fragmentedness of novels that seek to render the flow of consciousness or the complexity of modern l i f e , i t would certainly not be acceptable to many of the contemporary writers whose novels could also be described as fragmented. In their works, on the contrary, the fragmentation of the traditional elements of the narrative can be seen as a challenge to the whole notion of realism, a means of systematically undermining the representational tradition of the novel. In the most recent novels of Claude Simon, for instance, the methodical interruption of the narrative i s one device among many that remind the reader that the novel i s a text, a sequence of words related to other words in a formal composition and not an imitation of l i f e . There is an interesting parallel to be made here with fragmentation in the visual arts, a parallel that has been suggested by Simon himself, whose long-term interest in painting i s evident in his fondness for analogies drawn from that domain. Simon sees the novel as having reached the same point i n i t s evolution as painting at the end of the nineteenth century: . . . . c'est-a-dire lorsque c e l l e - c i a cease de raconter ou de 12 representer des evenements (Enlevement des Sabines. Noces de Cana ou Massacres de Scio) pour entreprendre de presenter sans autre ju s t i f i c a t i o n que lui-meme un objet p i c t u r a l . 7 The disappearance of the anecdote in painting i s paralleled by the diminishing Importance of the story i n the nouveau roroan. Just as, in a painting, an object (door, table, etc.) serves as a pretext for an arrangement of colours and shapes, so too, i n a new novel, the f i c t i o n a l elements may be seen as no more than that: a pretext for a composition to which they are subordinated. In this light, the fragmentation of the nar-rative might be viewed as one stage in the gradual displacement of the story, with the proviso, of course, that this process cannot go as far as i t has in the visual arts, since words, having meanings, cannot be used like colours on canvas, purely abstractly. Simon has expressly linked the fragmenatlon of the narrative to fragmentation in the visual arts. Speaking at the 1974 Cerisy Colloquium devoted to his work, he said: En ce qui coneerne l a fragmentation de la f i c t i o n , je pense qu'il y aurait l a , comme pour I'importance prise par l a description, tout un travail a faire en rapprochant encore ce phenomene de celui qui s'est produit dans l a peinture, en particulier avec le cubisme . . . . The comparative study Simon proposes, i s altogether beyond the scope of this thesis, but a few general observations can be made on the parallels between Cubist painting and the fragmented novel, that may throw some light 9 on the general significance of fragmentation as a compositional technique. Even the most uninformed spectator looking at a Cubist painting can see that the subject has been broken into fragments which are reassembled in a new, incomplete image.* The fragmentation of the p i c t o r i a l subject There is an interesting demonstration of this process in the accompanying il l u s t r a t i o n , which has additional significance for us, since i t was with Andre Lhote that Simon studied painting for some time. 13 FIGURE 1 A f t e r a sketch by Andre Lhote, demonstrating how he combined v a r i o u s elements of a g l a s s i n t o a s i n g l e Cubist image (1952) From Herschel B. Chipp, Theories of Modern A r t (Berkeley & Los Angeles- Univ. of C a l i f o r n i a Press, 1968). 14 i s paralleled by: that of the narrative subject: in both painting and novel, the elements of the subject are broken up i n order to create a new synthesis. Just as the shifting planes of the Cubist painting abolish fixed temporal and spatial relations, so too, the destruction of narrative continuity in the fragmented novel creates a new mobility among the elements of the text which are no longer fixed i n a time sequence. Specta-tor and reader alike, are therefore confronted with multiple and discon-tinuous viewpoints, which permit the exploration of multiple, inter-related, or even contradictory aspects of the subject. In the case of both canvas and text, the spectator or reader's creative participation i s sought: the fragmented elements can be reassembled In an indefinite number of ways, but an active "reading" of canvas or text is necessary for this potential to be realized. At the same time, the focus i s away from the subject i t s e l f and onto the composition for which i t provides the pretext. A Cubist portrait, for instance, does not aim at capturing resemblance; the subject is a p i c t o r i a l creation, not a representation of the actual s i t t e r (though the sitter's qualities or state may be quite vividly expressed none the less). The composition i t s e l f , and not the persons or objects in the real world which have provided i t s starting-point, is now the true subject. These are by no means the only analogies to be found between Cubist art and the fragmented novel, but they are the most Important for our purposes.^What they suggest about the possible significance of fragmen-tation i n the novel i s that, far from f u l f i l l i n g the realist aims implied by Anais Nin, i t may mark a movement away from the imitation of the real world towards a greater concern with formal composition. The fragmentation of the narrative might thus be seen as part of the general trend i n the arts towards the abandonment of representation in favour of an exploration 15 of the specificity of the art-form i t s e l f (i.e. coloured pigments spread on a f l a t surface or sequences of words related to other words). While fragmentation i n the visual arts i s generally seen as reflecting new conceptions of the nature of art, the fragmentedness of the modern novel has most-often been explained in terms of changing conceptions of personality or a new epistemology. However, the balance has slowly shifted away from such neo-realist explanations towards a re-evaluation of the nature of the literary work, in which fragmentation takes on a different significance. This s h i f t , as we shall see i n a later chapter, i s reflected i n the c r i t i c a l response to the fragmentedness of the narrative in the novels of Simon's central period. I. What is fragmented narrative? It w i l l be apparent even from the novels referred to thus far that the term "fragmented narrative" covers a wide variety of works of vastly different subjects and aims. While this diversity makes i t d i f f i c u l t , i f not impossible, to generalize about the role of fragmentation i n the modern novel and i t s significance, i t is possible nonetheless to arrive at some general idea of what constitutes fragmented narrative. This w i l l provide a context for the detailed analysis of narrative structure in the novels of the central period, a context within which i t w i l l be easier to grasp both the traditional and the innovative aspects of Simon's work. It may be helpful f i r s t to make some distinction between the related and often interchangeable terms "fragmentary" and "fragmented". I have found i t expedient to use "fragmentary" to mean "not complete or entire" and "fragmented" to mean "broken into fragments" (Oxford English Dictionary). Thus, a fragmentary narrative w i l l be one that contains a 16 significant number of gaps and. omissions, whereas a fragmented'narrative w i l l be one that i s broken up and disconnected. In practice, the two tend to overlap: a fragmentary narrative w i l l : always be broken into fragments by i t s very incompleteness; a fragmented narrative may often be fragmentary too, although this i s not necessarily the case, since narrative may be fragmented by constant digression, for instance, but not reveal any gaps or omissions i n the story i t t e l l s . It i s thus the characteristic of incompleteness, essential to the notion of fragmentary narrative but not to that of fragmented, which distinguishes them and which gives to fragmentary narrative i t s particular significance. i . Fragmentary narrative In the most l i t e r a l sense, a narrative may be fragmentary, either through loss or deterioration of part of a manuscript, or through the incompleteness of the narrator's account of events. The f i r s t possibility has often been exploited i n the novel for realist purposes, most notably i n the epistolary and personal journal genres, where lacunae i n the supposed original are foot-noted by a f i c t i t i o u s editor, as, for instance, i n La Nouvelle Helolse or a contemporary Quebec novel by Hubert Aquin, Trou de memoire. The second possibility (the narrator's incomplete account) is also used for r e a l i s t ends. The gaps i n the narrative are intended to impart an a i r of authenticity to his narration in contrast to what is evidently f e l t to be the inauthenticity of omniscient narration. In Simon's early novel, Le Vent, as we shall see later, the narrator i s constantly at pains to stress his incomplete knowledge of events and the consequent gaps or distortions i n his account, an attitude which reflects the author's often 17 expressed view that we can only attain to a fragmentary knowledge of our own and other live s . Similarly, the acknowledged fragmentariness of the narrative may serve to highlight the bias of any one perspective on events, as i n Uwe Johnson's The Third Book about Achim. where we are told about Achim's biographer: Karsch didn't want everything about Achim, he only wanted to pick what distinguished him (in Karsch's opinion) from other people . . . . for that was the purpose of his choice among the different episodes of a l i f e , that's what he wanted of the many truths. And what do you want with the truth?H The question leads the reader to reflect not only on the meaning of .truth, particularly In the context of the opposing views of social r e a l i t y in the two Germanies, but beyond that, on the role of the novelist and the nature of f i c t i o n i t s e l f . In general, fragmentariness, whether used as an occasional r e a l i s t device or as a consistent principle of narration, almost invariably reflects a particular view of truth and knowledge. Fragmentary narrative, there-fore, has a thematic role; i t i s part of the general meaning of the work. i i . Fragmented narrative A l l narrative, because of i t s necessarily selective nature, contains gaps and omissions— periods of time passed over in silence, events ignored or cursorily dismissed. But i t w i l l not appear fragmentary unless attention i s called to those gaps i n one way or another. Generally, as Jean Ricardou points out i n his study of narrative i n the nouveau roman. these gaps are dissimulated in such a way as to maintain an appearance of continuity: Passer d'une sequence a 1'autre, c'est traiter le hiatus qui les separe. Cette lacune, l e texte peut l a tr a v a i l l e r de deux manieres: en l a formulant, en l a passant sous silence. En chaque cas, l'effet 18 est paradoxal. Formuler le hiatus, c'est molns le montrer que  l'escamoter. SI frequente, l a formule "hult jours apres" semble inslster, en l'evaluant, sur l a fissure qui separe deux sequences; mais, en f a i t , tout son travail consiste a remplir le vide en decrivant l'intervalle, a donner une substance a l a beance, Bref, a substituer une arche a un ablme: c'est une procedure de continuite. Passer le hiatus sous silence, c'est moins.l'escamoter que  1'accuser. Loin de recevolr entre elles l e tampon de quelques mots intermediaires, les deux sequences jointes restent separees par un vide abrupt que le texte ne franchit qu'en les entrechoquant: c'est une procedure de discontinuite.^ Ricardou's comments have something to t e l l us, not only about fragmentary narrative but also about fragmented narrative, for i n both cases, the presence or absence of transitional or connecting elements i s v i t a l . In a fragmentary narrative, the absence of the conventional formula "Huit jours apres", or i t s equivalent, means that the gap i s l e f t v i s i b l e , the incompleteness declared. In the fragmented narrative, the absence of a transitional phrase creates discontinuity in place of the expected continuity of narrative. Where the conventional narrative bridges gaps with a convenient formula of one kind or another, the fragmented narrative, on the contrary, juxtaposes sequences without benefit of transitional or connecting elements — connecting elements of a conventional kind, that i s to say, for the fragmented text has i t s own kind of connec-tions that must be sought by the reader. The principal effect of the lack of overt transitions i s that each sequence remains isolated and disconnected, an individual fragment instead of a link in a narrative chain. The notion of fragmentedness i s indeed best grasped by contrast with the continuity that the reader i s accustomed to find i n narrative, a continuity that, according to Roland Barthes, i s an essential feature of a l l conventional texts: Le Livre (traditionnel) est un oblet qui enchalne. developpe. f i l e et coule. bref a l a plus profonde horreur du vide. 19 . . . . ecrire, c'est couler des mots a l'interieur de cette grande categorie du continu, qui est le rScit , . . ,13 Barthes is writing here about one of the most fragmented of contemporary works — Michel Butor's Mobile — and attempting to explain the generally negative reaction of c r i t i c s and public alike by the fact that i t infringes the norm of continuity. If lack of continuity i s thought to disconcert the reader i n a work such as Mobile, which does not bear the t i t l e of "roman" but of "etude pour une representation des Etats-Unis", how much more disorienting i t w i l l be In a narrative work — "cette grande categorie du continu . . . . le r e c i t " . Narration in i t s widest sense, however, is not inherently continuous. In everyday l i f e , the continuity of the informal accounts we give or receive of events is affected by a variety of factors. Emotion, memory lapses, listener reaction or interruption and so forth, can a l l undermine continuity to a greater or lesser degree. Narrative in the formal sense, however, is expected to offer a high degree of continuity and various principles and conventions serve this aim. The novelist may, of course, for the sake of realism, exploit the discontinuity of the informal account, but the conventional novel, on the whole, conforms to the principle of narrative continuity. Continuity i n the novel is derived i n large part from the conventions of narration, but also, as we shall see later, from the material nature of the book i t s e l f , from the linear sequence of the text. The fragmented narrative may disrupt continuity on both those levels. The principle of narration that governs most novels may be characterized as the progressive unfolding by a narrator of a series of causally and chronologically connected incidents. Observance of time sequence would thus seem to be an essential component of narrative continuity. To this 20 might be added a certain degree of continuity i n narrative voice or perspective and i n narrative subject. Significant departure from any of these sources of continuity may lead to fragmentation of the narrative. i i i . Time-sequence and fragmentation Interference with time-sequence, because i t i s so fundamental to narrative, i s the most lik e l y to bring about narrative fragmentation. Naturally, observance of time-sequence does not preclude flashback or anticipation, which can easily be integrated into the progressive unfolding of events. Flashback, in fact, has been so widely used in cinema as a narrative method that i t has come to seem the most conventional of devices. But when temporal sequence is seriously disrupted, the narrative i s s p l i t into disconnected fragments of time that the reader must reassemble like a jigsaw. The systematic disordering of chronology i s one of the principal techniques of fragmentation i n the novels of Claude Simon's central period, as i t i s i n the work of many other twentieth century novelists including that of Faulkner, whose writing has been one of the 14 most marked influences upon Simon. iv . Narrative subject and fragmentation Traditional narrative frequently includes the parallel narration of one or more sub-plots and may contain mini-narratives within the main one. Digression and commentary may also interrupt the unfolding of events, but continuity i s not broken when these additional elements are well integrated with the main subject (each-episode being brought to an appropriate juncture before another one commences, temporal indications —"Meanwhile", etc. — t o show their'position in the overall time scheme, and so forth). 21 One does not think of War and Peace as a fragmented novel, even though i t moves from drawing-room to battlefield, from Pierre to Andrew, Natasha to Princess Mary, but a multiplicity of different narrative subjects w i l l fragment the novel i f procedures that ensure integration and continuity are absent. The contrast between the conventional use of parallel narratives and the fragmenting effect of multiple narratives has been made by Jean Ricardou: Rlen, sans doute, n'exalte mieux le lineaire que.son apparent contraire: l e recit alterne. Adroite, chaque reprise d'une histoire suppose 1*arret de l'autre; chaque rupture, un retour. Songeons a l'exuperien Vol de Nuit: s i le dosage des deux suites d'evenements est habile, le suspens se multiplie en quelque sorte lui-meme. Loin de se combattre, les deux linearites se combinent et chacune en t i r e le benefice d'un renforcement. Supposons^toutefois que, systematiquement contrainte a 1'intemperance, l a procedure recoure non plus a deux mais a une croissante foule de series. Alors 1'ensemble bascule. Chaque bris ne s'accompagne plus de l a recon-fortante certitude d'une retrouvaille; i t contient l a menace d'une rupture nouvelle. Incapable de controler cette dispersion, l a lecture est aux aguets de tout retour a l'un des secteurs abandonnes. Ainsi devient-elle singulierement vulnerable aux impacts du similaire et du r e p e t i t i f . 1 5 As Ricardou shows, the multiplication of narrative series makes the narrative unstable, but even the alternation of two narratives, when i t i s done without the conventional techniques that ensure continuity, can fragment the narrative, as indeed i t does in a l l the novels of the central period but especially i n Le Palace as we shall see later on. v. Narrative voice and fragmentation Just as sub-plots or digression do not necessarily destroy narrative continuity, so the presence of more than one narrator does not inevitably fragment the narration. There may be narration within narration, for instance, as i n Manon Lescaut or -Wutheffrig\H'eighCs, 'or a p r i n c i p a l narrator may be temporarily replaced by another who has particular knowledge of 22 certain events. The progression of the narrative i s not thereby made discontinuous or disconnected,but a multi-voice narration w i l l almost certainly fragment the narrative, whether each voice is limited to a self-contained section of the whole as i n The Sound and the Fury, or whether they are interwoven in passages that are themselves fragmentary, as i n Claude Mauriac's Le Diner en v i l l e . composed of the intermingled conversations and interior monologues of eight dinner guests, or Uwe Johnson's Speculations about Jakob which also interweaves several voices. Although, in the novels of the central period, Claude Simon has not used a multi-voice or multi-perspective narration of this kind, there i s i n each one, as we shall see, a doubling of voice or perspective that breaks the unity of the narration and adds to the overall fragmentedness of the text. Thus, the continuity of the narrative may be disrupted through systematic interruption or disordering of i t s time-sequence and also through the multiplying of subject or voice, which, in each case, depending on the degree to which procedures of transition and integration are absent, may bring about i t s fragmentation. It is not necessary, however, that continuity be broken in a l l these areas for a narrative to be fragmented. Le Diner en v i l l e , for example, observes the unities of time, place and subject but i s fragmented by i t s multi-voice narration. La Jalousie has a remarkable continuity of perspective and subject, but a disrupted time-sequence which fragments i t . There i s s t i l l to be considered one more source of continuity in the novel, which is derived from the sequential nature of the text. The writer of a fragmented work may either accept textual sequence, in which case there w i l l be an interesting divergence between text and narrative, 23 or manipulate the text i n various ways to make i t reflect the fragmentation of the narrative. v i . Textual sequence The fact that one line follows the next and that pages are in a bound and numbered sequence, imparts a material continuity to the novel that few novelists have as yet tried to break in any radical way. Marc Saporta's Composition no I — an unbound and unnumbered collection of fragments that can be read i n any order of the reader's choosing — i s an interesting example of an attempt to escape from the confines of the book as we know i t . A work by a contemporary Latin-American novelist, Julio Cortazar's Hopscotch, can, the novelist informs us, be read-in different sequences of chapters, each of which w i l l modify the reader's perception of events. But -most novels, however innovative their- form*,- are s t i l l printed i n a traditional manner. With a conventional novel, the reader expects to progress steadily from start to fini s h . Chapters, although they serve primarily compositional ends, also provide convenient halting-points along the route. Division into chapters does not create a f e l t discontinuity, in part perhaps because they are accepted as a convention lik e paragraphs and punctuation, but mainly because of the procedures of transition and integration that ensure continuity between them. Thus, although there i s some material discontinuity in the conventional novel, i t i s part of what might be called the rhythm of reading and does not i n any way disorient the reader. Some theorists would maintain that the sequential nature of the book is inescapable, not only because of the established conventions of book production, but because reading i t s e l f i s an inherently sequential process. Yet Saporta's example, successful or not, is an indication of 24 how far this fixed pattern can.be broken, i n a way that profoundly affects the reading process as well as the appearance of a text. Without even departing from the standard bound format,- there are, as Michel Butor has described in "Le l i v r e comme objet", many ways in which the writer can man-ipulate the text to affect the nature of the reading process: l i s t s , marginal notes, i t a l i c s , broken lines of print or Isolated words, repetition or reprise, a l l arrest or divert the eye i n i t s l e f t to right, top to bottom progress through the text.*-** The sequential process of reading has long been undermined by the modern novel. As Hugh Kenner has pointed out, a novel like Ulysses has broken with the traditional narrative convention that we are listening to the t e l l i n g of a tale and that the written book i s a record of that t e l l i n g . The text of Ulysses, he says : . . . . i s not organized i n memory and unfolded i n time, but both organized and unfolded in what we may c a l l technological space: on printed pages for which i t was designed from the beginning. The reader explores i t s discontinuous surface at whatever pace he likes; he makes marginal notes; he turns back whenever he chooses to an earlier page, without destroying the continuity of something that does not press on, but w i l l wait u n t i l he resumes.U One i s indeed obliged to do so, by a work as complex as Ulysses, which necessitates a constant turning back to search for connections, or to reread a passage only now f u l l y comprehensible i n the light of what has followed. The exact sequence of the text i s soon overlaid by new combin-ations of i t s elements in the reader's memory. A novel like Histoire i s built on the presupposition that this i s how we read now, and takes for granted this kind of effort on the part of the reader. Its multiple connections depend onethe reader's a b i l i t y to move back and forth i n the text. Even i f the linear sequence, of the text may be inescapable on the 25 word by word, line by line progression of the eye (though-Butor has shown how this can be changed), there are s t i l l a number of ways in which the text may be manipulated to make i t reflect the fragmentation of the narrative. Most obviously^ the text may be broken up into typographically delineated fragments: Individual words or phrases isolated on an otherwise empty line, or blocks of prose distributed unevenly within the space of a page instead of running back and forth between the usual margins, as i n Mobile. Claude Simon has not explored these po s s i b i l i t i e s to the same degree as Butor, but his use of broken lines of dialogue without quotation marks or the usual " d i t - i l " , gives many pages of his novels a fragmentary appearance. The orthodox paragraph may be turned into a frag-ment by the use of punctuation that marks discontinuity and incompleteness (suspension points, for instance), or by the absence of punctuation — no capital letters at the beginning or f u l l stop at the end — a frequent device in Simon's writing. The insertion of quotations, of headlines or slogans, particularly i f another type-face or a foreign language are used — also produce a v i s i b l e fragmentation of the page, that Simon frequently exploits. On the Other hand, the novelist may choose to accept the linear sequence of the text and to create a productive tension between i t s continuity and the discontinuity of the narrative. Thus, a text may appear continuous, without chapters or even paragraphs, as i s the case in Les Corps conductenrs, but i n fact be composed of discontinuous sequences with no conventional connection between them whatsoever. This procedure, systematic in Simon's later novels, is also to be found in the novels of the central period. A narrative switch to a new episode may take place 26 within a paragraph or in mid-sentence even, with no punctuation or break in the text to indicate that i t has occurred. The text w i l l thus appear continuous and even the language may temporarily dissimulate the switch, as we shall see i n La Route des Flandres. Thus, there i s created a tension between an apparent continuity and-an actual discontinuity, a discrepancy between text and narrative, which significantly affects the reading, since the reader must be constantly on the look-out for unannounced breaks. The linear sequence of the text i s thereby revealed as deceptive and continuity i s once again undermined. v i i . Language and fragmentation In a l l this, the role of language i t s e l f , in contributing to or contrasting with the fragmentation of the narrative, has been neglected. Although the purpose of this study, as stated in the introduction, is to examine what Ricardou has called " l a fragmentation majeure" and not the minor breaks within sequences brought about by verbal mechanisms, the role of language cannot be totally overlooked. Briefly, then, i t can be seen that the disruption of normal syntax, the interruptions constituted by parentheses or alternatives, the use of broken dialogue, disconnected sentences, fragmentary words or phrases, whether they represent the flow of consciousness or the disjointed monologue of a narrator, are a l l means ofbreaking the continuity of the text and as such they may contribute significantly to the general fragmentation of'a narrative. Again, i t should be stressed that this i s not an essential feature of the fragmented text: the language may be formal, coherent and ordered, yet the narrative highly fragmented, as i n La Jalousie or in Simon's later novels. In the novels of the central 27 period, of course, the character of the language i s an important element in the overall fragmentedness of each work, constituting the pretext for, when l t i s not the actual cause of many of the breaks in the narrative, whether through the divagations of an oral narration'or through the use of association and other: mainly verbal mechanisms of transfer. II. Fragmented composition and i t s effects The fragmented narrative, as we have seen, is one in which the usual sources of continuity (narrative, textual-or syntactical) are disrupted to a greater or lesser degree and which lacks the customary causal or temporal connections between sequences. We have examined in broad outline, some of the ways in which narrative fragmentation comes about and how the fragmented narrative differs from the conventional narrative. What we s t i l l lack i s a general description of the alternative principles of organization that govern the fragmented hovel, before we can consider i t s effects. The fragmented narrative is constructed according to what Sharon Spencer, i n her book on the "architectonic" novel, has called the principle of juxtaposition: that is "the setting beside one another without connec-tives of units of prose that can vary i n length from a few words to several 18 pages." Spencer's definition of juxtaposition can be extended to include the alternation or interweaving of two or more fragmented sequences, a frequent compositional pattern in the novels of the central period. Unlike chronological narration, which is so standard as to seem s e l f -evident and therefore of no especial significance, juxtaposition is'a conspicuous mode of organization. In the f i r s t place, i t sets d i f f i c u l t i e s in the way of the reader, forcing one to look for the connections between fragments. This, i n turn, focuses attention on the composition as a whole 28 because the reasons' for the overall order of the fragments are not s e l f -• evident as they are with time-sequence. The composition i t s e l f , therefore, i s perceived as significant and a potential source of meaning, to a degree that i s far less frequently found i n conventional narrative. Time-sequence i s almost always disrupted-in the fragmented novel but even i f i t were not,; i f )the narrative consisted of fragments Juxtaposed in chronological order, the absence of conventional transitions and the disorienting effect of the fragmentation would tend to put the emphasis on other connections between fragments than their relation i n time. As in a personal journal, the selection of these particular fragments of reality out of a l l the possible ones i s generally more significant than. the fact that they happened in a certain order. But when time-sequence i s disrupted, as i n the novels of Simon's central period, the f u l l potential of the p r i n c i p l e - o f juxtaposition can then be realized. As Ricardou has remarked, once chronology i s no longer the principal structuring device, other more productive po s s i b i l i t i e s of ordering the events of the narrative emerge: . . . . l a dechronologie joue un role capital. Liberes de l a pure succession chronologique qui les eut li e s par une seule de leurs faces, les evenements sont rapproches de toutes les manieres, mis en presence selon une sorte de present ~6ternel', ou l'ordre chronologique le cede a un ordre morphologique.19 With chronology no longer the organizing principle, the events of the narrative can be ordered according to thematic or formal imperatives. Instead of the single connection of time, a multiplicity of connections can be made. There i s , of course, s t i l l a kind of chronology in effect: not that of the order of events in time but that of their occurrence i n the text. But th i s order i s less binding. For when narrative elements are arranged 29 according to thematic or formal principles, a constant process of re-ordering takes place as their multiple connections are perceived by the reader. The text becomes a mobile in which the relation of each part to the others i s continually changing in the course of reading. The more fragmented the text, the greater the possibility of re-ordering i t , of discovering new connections and relations among i t s elements. Some of these connections w i l l be clearly indicated by the text, others only latent, dependent on an individual reading for realization. The f l e x i b i l i t y gained by the abandonment of conventional principles of narrative continuity opens up a wealth of p o s s i b i l i t i e s . Not only are there the formal and thematic effects to be achieved through juxtaposition on the minor scale and the possibility, on the major scale, of organizing the elements of the work to form a spatial design or a rhythmic composition. The techniques of juxtaposition may also be used to render the simultaneity of events or mental states or to create a simultaneous perception of separated elements in the reader's mind. Fragmentation can revitalize familiar forms and renew traditional functions of the novel. Finally, the fragmented text both requires and educates a higher response i n the reader, transforming "a process of passive recreation into one of active re-crea-t i o n " . 2 0 Each of these aspects of fragmented composition could well occupy a chapter i n i t s e l f . But since the purpose of this account of fragmentation i n the novel i s not to cover?all i t s p o s s i b i l i t i e s i n depth but merely to provide a context i n which the work of Claude Simon can be better understood and valued, they can only be dealt with i n broad outline.. The detail w i l l come in the analysis of the novels themselves,which offer a wide range of types and uses of fragmentation. In the meantime, the 30 principal effects of fragmented composition already mentioned can be briefly enlarged upon. i . Fragmentation as a technique of defamiliarization One of the simplest effects of narrative fragmentation is that the main traditional function of the novel — that of t e l l i n g a story — is revitalized. In the a r t i c l e mentioned earlier. Eric S. Rabkin extends the Russian Formalist Shklovsky's notion of plot as defamiliarized story to suggest that the aim of many narrative techniques, including fragmen-tation, has been to revitalize familiar literary forms, a particularly 21 strong imperative for writers i n the twentieth century. Put quite simply, t e l l i n g i-a familiar tale (of young love frustrated, of the forming of an a r t i s t or leader, or of the rise and decline of a family,,and other traditional subjects of the novel), in an unexpected or d i f f i c u l t manner, renews i t s interest. The same might be said with relation to another traditional function of the novel — the portrayal of character. If the reader's perception of a character grows out of the piecing together of fragments, not only might i t bear a closer resemblance to the way i n which others are perceived in real l i f e , but i t s interest w i l l be considerably enhanced by the more complex process of apprehension and interpretation involved. Finally, could i t not be said that fragmentation, by defamiliarizing the narrative process, renews not only that particular instance of i t , but also our perception of the whole genre? The unusualness of the form must cause the reader to give some general thought to the nature of narrative, so that one's pre-conceived ideas are re-examined and the idea of the novel i t s e l f revitalized. This has clearly been the effect not only of 31 the great experiments in the novel form of the twenties but also of the nouveau roman and other contemporary experiments, in which fragmentation i s one of the principal, though by no means the only, techniques of defamiliarization. i i . Juxtaposition and the production of meaning In "The Arteof Stillness", Roger Shattuck has distinguished between 22 two types of juxtaposition, which he calls classical and romantic. "Classical" juxtaposition, in his definition, i s the combination of homogeneous elements; "romantic" juxtaposition i s the combining of heterogeneous elements. "Classical" juxtaposition w i l l produce effects of repetition and variation, of circular movement — one thinks of La  Jalousie, with i t s recurring descriptions of the same few scenes marked by minor variations. "Romantic" juxtaposition, which combines dissimilar ele-ments, works with conflict, contrast, incongruity even, to produce effects with a strong emotional impact. As we shall see, there i s a predominance of "romantic" juxtaposition i n the work of Claude Simon. Shattuck's definition of "romantic" juxtaposition, as Sharon Spencer 23 points out, bears a strong resemblance to the concept of montage, developed by the Soviet film maker, Sergei Eisenstein, which i s based on the notion of conflict or c o l l i s i o n — "The conflict of two pieces i n opposition to 24 each other". From the c o l l i s i o n of two opposed depictive shots, Eisenstein asserted, arises a concept, which i s not expressed by either one of them but emerges solely from their juxtaposition. This could equally well apply to the effectoof juxtaposition i n the fragmented text. Combin-ations of fragments or juxtaposed sequences, often of vastly different content (though not necessarily as conflicting as Eisenstein i n s i s t s ) , 32 produce a meaning that i s not expressed in any one of them and derives solely from their combination. Because juxtaposition, li k e montage, eliminates connections and explanations, i t requires the reader's active participation, as Spencer indicates i n the following passage: The meanings 1. . . . are not in the words themselves. They are in the interstices among the phrases and sentences; they are i n the various relationships among the elements of the work, and they must be actively sought by the reader i f they are to be found. He must move quickly among the various elements in an attempt to supply relationships that are barely implied . . . . The reader, i f he wishes truly to enter into the experience of the book, must transfer to his apprehension of the novel the same high sensitivity and alertness that he has been accustomed to bring to the reading of poetry.25 The e^mergence of meaning in the fragmented text from the relations between juxtaposed elements i s perfectly characterized here; the necessity of a highly concentrated reading i f i t i s to be realized i s a subject to which we w i l l return later. The fragmented novel, in addition to the usual modes of conveying theme and meaning, possesses i n the technique of juxtaposition a method a l l the more subtle because i t does not employ explicit statement. Simon spoke at Cerisy in 1971 of suppressing the word "comme" in the text i n order to make metaphor more concrete by a direct juxtaposition of two images, but this was in some ways what he had been doing a l l along through 26 his narrative technique, as we shall see. i i i . Fragmentation and the rendering" of simultaneity The example of the character in Dorothy Richardson's twelve-part novel Pilgrimage, listening to Miriam read aloud "thinking of the reader as well as of what was read and with her own thoughts running along inde-pendently", has been used by many c r i t i c s to i l l u s t r a t e the problems of rendering simultaneity. In Time and the Novel, A.A. Mendilow has said: 33 To convey this temporal multiplicity i n the linear progression of language i s the main problem of the modern novelist. Fragmentation, through i t s disruption of the linear progression of language, text and narrative, prepares the way for the creation of effects of simultaneity that might seem impossible within the restrictions of a sequential reading. Not only does i t serve the obvious realist function indicated by Mendilow, conveying the multiplicity of events, external or mental, that take place i n an instant of time, or the overlapping of past and present in the mind; i t also serves a thematic role by making possible the simultaneous perception by the reader of elements that are non-contemporaneous in the narrative, in order that resemblances or contrasts may be intuitively grasped through juxtaposition rather than e x p l i c i t l y stated. The suggestion of simultaneity may be achieved by a variety of devices: the juxtaposition of fragments brief enough to be held together by the eye and the reading memory, or the breaking of syntax to link two images that would normally be in separate clauses and therefore sequential; the interweaving of fragmented sequences so that the events they describe are tightly intermingled; the overlapping or superimposition of one sequence upon another through the use of identical words so that momentarily the reader cannot t e l l which i s being narrated. A l l these techniques w i l l be f u l l y illustrated i n the analysis of Simon's novels. While i t i s true that sequence can never be entirely eluded, i t i s astonishing to what degree the novel can achieve the i l l u s i o n of simultaneity. The effect in the text i s not unlike that produced by photographs which superimpose the successive phases of an action, or by a painting like Duchamp's Nude descending a staircase, where a whole sequence is perceived globally and simultaneously. 34 This leads us to the most extended kind of simultaneity which, i n the view of some c r i t i c s , i s the central aim of the fragmented novel: the simultaneous perception of a l l i t s elements, i t s apprehension as totality and not sequence, by the reader. This extended conception of simultaneity has been given the name of spatial form. iv. Fragmentation and spatial form Spatial form has been defined in a recent ar t i c l e as: . . . . a form that grows out of the writer's attempt to negate the temporal principle inherent i n language and to force apprehension of his work as a total "thing" i n a moment of time rather than as a sequence of things. ° The theory of spatial form i n the novel was originally formulated by 29 Joseph Frank i n an ar t i c l e published i n the Sewanee Review i n 1945, but 31 i t has been the subject of renewed c r i t i c a l interest i n the last few years. Proceeding from Ezra Pound's definition of the image as "that which presents an intellectual and emotional complex in an instant of time", Frank attempted, through analysis of Joyce, Proust and others, to show that l n the modern novel as well as i n modern poetry, the meaning of the work does not'depend on sequence, on temporal relations, but on the perception of other relations between disconnected elements, which must be juxtaposed and perceived simultaneously for f u l l understanding. Of writers li k e E l i o t , Pound, Proust and Joyce, he wrote: A l l these writers ideally intend the reader to apprehend their works spatially, i n a moment of time, rather than as a sequence.31 An excellent characterization of spatial form i s to be found i n Gerard denette's essay "La litterature et l'espace". Writing of Proust, Genette says that he asked of the reader an attentiveness to: . . . . ce qu'il appelait le caractere "teiescopique" de son oeuvre, 35 c'est-a-dire aux relations a longue portee qui s'etablissent entre des episodes tres eloignes dans l a continuite temporelle d'une lecture lineaire (mais singulierement proches, remarquons-le, dans l'espace ecr i t , dans l'epaisseur paginale du volume), et qui exigent pour etre considered une sorte de perception simultanee de 1 'unite totale de l'oeuvre, unite qui ne reside pas seulement dans des rapports horizontaux de voisinage et de succession, mais aussi dans des rapports qu'on peut dire verticaux ou transversaux, de ces effets d'attente, de rappel, de reponse, de symetrie, de perspective, au nom desquels Proust comparait lui-meme son oeuvre a une cathedrale. Lire comme i l faut l i r e de telles oeuvres fen e s t - i l d'autres?) c'est seulement r e l i r e , c'est toujours deja r e l i r e , parcourir sans cesse un l i v r e dans tous ses sens, toutes ses directions, toutes ses dimensions.33 Like Frank, who maintained that Joyce cannot be read, only re-read, since knowledge of the whole i s essential to the f u l l understanding of any part, Genette makes the important point that reading is not a straightforward sequential process with such works but must involve a constant reference back and forth for a l l the relationships of the work to be grasped. The Proustian "moment privilegie", when past and present are simultaneously perceived, could be taken as an instance of what techniques of s p a t i a l i -zation aim at, just as the ten Albertines the narrator sees as he leans forward to kiss her cheek are parallelled by the multiple images of the subject that the fragmented text presents to the reader. The notion of spatial form i s s t i l l controversial, however, and some c r i t i c s have argued that, since a text i s inherently sequential in nature, as is the process of reading, the possibility of apprehending the whole work i n an instant of time i s illusory. Frankls own reply to one such c r i t i c i s to be found i n an end-note to the reprint of the original a r t i c l e i n his later book, The Widening Gyre, where he says: His major object Ion i s that, since reading is a time-act, the achieve-ment of spatial form i s really a physical impossibility. I could not agree more. But this has not stopped modern writers from working out techniques to achieve the impossible — as much as possible.35 Some of the d i f f i c u l t y originates with the term "spatial" i t s e l f , which 36 Frank no doubt adopted because the starting point of his a r t i c l e was Lessing's distinction in the Laocoon between form in literature and form in the plastic arts; the one necessarily sequential, according to Lessing, because of the nature of language, the other spatial, that i s , based on the relation of objects in space at a given moment i n time. In trying to show that modern poems and novels aim at a global and simultaneous perception of their subject, analogous to that of a painting or sculpture, Frank took over the vocabulary of spatiality, when what he i s really talking about (simultaneity replacing sequentially) is s t i l l , properly speaking, a temporal rather than a spatial phenomenon. Nonetheless, the idea of spatial form as Frank and others have applied i t to modern literature, i s illuminating, despite the inappropriate-ness of the term, which i s now widespread enough, in any case, to be gen-erally understood. It i s particularly apposite'to the novels of Claude Simon, who has spoken on many occasions of the linearity of language as an obstacle to be overcome i n the pursuit of simultaneity. In an interview published i n 1969, he talked of the problem a writer faces i n description, obliged to set down in sequence perceptions that are i n reality simultaneous: . . . . j'enumere dans une duree, je suis en train de decomposer en petits morceaux cette chose qui dans ma perception est un tout, apprehend^ en f a i t en une fraction de seconded C'est le probleme qui se pose tout le temps dans 1'ecriture. Le temps romanesque ne peut done pas etre lineaire, colle — un f i l sur lequel les evenements viennent se placer les uns apres les autres comme dans le temps des horloges; mais au contraire une sorte d'englobant, une sorte de gelatine ou de matiere plastique transparente dans laquelle tous les elements du roman sont enserres et dans laquelle l i s coexistent, simultanement In this image of the.novel's contents embedded in transparent plastic and therefore a l l simultaneously v i s i b l e , Simon has provided us, as he so often does i n the case of c r i t i c a l concepts, with an expressive i l l u s t r a t i o n of spatial form. 37 As we w i l l see when we come to look at the Individual novels, the whole thrust of their composition, i n i t s fragmentation of narrative and destruction of chronology, i s towards a simultaneous perception of a l l the elements of the work, whose f u l l meaning can only be grasped through this global realization. v. Fragmentation and formal design The fragmented work lends i t s e l f to the creation of formal design by the f l e x i b i l i t y which results from the absence of conventional structure and continuity. Its elements could conceivably be l e f t i n the exact order in which they were written, reassembled i n any order of the novelist's choosing, or, on the contrary, written to f i t into a pre-established structure. Claude Simon has given a fascinating account of the "montage" of La Route des Flandres. which, he says he composed like a picture, with a different colour accorded to each character and theme: A un moment donne, en effet, j'avals ecrit des fragments mais ca ne f a i s a i t pas un l i v r e . Alors, j ' a i i n s c r i t , chaque fois sur une ligne, un petit resume de ce qu'il y avait dans chaque page et, en face, j ' a i place l a couleur correspondante, puis j ' a i punaise 1'en-semble sur les murs de mon bureau et alors je me suis demande s ' i l ne f a l l a i t pas remettre un peu de bleu par i c i , un peu de vert par l a , un peu de rouge ailleurs, pour que ca s'equilibre. Ce qu'il y a d'interessant, c'est que j ' a i "fabrique" certains passages parce q u ' i l manquait un peu de vert ou un peu de rose a t e l ou t e l endroit.37 Other novelists employ a variety of compositional methods, some of which, in the case of"the French new novelists, are to be found, with accompanying documentation of great interest (original diagrams and graphic designs), in Jean Ricardou's book Le nouveau roman. While the fragmented work lends i t s e l f to formal organization, i t i s also clear that i t requires i t , i f i t i s not to become what Mendilow, writing of the danger of formlessness i n modern psychological f i c t i o n , c a l l s 38 "an unorganized catalogue of the ingredients of personality", J Oor what Simon, describing the Surrealists' experiments with automatic writing, has termed a succession of parentheses opened but never closed. Whether the fragmented text i s an evocation of inner l i f e or an exploration of the productive possibilities of language (or a representation of a place or society, or any of the other ends for which fragmented narrative has been used), i t requires some controlling design to give i t a r t i s t i c integrity or to bind together i t s multiple elements in one vision. The ways i n which this has been achieved are innumerable. It may be done through the imposition of a mythical or archetypal pattern, as i n Ulvsses. The creation of effects of symmetry and parallelism, l i k e the predominance of t r i p l e elements in La Route des Flandres, for instance, can be a sufficient source of order in i t s e l f or be carried to a degree as rigorous as that of a musical composition — the length of fragments s t r i c t l y controlled, their development or repetition ordered according to a mathematical sequence. It may even, as Mendilow points out, be "organized i n the formal structures of music —* the sonata, the symphony, 39 the canon, the fugue and so forth". While such rigour i n composition can become monotonous, i t can also create a subtle rhythm i n the reading, a sense that nothing i n the work i s gratuitous, but that everything has i t s place in the production of a coherent and unified whole. Quite frequently, the novelist w i l l describe the composition of the work i n terms of a spatial image — Proust's cathedral, for example, or the clover leaf that Simon refers to as the controlling design of La Route. Such images, of course, are simply metaphors for design, since the book cannot actually take the form of a cathedral's ground plan or a leaf. It i s virt u a l l y impossible for the reader to perceive this kind of design 39 unaided without prior information, that i s , or indications i n the text such, as sub-headings. Certain simpler and' more abstract spatial designs, like the circular or spi r a l effects of Le Palace, are undoubtedly discernible by the reader, however. Whether the effects are apparent to the reader or not, i t i s an interesting fact that a novelist may conceive of form, not only in sequential terms such as those of music, but also i n spatial terms, thus corroborating Frank's theory that the modern novel tends towards spatial form. Needless to say, formal design of whatever kind, i s not limited to the fragmented novel, but i s to be found i n more traditional texts as well. There i s a kind of novel, however, in which structure i s more than merely one among the a r t i s t i c problems the novelist must solve. Sharon Spencer has given the name "architectonic" to those novels of which structure, rather than theme, character or plot, i s the essential element: (Their) goal i s the evocation of the i l l u s i o n of a s p a t i a l entity, either representational or abstract, constructed from prose fragments of diverse types and lengths and arranged by means of the principle of juxtaposition so as to include a comprehensive view of the book's subject. The "truth" of the total visionc-of such a novel i s a compo-site truth obtained from the reader's apprehension of a great many relationships among the fragments that make up the book's totality.40 The similarities between the fragmented novel , as I have defined i t , and Spencer's conception of the "architectonic" novel are obvious, but while fragmentation i s an essential characteristic of the "architectonic" novel, clearly not a l l fragmented novels are necessarily "architectonic" — the stream of consciousness novel, for instance. The architectonic novel represents the ful l e s t realization of the potential of the fragmented text, for what fragmentation has to offer above a l l i s the possibility of a composition unhampered by the constraints of chronology, causality or 40 realism, a composition therefore which may achieve the highest degree of significance and formal perfection.* v i . Fragmented narrative and the reader's response It i s clear that the kind of texts we have been considering require an active reading. They are not for the reader who passively follows the unfolding of a narrative, interested mainly in what happens next. Obviously, many other kindsoof novel require an active reading for their f u l l significance to be realized. The difference i s that i n the case of a fragmented narrative, li k e that of The Sound and the Fury or La Bataille  de Pharsale, active participation i s necessary i f the reader is to make any sense of the work at a l l , let alone discover i t s multiple connections and meanings. In the passage quoted earlier, Ricardou comments that repeated breaks in the narrative make the reader "singulierement vulnerable aux impacts du similaire et du r e p e t i t i f " , as he watches for the return of an interrupted sequence. In other words, the d i f f i c u l t y of following such a narrative makes for a more perceptive reading, a particular attentiveness to anything that might connect fragments. This observation is developed further by Wolfgang Iser, who has concentrated on the reading process i t s e l f . In his view, too, the very breaks i n the narrative which cause d i f f i c u l t y are ultimately responsible for the more dynamic reading necessary to overcome the d i f f i c u l t y , for by forcing the readertto search for the connections •Although Spencer does not deal with Simon's novels i n her study of the architectonic novel, he i s mentioned i n the introduction as one of the writers whose work might have been included. The relevance of Spencer's study to his novels which are both fragmented and spatial, i s obvious and has provided some of the inspiration for my own approach. 41 between fragments, they develop his connection-making capacity. Iser has drawn a suggestive picture of this process in his essay "The reading process: a phenomenological approach".*'' He i s not only dealing with fragmented narrative, since in his view; a l l narrative contains gaps and i t i s i n the f i l l i n g of those gaps that the reader's creative participation i s engaged: . . . . whenever the flow i s interrupted and we are led off i n unexpected directions, the opportunity i s given to us to bring into play our own faculty for establishing connections — for f i l l i n g i n the gaps l e f t by the text i t s e l f . For this reason, one text i s potentially capable of several different realizations, and no reading can ever exhaust the f u l l potential for each individual reader w i l l f i l l in the gaps in his own way, thereby excluding the various other p o s s i b i l i t i e s ; as he reads he w i l l make his own decision as to how the gap is to be f i l l e d . In this very act the dynamics of reading are revealed. By making his decision he implicitly acknowledges the inexhaustibility of the text; at the same time i t is this very inexhaustibility that forces him to make his decision. With "traditional' texts this process was more or less unconscious, but modern texts frequently exploit i t quite deliberately. They are often so fragmentary that one's attention i s almost exclusively occupied with the search for connections between the fragments; the object of this i s not to complicate the 'spectrum' of connections so much as to make us aware of our own capacity for providing links.42 Iser goes on to develop this view that the function of fragmented narrative in the modern novel i s to make the reader more aware of the activity of his perceptual and interpretative faculties i n general, of the tendency to link things together i n consistent patterns which characterizes his apprehension of real i t y . Iser believes that the awareness of the reading process which the modern fragmented text seeks to produce can thus illuminate basic patterns of experience. Iser's wider hypothesis, though appealing, would be very d i f f i c u l t to test. Whether or not i t i s true, however, i t i s certainly the case that the fragmented text not only develops the reader's capacity to perceive connections and patterns, but also makes one more conscious of the operation of this faculty in reading and of i t s appropriateness as a response to a 42 text. It i s a commonplace that one's reading or re-reading of traditional or more conventional narratives is enhanced by the experience of the frag-mented text. By drawing attention as i t does, to i t s own techniques and creative mechanisms, i t stimulates reflection on the process of writing and the relation of f i c t i o n to reality.. This i s particularly true of composition. In the enforced search for connections between fragments, i n the expectancy of interruption and reprise, the reader cannot but become more aware of composition. The com-position of the conventional novel i s either self-evident — a series of events i n chronological order — or, i f the novelist has been concerned with the creation of a more significant pattern, may easily be overlooked by the reader not attuned to the perception of form i n narrative. The fragmented novel, however, by i t s infringment of the norm of continuity, forces the reader to notice that i t s composition i s significant, i s a source of meaning in i t s e l f . Thus, the fragmented novel educates a higher or more complete response on the part of the reader than the "And then? What next?" of E.M. Forster's 43 caricature — or at least i n those readers who do not declare i t unreadable and give up i n disgust. To the reader willing to overcome the i n i t i a l d i f f i c u l t y , the fragmented text can be the source of a peculiarly satisfying experience, because i t requires his creative participation. This experience can best be summed up in the words of Sergei Eisenstein. Writing of montage, the cinematic equivalent- of the juxtaposition of fragments i n narrative, Eisenstein said: And now we can say that i t is:precisely the montage principle, as distinguished from that of representation, which obliges spectators themselves to create and the montage principle, by this means, achieves that great power of inner creative excitement in the spectator which distinguishes an emotionally exciting work from one that stops without going further than giving information or recording events. 43 CHAPTER II THE THEME OF FRAGMENTARY VISION AND THE CONCEPTION OF A FRAGMENTED NARRATIVE IN "LE VENT" Une technique romanesque renvoie toujours a l a metaphysique du romancier. (Sartre) La donnee premiere, on pourrait dire l a catastrophe i n i t i a l e , pour Simon, c'est l a fragmentation generalised de l'Etre. Le monde est percu comme eclate; l a perception est une breve hallucination retinienne: des impressions, surgies dans un demi-eclair de conscience, se pressent, sans s'organiser, se suivent, sans se r e l i e r . La forme du vecu, c'est un informe conglomerat d'instants purs . . . . (Serge Doubrovsky, "Notes sur l a genese d'une ecriture", Entretiens.) Le monde exterieur vient s'inscrire en nous sous l a forme de fragments. Nous sommes absolument incapables de s a i s i r une continuite. (Claude Simon) Nous n'avons de l'univers que des visions informes, fragmentees et que nous completons par des associations d'idees arbitraires, creatrices de dangereuses suggestions. (Proust, A la recherche du temps perdu) In an answer to one of Ludovic Janvier's questions i n Entretiens 1. Simon situates the f i r s t phase of his development as a writer in the group of novels from Le Tricheur to Le Vent, with the succeeding novel L'Herbe differing significantly from the earlier ones, marking the fact that a corner has been turned. He describes his second book, Gulliver. as an attempt to write a novel "de facture traditionnelle": 44 Excellence et f e r t i l e erreur au demeurant. Le rSsultat Stait edifiant: je ne pouvais pas! C'est alors que j ' a i commence a rSflechir sur les raisons de cette impossibilite,* Le Vent seems to mark the culmination of that period of reflection, both in i t s implied criticism of the conventional novel and i n i t s suggestion of the basis for a new narrative method. It is worth examining in some detail, since the conception of fragmented narrative i t contains, though not successfully realized i n the novel i t s e l f , foreshadows and explains the composition of the novels of the middle period. I. The broken mirror: image of a narrative style From the very outset (the second page of the book), Le Vent states i t s intended principle of composition: . . . . et maintenant, maintenant que tout est f i n i , tenter de rapporter, de reconstituer ce qui s'est passe, c'est un peu comme s i on essayait de recoller les debris disperses, incomplets d'un miroir . . . . (p. 9) The narrative thus promises to be fragmented, subject to constant question and possible rearrangement, a process of tentative reconstruction rather than a straightforward account. The elements of the story may be pieced together in any possible order. Whether i t is intentional or not, the image of the mirror seems a clear allusion to the Stendhalian definition 2 of the novel as "un miroir qui se promene sur une grande route". The fact that the mirror i n Le Vent is shattered suggests that the r e a l i s t conception of the novel as a reflection of reality has fallen to pieces. For the piecing together of events that the narrator proposes reflects his belief that reality i s unknowable and that a l l we possess, even of events that have affected us personally, i s : . . . . cette connaissance fragmentaire, incomplete, faite d'une addition de Breves.images, elles-memes incompletement apprehendees par l a vision, de paroles, elles-memes mal saisies, de sensations, 45 elles-memes mal definies, et tout cela.vague, plein de trous, de vides, auxquels l'imagination et une approximative logique s'efforgaient de remedier par une suite' de hasardeuses deductions . . . . (p. 10) Such a classically sceptical attitude towards the apprehension of reality must not only affect the presentation of events and character i n the novel, but equally must lead to the creation of a type of narrative that w i l l reflect both the uncertainty and the fragmentedness that are f e l t to mark our knowledge of reality. The image of the shattered mirror evokes two opposing types of narrative, for the assemblage of fragments in an uncertain and always contestable version of events that i t proposes i s i n complete contrast to the conception of narrative implicit i n the Stendhalian mirror on the road that i t t a c i t l y recalls. What the latter would seem to imply in terms of composition i s a sense of the novel as a regular progression in a predetermined direction, an orderly accumulation of material from which w i l l emerge an objective reflection of events, character and society. As things arise along i t s chosen course, so, and i n that order, w i l l i t reflect them: a chronological narrative, i n other words. But this orderly progression has been totally abolished by the image of the shattered mirror, with i t s suggestion of an entirely different attitude to composition as well as a different conception of the novel's relation to r e a l i t y . At the same time, as he reflects on the impossibility of a complete account of events, the narrator warns himself of the danger of imposing a logical framework on them, of giving them a false coherence: . . . . notre esprit, ou plutot notre orgueil, nous enjoint sous peine de f o l i e et en depit de toute evidence de trouver a tout prix une suite logique de causes et d'effets la ou tout ce que l a raison parvient a voir, c'est cette errance, nous-memes ballottes de droite et de gauche, comme un bouchon a l a derive, sans direction, sans vue . . . (p. 10) The word "logique", always pejorative in Simon's use of i t , occurs three 46 times on this page, suggesting how dangerous a temptation i t i s f e l t to constitute. What i t represents i s a desire for coherence, a desire which leads to the search for causal explanations, to the attempt to f i l l in the gaps in our knowledge of events. But the coherence thus created i s always a r t i f i c i a l , an evasion of the disturbing and ungraspable confusion of existence — - " c e t t e errance . . . . comme un bouchon a* l a derive, sans direction sans vue". What this "logique" implies in terms of narrative composition i s obviously the well constructed plot with a l l threads tied at the end, causality and motivation clearly established by a psychology of which convincingness is thought to be the chief merit. The notary whose words open the novel seems to represent the worst of that school, with his preference for simplistic explanations which reduce events and behaviour to what i s immediately graspable and in accordance with common sense and conventional wisdom. It is precisely in opposition to this that the narrator envisages his reconstitution of those scattered fragments of knowledge which i s a l l he or anyone can possess of events. Within i t s f i r s t two pages, Le Vent has thus taken an epistemological stance — scepticism — which w i l l continue to characterize the succeeding novels and, directly derived from i t , the basis of a narrative structure — the assemblage of fragments — capable of preserving the confusion and incoherence of experience and offering only a tentative and partial account of events. Though we have to wait for the major novels of the middle period to see the creation of such a structure, Le Vent offers us i t s j u s t i f i c a t i o n through i t s continuing reflection on the process of narration and the apprehension of real i t y . 47 II. The role of the narrator In "Le Vent" The sceptical attitude clearly excludes the omniscient author/ narrator, while i t equally undermines the privileged status of a personal narration. How then i s the role of the narrator perceived? The following passage provides an apt image: . . . . ces jours, ces heures inconnues hors desquelles i l apparaissait a nos regards comme un acteur surgi de derriere un rideau, puis dis-paraissait de nouveau.-- parfois, je restais plus de quinze jours sans le voir — , reapparaissant a l'improviste (devenant entre temps quoi? eprouvant quoi?: ce que les ragots rapporterent? ce que lui-meme m'en raconta? ou crut pouvoir m'en raconter? ou put vouloir se rappeler? ou crut pouvoir se rappeler? ou simplement se rappela?), apparitions, ragots, souvenirs, recits, a travers quoi nous ne faisions qu'entrevoir (et de meme l u i pour les autres: Rose, 1'enfant, le boxeur, le rfigisseur congedie, son oncle, le notaire, Maurice?) une sorte de plesiosaurlque realite reconstitute de brie et de broc a partir de deux vertebres, un frontal, un demi-maxillaire et trois metacarpiens peches dans l a grise vase du temps et assembles au petit bonheur des gouts et predilections de chacun . . . . (pp.106-107) The archeological metaphor with which the passage ends, i s akin to the earlier image of the shattered mirror: the narrator (like the other ob-servers or actors i n the events narrated) must piece together such fragments of the past as he can salvage or uncover, to arrive, at best, at a hypothetical version of reality i n which conjecture plays a large part. The narrator i s thus archeologist or (to take up the image of the sub-t i t l e — "Tentative de restitution d'un retable baroque" — restorer, a role emphasized by his actual calling: he i s a history teacher writing a study of Romanesque chapels. In evoking the various sources of information about the character's activities — "apparitions, ragots, souvenirs, r e c i t s " — each of which, even his own personal account, i s biased and incomplete, the novelist seems to be moving towards a narrative method based on multiple points of view. The passage, like many others i n Simon's work, Is reminiscent of 48 Faulkner. But i n fact, Simon has never really experimented with multiple points of view, though there is a constant thematic emphasis in his work on the d i s t o r t i o n s 'and limitations of the individual point of view. What his novels do have i n common with those of Faulkner with respect to narration i s their emphasis on the role of conjecture and. imaginative identification i n the narrator's reconstitution of another l i f e . What Louise does with, the meagre facts of Tante Marie's existence i n L'Herbe, Georges and Blum with the Reixach family legend, or the narrator of Histoire with what he knows of the lives of his mother and uncle, i s closely related to Quentin and ShreveAs mythologising of the Sutpen story i n Absalom! Absalom! The degree to which this process of invention i s high-lighted, makes i t the vehicle for reflection, not just on the novelist's own activity — the creation of fictions — but equally on the elements of such fictionalizing in our perception of others.* The narrator of Le Vent is wryly aware of the elements of f i c t i o n in his perception of Montes: Et au fur et a mesure qu'il me racontait l a scene i l me semblait maintenant l a vivre mieux que lui-meme, ou du moins pouvoir en reconstltuer un schema sinon conforme a ce qui avait reellement ete, en tout cas a notre incorrigible besoin de raison. (p. 138) He admits to having succumbed to the temptation he warned of at the beginning of his narrative: that of imposing a falsely logical order onto something fundamentally confused and incoherent. But i n the phrase " i i me *A curiously personal light i s thrown on this by the following statement taken from a 1962 interview given by Simon: Comment voyons-nous les gens? Par de petites lucarnes, une heure, deux heures, trots heures par jour, mais le teste du temps, ou sont-ils? l i s di'sparaissent' dans de grands trous. On ne les volt plus. Qu'est-ce qu'lis font pendant tout ce temps? On tache de ineubler les vides par une espece de ciment, d'histoire fabriquee qui se veut rassurante, mais qui, en f a i t , ne 1'est pas du tout, qui finalement est desastreuse et affolante. Je ressens tout cela d'une facon violente et meme cela m'obsede.3 48a semblait maintenant l a v i v r e mieux que lui-meme!', we see the process of imaginative i d e n t i f i c a t i o n at work, a process constantly r e c a l l e d by such narrative formulae as " i l me semblait l e v o i r " or " j e pouvais l'imaginer". 49 The narrator's conscious-ness of His limited knowledge and his need to f a l l back on speculation and imaginings provides an interesting commentary on the narrative process i t s e l f . By creating the character of a highly self-conscious narrator, instead of presenting Montes' experience directly from the inside, Simon gave himself a vehicle for his reflection on narrative method, i n addition, of course, to gaining the other benefits of detachment and perspective which that kind of narration affords. The slightly a r t i f i c i a l and didactic tone of some of the narrator's remarks is,on the whole, outweighed by the interest of the reflection on the novel that they provide. III. A phenomenologlcal justification for fragmented narrative As the novel develops, a continuing process of reflection on narrative structure takes place through the narrator's observations on how Montes appears to experience things or how he recounts his experience: . . . . (car ce ne fut que par bribes qu'il me raconta tout cela, et peu a peu, et non pas a proprement parler sous l a forme d'un recit mais quand l a memoire de t e l ou t e l detail l u i revenait, sans que l'on sut jamais exactement pourquoi — s i tant est que l'on sache jamais exactement ce qui f a i t ressurgir, intolerable et furieux, non pas le souvenir toujours range quelque part dans ce fourre-tout de l a memoire, mais abolissant le temps, l a sensation elle-meme, chair et matiere, jalouse, imperieuse, obsedante) . . . . (p. 175) This evocation of involuntary memory i s characteristically less euphoric than i n Proust and closer to the anguished obsessive memory — "intolerable et furieux" — of a Faulknerian character. In stressing the fragmentary and non-chronological nature of Montes' own account, Simon appears to be leading up to a narrative mode which would be truer to the way in which experience i s recalled, one based on the vagaries of mental association and involuntary memory rather than on the chronology of events. He was not able to achieve i t i n Le Vent, which s t i l l adheres to a basically chronological sequence 50 and whose non-participant narrator has reorganized the confused account he has supposedly received. But in passages such-as the one just quoted, Simon i s laying the groundwork for the dechronologization of the narrative that w i l l mark a l l the subsequent novels. A particularly vivid contrast of two opposing conceptions of time forms part of that process of reflection on narrative and as i t were, education of the reader: . . . . (celui-ci le temps non pas filiforme, comme ces brins tresses porteurs de noeuds dont se servent pour leurs messages les Indiens primitifs, conception d'une duree a une seule dimension le long de laquelle les evenements-noeuds, le passe, le present et 1'avenir, se suivraient sans bousculade, sagement a la queue-leu-leu: mais au contraire (le temps) semblable a une sorte d'epais magma ou 1'instant serait comme le coup de beche dans l a sombre terre, mettant a nu l'indenombrable grouillement de vers) . . . . (p. 163) Metaphor for a particular conception of time, the braided Indian messages also serve as an image of conventional narrative, which relates a series of events by means of an unsophisticated technique allowing of no more complexity than the order of events in timei - The one-dimensional conception of time (and along with i t chronological narration) i s rejected in favour of that represented by the strange and strikingsimage of the upturned clod of earth and i t s swarming population, which evokes the multiple elements, past and present, of a single instant of consciousness. The passage could well symbolize the difference between a conventional chronological narrative and one of Simon's later novels — La Route des Flandres. for instance, with i t s intricate composition evoking the chaotic present of consciousness where past and present are colled inextricably round each other. Another passage on time i s concerned more particularly with the way in which Montis experiences i t . For i t i s not merely that he recounts his experience i n a fragmented manner—? "par bribes . . . . quand l a memoire 51 de t e l ou t e l detail l u i reyenait" --but that the experience i t s e l f i s fragmented: Non, ce n'gtait pas le f a i t de son r e c i t , de l!apparente incoherence de sa memoire: tout cela dut effectivement, je pense, se derouler pour l u i d'une facon presque i r r e e l l e , le temps se telescopant, s'im-mobllisant ou se dilatant tour a tour, et cela non pas tellement a cause de sa fatigue, de la nuit blanche . . . . que de son inaptitude fondamentale a prendre conscience de la vie, des choses, des evenements, autrement que par 1'intermediaire des sens, du coeur (inaptitude que nous corrigeons d'ordinaire, a laquelle nous remedions par un effort de l'esprit qui s'emploie a calfater les sequences de. temps echappees a notre perception, comme dans ces exercices de vocabulaire pour classes enfantines consistant-~a remplacer dans"une .phrase l e s p o i n t i l l e s ,par • l e mot approprie~ : de sorte que s e l On Ta ..paresse, \Te_manq"ue.-d' imaginationy ou "1 'extreme l a s s i t u d e du moment, . leTmSme-"gvenement pourra, l e s vides une f o i s remplis,se presenter aussi bien sous le rassurant aspect d'une terne banalite du deja vu, ou au contraire d'un angoissant chaosj . p . , 146-Though Montes is presented as exceptional, i t i s not because the way in which he perceives time i s thought to differ significantly from that of other people, but that he f a i l s to make the mental corrections and adjustments that, infthe narrator's view, most of us make to our actual perception of events. Montes does not go through the process of " f i l l i n g i n " the blanks. This i s a further dimension of his role as " i d i o t " or innocent: his apprehension of reality i s represented as being simpler, more direct, less rationalized than that of the majority, exemplary because truer. The gaps in Montes' recollection of events and the irregularity of the passage of time as he perceives i t , serve as what might be termed a phenomenologlcal justification for a fragmented narrative. Such a narrative i s now doubly called for: by the fragmentary knowledge of events and other people which the narrator claims i s a l l we can possess and by the fragmentedness of our own experience and recollections. The a r t i s t i c message of Le'Vent. the sum of Simon's reflections on the novel up to that point, i s that the novelist must create a form which w i l l embody this 52 fragmentation. IV. The problem of language The creation of a fragmented narrative structure alone, however, w i l l not suffice, for the most basic level of narration i s the individual phrase or sequence of phrases and here too, the principle of fragmentation must be applied: Car, me d i t - i l , ce fut ainsi que cela sepassa, en tout cas ce fut cela qu'il vecut, l u i : cette incoherence, cette juxtaposition brutale, appar'erament absurde, de sensations, de visages, de paroles, d'actes. Comme un reci t , des phrases dont l a syntaxe, l'agencement ordonne — substantif, verbe, complement — seraient absents. Comme ce que devient n'importe quel ar t i c l e de journal (le terne, monotone et grisatfe? alignement de menus caracteres a quoi se reduit, aboutit toutel'agitation du monde) lorsque le regard tombe par hasard sur l a f e u i l l e dechiree qui a servi a envelopper l a botte de poireaux et qu'alors, par la magie de quelques lignes tronquees, incompletes, l a vie reprend sa superbe et altiereindependance, redevient ce f o i -sonnement desordonne, sans commencement ni f i n , n i ordre, les mots eclatant d'etre de nouveau separes, liberes de la syntaxe, de cette fade ordonnance, ce ciment bouche-trou indifferement apte a tous usages et que le redacteur de service verse comme une sauce, une gluante bechamelle pour r e l i e r , coller tant bien que mal ensemble, de facon a les rendre comestibles, les fragments ephemeres et dispa-rates de quelque chose d'aussi indigeste qu'une cartouche de dynamite ou une poignee de verre pilS . . . . (pp. 174-175) Once again Months' experience i s presented as fragmented:™--"comme un re c i t , des phrases dont l a syntaxe, l'agencement ordonne — substantif, verbe, complement — seraient absents" The metaphor i s highly significant, for i f his experience can be likened to a newspaper story fromwwhich words are missing or to a phrase with disordered syntax, i t follows that a fait h f u l account of his experience w i l l possess these same or analogous characteristics. The a r t i f i c i a l order and coherence that language imposes on experience must be counteracted. For i t i s not just the; shoddy writing of sensational journalism that i s seen as falsifying experience, but the order and continuity inherent i n 53 written language: "l a syntaxe, ; . , . cette fade ordonnance, ce ciment bouche-trou" "Cinent" i s a term used elsewhere by Simon for anything that imparts an a r t i f i c i a l coherence and continuity to the disjointed fragments of experience and memory: L.'jarcheologue comble les lacunes d'un monument en ruines par du ciment grisatre. Pour moi je refuse ce procede, qui invente un ordre dont on ne saura jamais s'11 est authentique. Je ne comble pas les vides. l i s demeurent comme autant de fragments.4 When the term "ciment" i s applied to syntax, therefore, i t suggests that language by i t s very nature i s f e l t to be liable to f a l s i f y experience. That the ordering effect of language can be counteracted or undermined, however, i s suggested by the image of the torn newspaper: . . . . par l a magie de quelques lignes tronquSes, incompletes l a vie . . . . redevient ce foisonnement desordonne, sans commencement ni f i n , n i ordre . . . . and contained i n this passage i s the germ of the two methods by which this w i l l be achieved in the subsequent novels: 1. the infringement of syntactical norms — separation of subject from verb, of verb from complement, use of multiple parentheses, etc. — an ensemble of devices that Serge Doubrovsky has called "l'anti-syntaxe simonienne"5 2. the fragmentation, through interruption or abrupt curtailment, of sentences, paragraphs and dialogue. The image of the torn newspaper, complements that of the broken mirror, which opens the book. Together they embody the aesthetic of fragmentation that emerges i n Le Vent though i t w i l l not find i t s f u l l realization u n t i l subsequent novels. V. Narrative structure i n "Le Vent" How far does; Le Vent succeed*in embodying the: principle of composition 54 suggested by- the images of the broken mirror and the torn newspaper and promised by i t s sub-title "Tentative de restitution d'un retable baroque"? The overall narrative structure i s conventional: events are related in chronological order with the exception of one flashback (Helene's discovery of the gypsy in bed with her maid). Though i t i s not u n t i l the seventh chapter that the narrator explains his own connection with Montes and the notary, such a delay in identifying the narrator i s a traditional device to be found in Balzac's Le Colone1 ChabertI for instance, where the narrator i s not identified u n t i l the f i n a l page. There are in fact no significant gaps or rearrangements of the sequence of events, and the reconstruction that the narrator undertakes appears relatively unproblematic, or, at least, nothing lik e as tentative and uncertain as his i n i t i a l reflections had led the reader to expect. For though he may have had to reconstruct the sequence of events for himself, as he suggests by his allusions to the disjointed nature of the account Montes gave him, that process of reconstruction i s not especially evident in his own account, where the order of events i s never unclear. The reader does not see the reconstruction taking place, the pieces have a l l been fitte d together before the narrative commences. Neither i s there any uncertainty as to the place of these events i n time. There i s none of the interweaving of past and present u n t i l they are indistinguishable, which w i l l characterize the later novels. It is clear that the narrator's recollection of these happenings takes place during his conversation with the notary the day after the departure of Montes: . . . . tandis que le hotaire parlait done, je ne pouvais m'empecher d'imaginer 1'autre - - t e l que je 1'avals vu l a v e i l l e encore . . . . (p. 10) (cf. also pp 40, 108, 237-238) 55 Each incident of the narrative can be situated i n relation to the others in an easily apparent time-scheme. There i s thus no fragmentation of the narrative i n so far as the sequence of events is concerned. The same i s true of the other major element of narrative composition: point of view. The opening pages seem to announce a multi-perspective narration with their immediate opposition of narrator and notary, their allusion to the "chronique de l a v i l l e " and their suggestion that i f reality is not totally unknowable, then i t i s constituted by the "mille et une versions, les mille et un visages" of events. However, the narrative does not actually provide us with such a fragmented, multi-faceted version of what has taken place. It i s not even a genuinely double perspective (narrator and notary) because the notary's point of view i s given too l i t t l e space i n comparison with the narrator's and, more importantly, because i t i s not presented autonomously. From the start the narrator casts doubt on the notary's professional honesty (pp. 25-26) and mocks his judgement (pp. 9, 81) and the character i s somewhat of a caricature in any case. Thus the reader i s led almost immediately to reject the notary's view of events and people as narrow, biased and possibly s e l f -interested. Consequently, the notary's point of view does not become a genuine alternative or complementary perspective, one of those "mille et une versions". The narrator's point of view i s the privileged and ultimately the only one, supported as i t i s by" constant-reference to the fact that Montes confided i n him, as the frequent use of such phrases as "comme i l me d i t " (Praconta", "decrivit l a scene", etc.) makes clear.* •Extremely frequent: as many as thirty variants in one chapter of twenty pages. 56 Moreover, the narrator's honesty i n always making i t clear when he i s speculating or s u r m i s i n g — . . . . cela i l ne me le dit pas, je l'imaginais, j'essayais moi-meme de comprendre . . . . (p. 95) — helps to ensure the reader's trust i n his account. The real function of the notary's point of view i s to give an outside view of the character, which does not in any way deepen or extend our knowledge, but serves to enhance by contrast the narrator's inside view. The conflict between the inside and outside views has the effect of imparting a certain mystery and even pathos to this exemplar of the misunderstood hero, outsider or "idiot". But i t does not provide either the multi-perspective narrative or the fragmented vision of events that are suggested by the opening pages. If, in i t s overall structure, the novel i s f a i r l y conventionally composed, at the level of individual incidents, the narrative i s more faithful to the principle of fragmentation. Perhaps the easiest way to il l u s t r a t e this i s through the analysis of a particular chapter. The sixth provides a good example, since i t i s an important one, setting Montes on an irrevocable course as he watches the gypsy at the rigged boxing match and t r a i l s him to his home, then hears Rose's account of her l i f e as they s i t beneath the plane-tree in the square — "cet etrange et nocturne duo d'amour". Most of what can be said about the composition of this chapter applies i n general to the narrative method of the rest of the novel. VI. Narrative method in the sixth chapter The chapter begins with two paragraphs which describe how Montes experienced this period of his l i f e and how he recounted i t to the narrator. 57 As we have already noted, such passages generally serve to propose or jus-t i f y a narrative mode. The second paragraph of Chapter VI i s a particularly good example of that procedure: Et autour de l u i ces silhouettes floues, entr'apercues, incompletes — se dessinant vaguement dans une duree elle-meme floue, incertaine, car i l n'y avait aucun li e n dans son recit entre les differents episodes ou plutot tableaux qu'il evoquait, comme dans ces reves ou l'on passe subitement d'un endroit a 1'autre, d'une situation a 1'autre sans transition . . . . (pp. 82-83) The narrator's comment on the abrupt switches i n Montes' account is particularly significant, for i t is preceisely that feature in the chapter under consideration which brings about the fragmentation of an otherwise conventional chronological narrative. The lack of connections l a Montes' story arises no doubt largely from his fragmented perception of time and that i n a b i l i t y to f i l l the gaps,which were analyzed earlier. But the comparison that the narrator makes with the sudden changes of scene i n a dream does implicitly suggest that beneath the apparent lack of connections i n his account- l i e unconscious connections of a different nature from those of a causal or chronological kind. Since, however, the narrative progression of Le Vent is basically straightforward, despite the abrupt switches between scenes, the f u l l implication of the dream metaphor w i l l not be f u l f i l l e d u n t i l La Route des Flandres. where the abrupt narrative switches back and forth in time, are triggered by association and correspondence very much in the manner of dreams. In Le Vent, though, the psychological function of the abrupt breaks in the narrative i s to render the character's fragmented sense of the passage of time and the resulting disjointedness of his account of events. This disjointedness i s further stressed by the narrator's rejection of the word "episode" in favour of "tableau" to characterize Montes' 58 description of events. For whereas "episode" suggests an event or series of events recounted i n their entirety, "tableau" evokes merely a frozen instant, a fragment rather than a whole. It recalls the "breves images" of the novel's opening page, the fragmentary images of memory. Like the opening page of the novel, the f i r s t pages of the sixth chapter have served to prepare the reader for a narrative method. How far does the chapter f u l f i l l these expectations? Each of the three scenes described i s introduced abruptly, without explanation or preparation, plunging the reader i n medias res. i . pp. 83-85 The f i r s t scene — a brief conversation with Maurice i n his room — begins in this way: Et ainsi je pouvais le voir, comme i l me le raconta, hypnotise; fascine par cette tache de s o l e l l en train de ramper lentement mais irreversiblement sur le mur, changeant peu a peu de couleur et de forme, tandis que le jeune representant en phosphates, engrais et poudres cupriques recommencait- pour l a vingtieme fois a l u i expliquer toute l a sympathie qu'il eprouvait pour l u i . (p. 83) The time, place and other circumstances of this meeting are unclear. Nothing i n the preceding two paragraphs or even in the ending of the previous chapter has led up to i t . It i s a fragment of timesurfacing : • ~-apparently at random in the narrator's recollection or i n Montes' account. Unfortunately, Simon somewhat spoils the effect by underlining the device in the next two sentences: II ne me d i t pas comment i l y etait venu. II me dit seulement qu'il y etait. Sans doute 1'autre le rencontrant, le croisant . . . . (p. 83) It i s as though he cannot yet trust in the reader's capacity to follow him. So the narrator i s made to explain and;justify the abruptness and i t s 59 effect i s thereby diminished. We have not yet reached the kind of switches from one narrative element to another, from past to present, operated by an image or association, l e f t totally unexplained and demanding an attentive and retentive reader, that w i l l mark the subsequent novels. i i . pp. 85-90 The switch to the following scene i s equally abrupt: . . . . repetant maintenant: "Hon, je vous dis q u i l l faut que je parte. Excusez-moi. Je dois . . . ." Puis i l y fut — u n autre repere dans ce temps flou, un autre decor — i l me dit qu'il avait vu l'affiche . . . . (p. 85) Again, time, place, purpose and significance of this new scene are unclear to begin with. The previous paragraph has spoken of some obsession, some urgent matter to be attended to, but without further precision. Once again the abruptness of the transition i s underlined — "un autre repere dans ce temps flou" — but this time at least the uncertaintyvis maintained for a l i t t l e longer by the description of the poster that follows, which announces some unspecified event in which some unnamed person is to take part. The narrative thus retains the vague and disconnected character of the original account. i i i . pp. 90-102 The last scene i n the chapter shows the same characteristics: abruptness of transition and a regrettable compulsion to explain that abruptness. The f i n a l paragraph of the preceding scene has Montes returning from the gypsy encampment. The next paragraph i s a piece of dialogue, spoken by an unnamed woman, condemning the gypsy. The following paragraph compensates for i t s abruptness and uncertainty: 60 Elle se tut, chercha a voir son visage dans 1'ombre. II me raconta qu'il etait maintenant assis a cote de l a serveuse sur undes bancs de l a place, et autour d'eux c'etait l a paisible nuit de prifttemps. (p. 90) Not only i s the gap f i l l e d here, unfortunately, but i t t i s done awkwardly and far more a r t i f i c i a l l y ' t h a n in a conventional'_.narrative. The juxtaposition of these scenes i n the sixth chapter i s typical of the whole novel. Sometimes the switch from one scene to the next i s made within a paragraph or i n mid-sentence, which has an even more fragmenting effect on the narrative. The method i s reasonably successful in spite of the compulsion* the writer s t i l l feels to justify what he i s doing. The separation of the scenes from each other, their juxtaposition without benefit of connecting elements, creates a disconnected narrative that adequately represents the disjointedness of the character's experience and, to a certain extent, conceals the straightforward composition of the novel as a whole. VII. Images of fragmentation A f i n a l element contributing to the fragmentation of the narrative are the many images of fragmentation within i t . These serve both to reiterate the theme of fragmentary vision with which the novel opens and to echo i t s fragmented composition. The chapter that has just been examined, has several such images. In the f i r s t scene there i s a reflection i n a mirror. Although the mirror i t s e l f i s not shattered, the scene i t reflects i s fragmented through movement: . . . . et dans l a glace du battant repousse d'un coup de pied Montes pouvant se voir, un instant, entrain? avec le minable decor ou i l se tenait debout dans une giration etincelante, meteorique, qui s'arrets sur un angle de l a table, un de ces cendriers-reclame de cafe debordant de mSgots, deux cartes postales representant des pins au bord 'de l a mer fixees au mur, le tout tremblotant quelques 61 dixiernes de secondes et finalement s'lmmobilisant . . . . (p. 84) Maurice (since i t i s he who kicks the wardrobe door shut), Montes and Maurice's room, the scene of their conversation, must a l l be reflected in the mirror, but only fleetingly as i t pivots on i t s hinges. Thus the whole scene i s never reflected i n i t s entirety, but only as a succession of rapidly eclipsed fragments. The image i s a mise en abymeeof the novel's narrative structure, with i t s rapid succession of fragmentary scenes. Throughout the sixth chapter, Images of light and shadow help to convey a sense of that fragmentary vision composed of fleeting glimpses into the mystery of other lives, which, i n the narrator's view, i s a l l we can know of them. Thus he imagines Montes returning from the gypsy encampment — Et i l me semblait le voir passer, traversant les zones d'ombre et de chatoyantes lumieres . . . . (p. 90) — alternately revealed and concealed from his sight as by the intermittent nature of their meetings, or as i n Montes' disconnected account of his l i f e . That image of alternating light and shadow i s developed in the scene that follows. Throughout Montes' conversation with Rose, he can only intermittently see her, as light from the street lamp i s f i l t e r e d through the leaves of the plane tree, fluctuating as they move in the breeze: . . . . autour d'eux c'etait l a paisible nuit de printemps, et de 1'autre cote de l a place l a terrasse de 1'hotel encore allumee, projetant sur le trottoir et l a chaussee un trapeze de lumiere, et ca et l a quelques fenetres posant leurs touches orangees dans l'ob-scuritS . . . . (pp. 90-91) . . . . tous les deux assis sur ce banc dans l'obscurite, avec eparpilles sur eux, les confettis de lumiere dechiquetee qui leur tombaient dessus a travers le jeune feuillage vert cru . . . . (p. 92) . . . . de nouveau e l l e se tut, resta immobile, les fragments de lumiere verte et dechiquetee jouant sur e l l e , entrecroisant leurs taches, se mouvant sur son dos, ses epaules immobiles . . . . (pp. 96-97) 62 These images of fragmented light in the surrounding darkness convey a sense of Montes* momentary glimpse into Rose's l i f e . She i s hidden from him by the darkness, only briefly and intermittently revealed by the fli c k e r ing l ight. The intermittent light i s i n harmony with the fragmented dialogue, as well as contributing to the melancholy atmosphere of the scene in which the few patches of light from windows or street lamps seem to emphasize their solitude. A l l these descriptions of light culminate i n two images at the end of the chapter, which achieve a f i n a l and perfect expression of the theme of fragmentary vision. F i r s t the description of a lighted window: . . . . cette derniere boutique encore allumee, insolite dans l a nuit, trop loin pour qu'il put entendre, s a i s i r autre chose que cette fraction muette de vie s'inscrivant dans le rectangle lumineux que decoupaient les vitres de l a devanture . . . . (p. 99) Too far away to hear or make sense of anything that i s happening within the shop, Montes nonetheless has this brief glimpse into another l i f e — "cette fraction muette de vie" — just as, during their brief talk, he has been granted a momentary and incomplete glimpse into Rose's l i f e . The fleeting character of this glimpse is epitomized by his few seconds' vision of her face: . . . . et soudain, en face, une fenetre s'eclaira, une silhouette se pencha, et avant que les volets se fussent refermes Montes eut le temps de voir a cot? de l u i le masque blanc exhume de 1'ombre, l'espece de visage de morte, les joues barrees de deux trainees luisantes . . . . (p. 100) In the time i t takes for shutters to be drawn across a window, her face has been revealed by the light, a fragmentary vision, one more in that "addition de breves images", which, i n the narrator's view, constitutes our sole knowledge of others. 6 3 Conclusion In i t s images at least, ifssnot in i t s narrative structure, Le Vent succeeds in conveying that sense of the fragmentedness of knowledge and experience expressed i n i t s opening pages. There i s one further image, which, together with those of the broken mirror and the torn newspaper, w i l l serve both to sum up that vision of experience and to prefigure the composition of the subsequent novels, that were to embody i t more successfully: . . . . place dans l a perspective de ce temps qui s'allongeait comme un mur gris sans commencement ni f i n , decrepi, avec ses v i e i l l e s affiches dechirees aux pans souleves par le vent, leurs couleurs fanees, ou quelquefois encore vives, criardes, leurs caracteres deiaves, leurs fragments de textes sans commencement n i f i n non plus, sans suite, se juxtaposant, se contredisant, apparaissant entre deux dechirures comme les visages de leurs personnages reclames amputes d'un o e i l , d'une joue, d'un cote entier (et parfois reduits a une joue, un o e i l vous regardant, vous devisageant, enigmatique au fond du temp enigmatique entre deux lambeaux de papier comme entre deux portieres ecartees) . . . . (p. 149) In this strangely Cubist image of the wall and i t s layers of torn posters, whichsserves as metaphor for the past as i t appears in memory, there is also to be found a prophetic description of most of the major compositional features of the succeeding novels: the fragmented text with i t s juxtaposed or overlapping sequences that interrupt or efface each other, the fragmentary and enigmatic scenes and characters, the collage-like effect of certain arrangements.. The description of a wall with torn and overlapping posters, or half-effaced slogans, w i l l i t s e l f appear again and again in the later novels, an image of fragmentation that eventually, in Orion aveugle, w i l l join with i t s a r t i s t i c counterpart, the collage, to provide both analogy and inspiration for the composition of a text. 64 CHAPTER III REPRESENTATION OF AN INNER WORLD OR PRODUCTIVITY  OF A TEXT? CRITICAL RESPONSE TO THE FRAGMENTED  NARRATIVE OF THE NOVELS FROM "LA ROUTE DES FLANDRES" TO "HISTOIRE" Before we approach the major novels themselves, i t w i l l be helpful to look f i r s t at the two schools of thought that have dominated c r i t i c a l reaction to them and which must be taken into account in any analysis of fragmented composition, since they; pose a fundamental question as to i t s significance. C r i t i c a l writing on the novels of Claude Simon's central period r e f l e c t s the evolution i n the approach to f i c t i o n that has taken place over the last fifteen years, an evolution which has been heavily influenced by the theory and practice of Jean Ricardou, who i s now the doyen of Simon studies, as is evident from his role at the 1974 Cefisy Colloquium devoted to Simon. It can be described b r i e f l y as a rejection of the idea of the novel as a representation of reality, in favour of a conception of narrative as a fabrication of language in which f i c t i o n and theme are generated by the text i t s e l f through the associative power of words. This shift i n critical.thought is reflected i n the varying interpre-tations of the narrative fragmentation 'that marks the novels of the central period. After the publication of Ricardou*s influential articles on La Bataille de Pharsale. there was a new awareness of Mie "textual" elements in the earlier novels. 1 In the light of this, narrative fragmentation 65 could be seen as a consequence of the autonomy of a text which, no longer subordinated to a pre-established f i c t i o n , follows i t s own dynamic, constantly branching off in a new direction as a result of the productive mechanisms of language. Fragmentation could also be seen as one of an assortment of devices that undermine the r e a l i s t i l l u s i o n and challenge the supremacy of the story, confounding the reader's expectations of nar-rative continuity and, by the attention they draw to the internal mechanisms of the text, revealing i t as text and not a representation of reality. C r i t i c a l reaction when the novels f i r s t appeared, however, was quite different. For a start, the fragmentation of the narrative, now so established a compositional practice i n Simon's writing that Ricardou 2 can speak of " l a l o i de l a fragmentation", was found disconcerting. Yves Berger in an early review of La Route des Flandres i n the Nouvelle Revue Francaise, described readers' reactions: La surprise et, s i j'en crois de nombreux aveux, le desarroi du lecteur est d'autant plus grand que, la encore, rien ne l'a prepare a ces changements de plans et modifications des perspectives habituellea du temps. II faut plusieurs fois l i r e le roman et s'etre, en quelque sorte, familiarise avec les mecanismes de l a memoire, pour ne pas perdre longuement pied et reussir, avec un retard honorable, a prendre conscience qu'une scene est terminee: nous etions dans l a suivante et nous pensions encore dans l a premiere, sans connaltre qu'elle s'etait evanouie. . . . Aucun argument de l'habituelle logique ne rend compte de ces continuelles apparitions et disparitions: i l faut que l e lecteur entre dans le jeu, et s ' i l veut connaltre les secrets de l a memoire comme romanciere, qu'il cherche le mot privilegie qui declenche les apparitions et dont l a presence provoque 1'eclipse des precedentes. 3 It seems surprising that the novel was found so disorienting nearly forty years after Ulysses and The Sound and the Fury; indicative perhaps of a certain conservatism that may well help to explain the sometimes excessively aggressive stance of the partisans of the nouveau roman. What i s most noteworthy, however, i s that Berger ascribes the novel's composition,iits interrupted or overlapping scenes, to the mechanisms of memory. 66 This reaction was general. The fragmentation of the narrative was interpreted by most c r i t i c s within a framework of psychological realism, Claude Simon was hailed as the novelist of memory and La Route des Flandres provided Merleau-Ponty with a source of illustrations for his lectures on 4 the phenomenology of consciousness. In 1963, at the Cerisy Colloquium devoted to the topic "Une litterature nouvelle?", Jean-Pierre Faye placed Simon firmly in the stream of conscious-ness tradition — "le roman du flux et du souterrain" — as a descendant of James, Proust, Joyce, Woolf and Faulkner.^ He decribed La Route des Flandres as "une derniere recapitulation de l a duree'*, a judgement which does not seem to have been disputed in the discussion that followed. 6 In the following year, Jean-Luc Seylaz i n an ar t i c l e entitled "Du Vent a La Route des Flandres; l a conquete d'une forme romanesque", relates the narrative method of La Route directly to the processes of memory: V o i d definie ce que sera La Route des Flandres dans l'oeuvre de Simon: l a tentative l a plus poussee (et l a plus reussie) de realiser un roman qui respecte a l a fois le processus createur chez le romancier et l a structure fondamentale de la memoire.? He goes on to summarize the characteristics of memory that i n his view, the narrative i s adhering to: Car ce que cette narration ( f i c t i v e mais inevitable) respecte, ce sont les caracteristiques de l a memoire, son ignorance de l a perspective historique, l'eterael present du souvenir . . . . et enfin le mecanisme de 1'association d'images, de sons, de couleurs, d'odeurs, de postures.& It was the perception of a relation of this kind between narrative form and the processes of memory that led Jean Rousset to define Simon's novels as "romans de la memoire". In an ar t i c l e published i n 1965, entitled "Trois romans de l a memoire", he distinguishes between two types of novels Q dealing with memories. In the f i r s t , the traditional "roman-memoires", the narrator i s drawing on his memory i n order to recount his past, but i t i s that past rather than the act of remembering which i s the subject 67 of the novel. In the second, which he calls "le roman de la memoire" and believes unprecedented i n literature u n t i l recently, memory i t s e l f and the processes by which the past is reconstituted have become the true subject. After a brief glance at i t s antecedents, Rousset discusses the novel of memory through reference to the work of Butor, Simon and Pinget. Of Simon's novels, he says: Ces livres sont d'authentiques romans de l a memoire vivante; c'est la memoire du protagoniste qui, placee au premier plan et au centre du tableau, recompose son histoire. II s'agit d'un projet delibere que l'auteur oppose aux anciens modeles du recit retrospectif Commenting on the incomplete and fragmentary character of memory as i t i s represented i n Simon's novels, Rousset sees that as being one of the major determinants of their structure. Taking Le Palace as an example, he writes: En se modelant sur les mouvements de cette pensee rememorante, le roman s'organise en un decoupage irregulier de troncons: le bureau dans le palace, le rScit de l'homme-fusil, 1'enterrement vu d'une fenetre, etc. Ces segments, ces lambeaux, toujours incomplets, tou-jour s coupes ou troues, glissent les uns sur les autres, comme une jeu de cartes dechirees qui tantot se recouvrent, tantot se decouvrent, jeu disperse mais toujours tenu, pour eviter l'eparpillement, par l a force agissante de la pensee actuelle periodiquement reintroduite. Ainsi se compose le l i v r e , ainsi va l a memoire chez Claude Simon.H The composition of the novel, i n Rousset's view, recreates both the wayward movement of memory (its abrupt and irregular transitions from one moment of the past to another) and i t s fragmentariness. Thus the fragmentation of the narrative i s expl i c i t l y linked to the nature of memory. Unfortunately, Rousset's account of the novels i s too brief and impressionistic to deal with those of their features which do not accord with such an interpretation, attractive though i t may be i n general terms. Other commentators were more alert to such d i f f i c u l t i e s . Yves Berger, for instance, although, as we just saw, he ascribed the fragmented composition of La Route to the mechanisms of memory, nonetheless began his review with 68 the statement that i t was not "le roman de l a pure memoire". He went on to analyze systematically those features of i t s narration, such as the use of indications of time, the commentary of the narrator and the book's division into three parts, which i n his view were incompatible with the representation of memory. He seems doubtful in any case whether memory in i t s purest, most immediate state could be rendered r e a l i s t i c a l l y . What Simon does i n this novel, in Berger's estimation, i s to recreate a secondary level of memory — the stage at which memory images are translated into language: Je constate seulement que Simon donne a voir autre chose: pour l a premiere fois en litterature, les mecanisines par lesquels l a memoire se f a i t langage . . . . Non pas, done, l a memoire t e l l e qu'elle est . . . . mais t e l l e qu'elle se f u i t . . . . l a memoire comme passage.12 Nonetheless, he goes on to say that i t is memory which determines both the style and the structure of La Route. Thus, those features of the novel which at f i r s t seemed incompatible with the representation of memory are either seen as regrettable flaws in an ambitious undertaking or reassi-mllated to a rea l i s t interpretation by means of this notion of a secondary stage of memory, instead of being seen as evidence of some different principle of composition at work. As we saw in the passage quoted earlier, i t i s specifically those compositional features which fragment the narrative (the interrupted scenesj the a-teraporal progression, and so forth) that Berger attributes to memory. Thus, he too, like Rousset, interprets the fragmentation of the narrative in terms of psychological realism. That early c r i t i c a l reaction to the works of the central period placed them in the twentieth century tradition of psychological realism i s hardly surprising. Memory and i t s processes are a major theme i n s a l l 69 these novels and the techniques of the stream of consciousness novel are extensively, though not exclusively, used i n them. While the reader of a Robbe-Grillet novel — La Jalousie, for instance — could not f a i l to see that here was something radically new and different, the reader of La Route or Histoire, particularly one well-versed i n Anglo-American f i c t i o n of this century, would tend to notice a l l that links Simon with Proust, Joyce, Woolf and most particularly Faulkner, whose influence on La Route i s 13 unmistakable. Claude Simon himself, moreover, in his declarations to interviewers, gave credence to the view of his novels as representations of memory by continually invoking mental processes to explain their composition and style. In an interview in Le Monde, after the publication of La Route, he said: . . . . en ces quelques heures d'une nuit d'apres guerre que je retiens, tout se presse dans l a memoire de Georges: le desastre de mai 1940, l a mort de son capitaine a l a tete d'une compagnie de dragons, son temps de captivite, le train qui le menait au camp de prisonnier, etc. Dans la memoire tout se situe sur le meme plan: le dialogue, 1'emotion, la vision co-existent. Ce que j ' a i voulu, c'est forger une structure qui convienne a cette vision des choses, qui me permette de presenter les uns apres les autres des elements qui dans l a realite se superposent, de retrouver une architecture purement sensorielle.14 Seven years later, with the publication of Histoire. he was s t i l l speaking in similar terms. When asked what the function of his long sentences was, he replied: De rendre cette espece de magma qu'est notre vie mentale, l a perception confuse, multiple et simultanee que nous avons du monde. Tantede choses coexistent et s'interpenetrent dans notre conscience: Le point, l a phrase courte, amenent des cesures, coupent ce qui n'est pas coupe dans l a realite mentale.15 Not only did Simon clearly invoke the nature of memory to explain the composition of La Route ("ce puzzle" as the interviewer called i t ) , but several years later he was s t i l l explaining his writing in terms of 70 the representation of consciousness. Although these statements, and others like them, probably accurately express what he conceived his intentions to be, he would now almost certainly disavow them. In a more recent interview, he told Claud DuVerlie: . . . . I lai d myself open to this kind of misinterpretation . precisely because, like Stendhal, I only developed this awareness l i t t l e by l i t t l e . Naively, I explained my work by saying that I was merely following the associations and combinations of memory — like the famous story of Proust's madeleine. 1 6 But i n the light of the earlier declarations, i t i s hardly surprising that the novels were seen as continuing i n the stream of consciousness tradition, when the novelist himself presented them i n such terms. It i s clear that there has been a definite evolution not only i n Simon's writing, but also i n his conception of his work, as can be seen from the various interviews over the years. While his attitude to representation has never been naive, i t seems evident that at one time he believed in the possibility of a kind of psychological realism he would now reject, and that i t coloured his conception of his work, whether or not i t influenced his actual practice. It has really only been retrospectively, with the appearance of La Bataille de Pharsale and the subsequent novels, which reveal a new orient-ation in Simon's writing, and with the publication of Jean Ricardou's articles on that novel, that the standard view of Simon as the novelist of memory has been challenged. Although Ricardou's early ar t i c l e on La Route ("Un ordre dans l a debacle") contains the germ of many of his later ideas and no doubt influenced other commentators, i t was his articles on La Bataille de Pharsale, with their systematic and detailed analysis of textual mechanisms, that really opened up a new c r i t i c a l approach to Simon's writing. These articles deal only with La Bataille. but the new way of reading they propose, cannot but influence any subsequent reading of the preceding novels. 71 In an important ar t i c l e on La Route published i n 1973, and heavily-influenced by Ricardou*s theory of the primacy of the text, Dominique Lanceraux'takes up where Yves Berger had l e f t off, confirming and adding to the latter's argument that La Route i s not a representation of memory.1^ Like Berger, he makes the point that the text is,at least i n part, narration rather than pure interior monologue: . . . . le narrateur precise, explicite ses souvenirs, les tourne en r e c i t ; ce dont temoigne le recours au discours personnel et fortement evaluatif . . . .18 The status of the narration i s unclear: Ce champ memoriel, on ne saura done pas de sitot s ' i l est "espace mental", parole ou redaction en cours, n i decouvrir l a position enonciatrice. 1 9 But even more problematic i n Lanceraux's view is the movement between the three narrative frames and the alternation of f i r s t and third person narration, which he judges incompatible with the representation of consciousness: . . . . on ne peut les concevoir qu'en termes scripturaux, hors d'une justification psychologique. Les parcelles dispersees du recit ne rejoignent pas l a continuity d'un courant de conscience, de memoire ou de parole, n i mime la permanence d'un sujet . . . . 20 In other words, the fragmentation of the narrative connot in his view, be explained i n terms of psychological realism.* Lanceraux is not merely concerned with the question of vraisemblance. *Lanceraux i s surely mistaken in saying that there i s no permanent subject, for despite the switches from f i r s t to third person, the point of view remains that of Georges^throughout. Even the alternation of f i r s t and third person, though i t i s deliberately anti-realist i n La Route, i s not Inherently so, as the example of Ulysses shows: the Leopold Bloom sequences alternate between the " I " of interior monologue and the "he" of external description, achieving through this combination' great psychological realism. 72 however,, More central to his rejection of the novel of memory inter-pretation i s his analysis of the role of languagetin giving direction to the narrative. Developing Ricardou's remark that the language of the text "se procre(e) en quelque sorte lui-meme par d'etranges aptitudes", 2*he shows how the progression of the narrative i s influenced by the power of individual words, through connotation, association, sound or appearance, to c a l l forth other words and images. Instead of attributing this progression through free association to the nature of memory, he sees i t as an indication of the dynamic of the text generating i t s own meanings and continuation : La oii une vue realiste expliquerait que ce roman, l'un des premiers, demontre 1'importance des faits de langage dans le fonctionnement de l a memoire (de 1'imagination, de l'inconscient . . . . ), on jugera que le champ memoriel constitue le detour, 1 ' a l i b i autorisant a deployer un champ textuel.^^ Lanceraux goes on to show how much of the narration has the quality of "un discours qui s'improvise": the conversational turns of phrase, the repetitions, the hesitation among alternative formulations and so forth, which suggest a narration i n progress rather than the flux of consciousness. To the uncertain status of the narration, then, must be added the impression that the discourse i s being elaborated as we read i t , that i t i s the process of composition that i s revealed rather than the mechanisms of a conscious-ness . The same view has been advanced by Gerard Roubichou: Claude Simon est depuis longtemps considere comme le romancier de l a memoire, de l a sensation, voire de 1 'Histoire. Mais i l n'y a ' chez l u i aucune recherche du^temps perdu; La memoire, 1'imagination sont l a j u s t i f i c a t i o n , l ' a l i b i , dans.la f i c t i o n , des pouvoirs crea-teurs de i l ' e c r i t u r e . 23 Elsewhere he maintains that the temporal switches of La Route have been mistakenly seen as mechanisms of memory when they are in fact "mecanismes visibles de production de l'ecriture". In a more recent a r t i c l e , however, he seems to admit, somewhat reluctantly, that the representation of mental 73 processes does play some part i n the novels of the central period: Dans l a mesure . . . . ou Histoire est marquee par une recherche quelque peu entachee de psychologie ( i l s'agit bien d'une conscience — le je du narrateur — en lutte avec un pass? et un present fragmen-talres . . . . , cette tension entre continu et discontinu pourrait s'expliquer par les caracteristiques de 1'esprit et de l a memoire dont nous p a - r l a i e n t . les romans precedents . . . . 25 While Roubichou concedes that many passages of Histoire might be read as the transcription of the contents of a consciousness, he reaffirms the limitations of such an interpretation, which would come close to imputing rea l i s t intentions to the novel. It i s d i f f i c u l t not to wonder, noting Roubichou's embarrassment at conceding this much, whether the current scorn for "psychology" might not lead c r i t i c s to distort or simplify the text in the interests of "scripturalisme" almost as much as through a narrow realism. • Representation of a memory of growth of a text? Are we to see memory as no more than an " a l i b i " , as both Lanceraux and Roubichou put i t , for the productivity of the text? Are we forced to align ourselves on one side or the other of the rea l i s t / s c r i p t u r a l i s t controversy? An alternative position i s tobbe found in Berger's review: . . . . l e romancier a concu entre autres desseins celui de montrer que les mecanismes de l a creation romanesque sont identiques a ceux della memoire.26 An almost identical view was expressed by Jean-Luc Seylaz i n the passage quoted earlier, where he called La Route' Simon's most successful attempt to write a novel which respected both: . . . . le processus createur chez le romancier et l a structure fondamentale de l a memoire . . . . 27 Irrespective of what Simon's intentions may have been, i t i s possible to 74 maintain that the mechanisms of creation i n his novels are related to or identical with those of memory, in so far as both are based on the prin-ciple of association. This connection has been categorically asserted by the Soviet film-maker and theoretician, Sergei Eisenstein, writing of the use of inner monologue in the cinema: Inner speech, the flow and sequence of thinking unformulated into the logical constructions in which uttered, formulated thoughts are ex-pressed, is based on a quite distinct series of laws. What i s remarkable therein . . . . i s that the laws of construction of inner speech turn out to be precisely those laws which l i e at the foundation of the  whole variety of laws governing the construction of the form and  composition of art-works. And there i s not one formal method that does not prove the spit and image of one or another law governing the construction of inner speech, as distinct from the logic of uttered speech.28 If the laws governing "inner speech" and a r t i s t i c creation are Identical, i t i s not surprising that the same passage in a novel like La Route can be read either as a representation of the workings of memory or as an example of the productivity of the text, since identical processes are involved. Moreover, Eisenstein remarks that inner monologue (as a narrative method) can be used not only to depict the inner monologue of a character or charac-ters, but also "to construct things", by which, presumably, he means as a source for the generation of new elements. This would be an apt des-cription of what i s happening in many passagesodfLLa Route or Histoire, where the rendering of an inner monologue i t s e l f gives rise to new, more purely verbal associations which then take the text in a new direction. The actual mechanism of association i s more or less the same whether i t i s of a personal, privateecharacter (derived from individual experience) or accessible to a l l (derived from the sounds or connotations of a word or from a general cultural context). For instance, the word "switch" which I shall have the occasion to use frequently, i n the discussion of narrative 75 structure, evokes for me "light switch", "hazel switch" and "witch", associations which anyone might have. But i t also produced an unexpected visual image of the railway station of my former home town, derived from a combinationaof i t s name — I p s w i c h — a l l i e d with my current preoccupation with "switch" as "aiguillage" which conjures up railway lines. This latter association might well be one that only I could have. A writer wishing to create the inner world of a character w i l l almost certainly find similarly personal associations and combinations of images arising in the course of writing, but many others w i l l come fromt'theecommon pool of language and culture. These associations w i l l i n turn generate others, contributing to the expansion of the inner world thus created. But the process of association i s virtually identical whether i t serves the depiction of a consciousness or the autonomous growth of a text. In both cases, spontaneous association must be followed up with productive combination and manipulation of the elements thus generated. Simon has given his own vivid description of this process i n the text he wrote for the series, Les sentiers de l a creation: L'un apres 1'autre les mots eclatent comme autant de chandelles romaines, deployant leurs gerbes dans toutes les directions. l i s sont autant de carrefours ou plusieurs routes s'entrecroisent. Et si,tplutot que de vouloir contenir, domestiquer chacune de ces ex-plosions, ou traverser rapidement ces carrefours en ayant deja decide du chemin a suivre, on s'arrete et on examine ce qui apparalt a leur lueur ou dans les perspectives ouvertes, des ensembles insoupconnes de resonances et d'echos se revelent. Chaque mot en suscite (ou en commande) plusieurs autres, non seulement par l a force des images qu'i l a t t i r e a l u i comme un aimant, mais parfois aussi par sa seule morphologie, de simples assonances qui, de meme que les necessites formelles de l a syntaxe, du rhythme et de l a composition, se revelent souvent aussi fecondes que ses multiples significations.29 He goes on to say that a l l his novels from La Route des Flandres on have been written in this manner. The difference between a work such as La Route 76 and a later novel like Triptyque. however, in this domain, i s that i n La Route and Histoire the associations, no matter how they have been gen-erated, are attributed to the protagonist, arise out of his experience and personality, whereas in the later novels, there i s no-one to whom they might be said to belong and they are perceived as textual mechanisms. In La Route in particular, the voice and presence of Georges are so strong that i t i s impossible to see him merely as a fi c t i o n a l pretext for the elaboration of the text. He exists in the text as voice, memory, vision, not just as a support for a system of images. The same i s true for the narrator of Histoire, though less so for the narrator of Le Palace, which i s closer to the later novels in that respect. Although these protagonists may lack the detailed physical and social identity of characters i n the conventional novel, they exist as centres of consciousness reflecting a world which we perceive through their eyes. The text i s anchored in their experience to which i t i s drawn back a l l the time i n spite of the constant pull of other currents. In the novels of theecentral period, the mechanisms of association serve both i n the representation of consciousness and as productive sources in themselves, generating and directing the narrative. There i s , as we have seen, no necessary incompatibility between the two functions, but, on the contrary, a close connection. Nonetheless, while the claim made by Lanceraux and Roubichou, that memory or consciousness are merely a disguise for the autonomous development of the text, can thus be set aside, not a l l their objections to the rea l i s t interpretation of the novels can be dismissed likewise. Each of the three novels we are going to examine resists assimilation to a coherent psychological framework in some essential way. The lack of 77 a stable centre of narration i n l a Route, for instance, or the doubling of the narrative "je" i n certain sequences of Histoire. create what Ricardou has called "discoherence", that i s , not the calculated incoherence, or 30 "suspended coherence" of inner monologue that mimics inchoate thought, but: . . . . une coherence contradictolre, multipolaire, que nulle unite ne peut subsumer a son niveau . . . .31 In Histoire. for example, the "je" of certain sequences seems to belong to both uncle and nephew, so that both appear to be having one and the same experience in a way that i s clearly impossible. There i s no way of resolving the contradiction and the apparent realism of the rest of the nar-rative i s subtly undermined by this procedure. Ricardouggives the name of "discoherence" to the effect thus produced. A number of the procedures that fragment the narrative contribute to this undermining of narrative coherence, preventing i t in the long run from being seen as a representation of consciousness, despite the presence of stream of consciousness techniques. There i s an evident tension in the novels of the central period. On the one hand, there i s the undeniable preoccupation with the phenomena of consciousness (memory, perception, the experience of time), and with the raw material of experience. On the other hand, there i s the deliberate undermining of the rea l i s t i l l u s i o n through the procedures of "discoherence", the revealing of the text as text. Nowhere i s this tension more evident than i n the fragmentation of the narrative, which at times f u l f i l l s a subtle psychological realism, at other times serves to shatter the i l l u s i o n of reality. It seems essential, therefore, that any satisfactory analysis of the novels of the central period must acknowledge the presence of these 78 apparently conflicting elements, without either dismissing them as regret-table flaws, as seems to be the current tendency, or attempting to assimi-late them to textual devices and ignoring their other effects; nor, on the other hand, f a l l i n g into the opposite trap of ignoring the non-realist elements and the productive role of the text. It i s to be hoped that the following chapters, i n their examination of the effects and significance of fragmented composition, w i l l succeed in maintaining a l l these elements in as delicate and dynamic a balance as the novels themselves do. 79 CHAPTER IV THE TECHNIQUES OF MONTAGE IN "LA ROUTE DES FLANDRES" C'est probablement cette conception du roman, totalement subjective, qui m'a conduit a un mode de travail assez proche des methodes employes dans le cinema. Par exemple, j ' a i ecrit mon dernier l i v r e (dont le veritable t i t r e , auquel j ' a i du renoncer pour des raisons pratiques, etait: Description fraementaire d'un desastre) par petits morceaux, fragments sans suite que j ' a i ensuite "montes", articulds les uns aux autres au moyen de charnieres (associations — ou, a 1'oppose, contrastes — de sensations, d'emotions, ou parfois meme simplement de mots, d'assonances))comme on procede, je crois, pour un film. (Claude Simon, Reponse a une enquete, Premier Plan. 18.No date) . . . . tout dans l a femme Centaure est gratieux, et deiicat, et tout merite d'etre regarde avec une attention particuliere le noeud et la jointure ou l a partie umaine f i n i t avec l a partie cheval est cer-tainement admirable . . . . (La Route des Flandres. p. 55) The narrative of La Route des Flandres has a disorienting effect even upon a reader accustomed to the discontinuity and constantly s h i f t i n g . focus of the stream of consciousness novel. It sequences are continually interrupted, often i n mid-sentence, only to be reverted to with equal abruptness pages later. But s t i l l more disconcerting i s the fact that many of these breaks are not immediately apparent, so that the reader realizes only after the fact that a new sequence has intervened. The continual movement between past and present, a familiar enough feature of inner monologue, i s also more perplexing here, for the present of narration i s 80 unstable. There are not one but three narrative frames: that i s , three sequences (the train journey with Blum, the prisoner-of-war camp and the post-war night with Corinne) which apparently represent a time and circumstances in which the narration i s taking place. But the narrative shifts between the three in a manner that, even at f i r s t reading, seems fraught with internal contradiction. The narration i t s e l f moves abruptly and with no immediately apparent logic between f i r s t and third person, though i t remains within the protagonist's consciousness throughout. Thus every aspect of the narrative is marked by discontinuity to a degree that obliges the reader to be constantly alert. I n i t i a l l y , as we saw i n the preceding chapter, most c r i t i c s interpreted the structure of La Route in psychological terms, as a representation of memory: Georges, lying i n bed with Corinne after the war, recalls his experiences of defeat and imprisonment, the direction of his thoughts continually diverted, not only by the erratic nature of memory i t s e l f , as i t shifts from one event, one period to another, but also by the erotic context, which both interrupts and colours the flow of memory. The frag-mentation of the narrative, with i t s constant digressions and reprises. was seen as an attempt to render the wandering of Georges's memory. The role of association i n bringing about many of the abrupt narrative shifts was particularly stressed by those who took this view of the text, because of i t s significance as a mechanism of memory. But on closer examination, many of the breaks i n the narrative do not f i t into such a scheme. As we are going to see, there i s i n fact an element of internal contradiction or inconsistency apparent in certain transitions and in the movement between the three frames, which cannot be reconciled with a psychological interpretation of the novel's structure. What we are 81 going to discover in looking closely at the breaks i n the narrative and the transitions between sequences i s that they serve primarily compositional ends, of which the ultimate aim is the creation of a "spatial" or simultaneous apprehension of a l l the elements of the work.1 Detailed examination of the transitional devices is of paramount importance insidetermining whether or not La Route can be considered as a representation of memory. But beyond that, i t i s essential to an understanding of the work as a whole. For the meaning of a fragmented composition must be sought f i r s t i n the relation between individual fragments at the point of juxtaposition or articulation, since i t i s here, in the connections between fragments, where thematic or formal links have replaced chronological or causal sequence, that the larger patterns of the work are f i r s t discerned. We heed a complete grasp of the processes of juxtaposition that have replaced conventional narrative sequence before we can f u l l y perceive the symbolic, formal or thematic patterns they serve to create. Claude Simon has often used the term "montage" to describe the composition of La Route, though he i s always careful to stress the essential difference between a visual andsa verbal art. But the notion of montage, in both i t s l i t e r a l and theoretical sense, seems particularly appropriate to that novel. In the l i t e r a l sense, the actual method of composition as Simon has described i t , resembles the cutting and splicing of shots i n 2 cinematic montage. In the theoretical sense, the conception of montage as a method of expressing through the juxtaposition of two shots,-a meaning not contained i n either one, i s equally illuminating as a description of the relation between juxtaposed fragments i n the text. Eisenstein himself, of course, applied the term to literary technique, using the example of 82 Flaubert as a pioneer i n the development of montage and citing the scene of the "Cornices" in Madame Bovary for i t s "cross-montage" of dialogue. It seems entirely appropriate, therefore, to describe the ensemble of transitional devices connecting the fragmented sequences of La Route as montage techniques. "L'lembranchement du huit"; a narrative junction A passage of central thematic importance, which offers a virtual paradigm of the montage technique of La Route and contains into the bargain an image that symbolizes that process, i s to be found, significantly, at the very heart of the book, either by a happy accident or as Simon suggests: . . . . par l'effet de mecanismes tres certains, meme s ' i l s me restent obscurs, declenches par mon travail.4 It provides an ideal introduction to the novel's composition, with i t s juxtaposition of different times and different f i c t i o n a l elements; here, the two fatal points of Reixach's career, as witnessed or imagined by Georges: . . . . pouvant voir comme s ' i l n'en avait ete qu'a quelques metres l'encolure de l a pouliche couverte d'une ecume grise a l'endroit ou fro t t a i t l a rene, le groupe, l e cortege hieratique et medieval se dirigeant toujours vers le mur de pierre, ayant maintenant traverse 1'embranchement du huit, les chevaux de nouveau caches jusqu'au ventre par les hales de bordure disparaissant a demi de sorte qu'ils avaient l ' a i r coupes a mi-corps le haut seulement depassant semblant glisser sur le champ de ble vert comme des canards sur 1'immobile surface d'une mare je pouvais les voir au fur et a mesure qu'ils tournaient a droite s'engageaient dans le chemin creux l u i en tete de l a colonne comme s i c'avait ete le quatorze j u i l l e t un puis deux puis trois puis le premier peloton tout entier puis le deuxieme les chevaux se suivant tranquillement au pas . . . . pp. 154-155 The passage demonstrates one of the novel's most striking and charac-t e r i s t i c features: an unannounced switch of the narrative, often i n mid-83 sentence, to a different incident and time. The quotation i s taken from the place where the narration of the pre-war steeplechase, in which de Reixach replaced his jockey Iglesia, gives way to an account of his leading the squadron into the ambush in which i t i s wiped out. The account of the race w i l l not be resumed for anothereeleven pages (p. 166) when i t in turn interrupts the narration of the ambush, which is thus framed by i t i n a sequence: Race/Ambush/Race. The point of transition between the two scenes i s invisible, for the description of the horses and riders glimpsed over a hedge is common to both incidents. The text i s clearly s t i l l concerned with the race-course in the phrase "l'embranchement du huit", though the term "embranchement" in i t s general meaning of a branching-off or a junction signals or some might say, produces the narrative switch that follows. With the reference to the "chemin creux" seven lines below, the attentive reader realizes that another scene-has, superimposed i t s e l f and this i s immediately confirmed by the image of de Reixach at the head of his column. Though the hedge forms a visual link between them, there i s nothing i n the narrative to provide a r e a l i s t i c motivation for the switch from the f i r s t scene (recount-ed by Iglesia but transfigured i n Georges' mind) to the second (witnessed by Georges himself). It i s evident that this interweaving of the two incidents at the very centre of the novel, i s significant. They represent the double defeat of de Reixach as jockey and commander, which, linked with the narrator's speculations on his failure as a husband, provides evidence for the l i k e l i -hood of his death being in the nature of a suicide. Thus this particular narrative switch,and the superimposition of the two different times and incidents that i t permits, has a clear thematic function. The parallel 84 between these two rides towards defeat i s a l l the more subtle and effective for not being e x p l i c i t l y stated but for being instead rendered in a concrete, l i t e r a l manner. The fact that for six lines or more, the words of the text could apply equally to either the race or the ambush, creates the possibility of a simultaneous dual vision of de Reixach, just as the combining of full-face and profile in a Cubist portrait allows the simultaneous perception of different aspects of the subject. The superimposition of different elements in this way i s one of the most original and important features of the composition of La Route des Flandres.* The procedure that makes this possible — the unannounced switch to another narrative element — i s as unorthodox as i t i s characteristic of this novel and clearly fragments the narrative, despite the deceptive continuity of the text. Not only i s narrative sequence disrupted by the switch, though in a manner the reader has by now become accustomed to, since i t has already occurred many times i n the course of the novel, but the passage also switches- without warning from the third person ("pouvant voir comme s ' i l n'en avait Ste qu'a quelques metres") to f i r s t person ("je pouvais les voir"). Such switches between f i r s t and third person, with no change of perspective, are an additional source of discontinuity. The passage typifies the narrative pattern that characterizes La Route: the interruption of a narrative sequence and the branching-off into a new sequence which may then temporarily become the principal one, un t i l i t i n turn i s interrupted, either by the resumption of the original or by the *Lucien Dallenbach suggests the term "chevauchement" (overlapping) i n preference to "superimposition".5 But I have preferred to retain "super-imposition" i n order to emphasize that this i s what takes place, even though i t i s only momentary. 85 switch to yet another sequence. This process continues throughout the book, occurring well over a hundred times in the course of three hundred or so pages. The term "embranchement" could provide a not inappropriate name for the procedure and the figure of eight oftthe race-course i s a perfect structural image of the narrative loop that the text i s about to take here before returning again via the junction of the eight to complete the previous loop's* Such interruptions cannot be-assimilated to the flashbacks and digressions of conventional narrative. They represent something radically different. For flashback implies an otherwise chronological order, just as digression supposes a main narrative thread, but there i s neither chronological order nor main narrative thread i n La Route. The movement of ; the narrative i s not a linear progression i n which each new incident forms a link i n a temporal chain, but, rather, a mobile system of returns and repetitions, a turning i n endless circles l i k e the wanderings of the survi-vors after the massacre of the squadron. There are no aids to the reader in this passage, other than those available through close and retentive reading. The novelist no longer feels the need to explain and justify the disconnectedness of such a nar-rative as we saw him do with some awkwardness in Le Vent. It i s now the *Gerard Roubichou uses the expression "bifurcation temporelle", particularly apt because of the link he suggests with "biffure" (erasure), which i s what the new sequence performs with respect to the previous one.6 Lanceraux and others have used the term "aiguillage"* which captures the abrupt and deliberate nature of the switch. 86 reader's task to accomplish that piecing together of scattered fragments which the narrator saw himself asuundertaking i n Le Vent. It i s a process which perfectly illustrates Iser's view of the function of gaps in a text. The abrupt breaks i n the narrative of La Route demand a far greater atten-tiveness on the part of the reader than usual. In so doing, they contribute to forming a reader who seeks for connections between the fragmented sequences and who may thereby realize as much of the text's potential as possible. Types of transition The switch from the narration of the steeplechase to that of the ambush, i s made imperceptibly by means of the image of horses and riders above a hedge, that i s common to both of them. While this i s perhaps the most characteristic oftthe montage techniques of La Route — the overlapping of two sequences by means of a common element — i t i s by no means the only kind of transitional procedure to be found in the novel. There are unconcealed breaks as well as disguised ones, abrupt switches as well as gradual transitions, some that are r e a l i s t i c a l l y motivated and others that deliberately undermine the realism of the narration. The relation between the two sequences thus juxtaposed i s naturally affected by the mode of juxtaposition, although quite varied means may produce similar effects. Jean Ricardou, in his early a r t i c l e "Un ordre dans l a debacle", was one of the f i r s t to note the role of puns and other forms of verbal association in bringing about narrative switches. Other commentators have looked at other devices: Gerard Roubichou, for example, has dealt with the role of the parenthesis in permitting a bifurcation of the 87 narrative.' But so far there has been no systematic analysis of the techniques of montage in La Route. Perhaps this represents a more general gap, as has been suggested by a c r i t i c writing of spatial form in the novel: We have no exhaustive, systematic discussion of the types of linkages used to join juxtaposed fragments i n spatial form narratives . . . . and we know very l i t t l e about the perceptual demands of these different kinds of linkages.** The point of such a study would not simply be to catalogue techniques, but to reach a better understanding of the ways in which meaning is produced through juxtaposition, the effects created by different types of "linkage" or transition, and their influence upon the process of reading i t s e l f . This chapter i s an attempt to provide such an analysis of the linkage of fragments in La Route, which, for both the variety and the originality of the effects i t achieves, amply repays close examination. The transitional procedures of La Route f a l l into three general categories which are unevenly distributed throughout the book. There are f i r s t of a l l the transitions of a more or less r e a l i s t i c or conventional kind, which naturally tend to predominate in the f i r s t part of the book. They are of two types. On the one hand are those which appear to derive from psychological processes: the wandering of Georges* memory or imagination, or the natural incoherence induced by certain mental or physical states. On the other hand, are the transitions which constitute a conventional alternation between an oral narration and the description of the time and circumstances in which i t i s taking place. The apparent realism of both kinds may prove deceptive, however, as we shall see. Then, there are a large number of narrative switches which cannot i n any way be accounted for r e a l i s t i c a l l y , but which,-onfcthe contrary, represent what Ricardou has called " l a discoherence", a deliberate non-coherence. , 88 The internal contradictions or inconsistencies that mark certain transitions cannot be attributed, as in a stream of consciousness novel, to the incoherence of memory or other mental processes, but resist a l l such attempts to assimilate them to a psychologically r e a l i s t i c mechanism. They serve as a reminder that the novel i s a text, a verbal construction and not an imitation of consciousness. Ricardou himself, however, seems to feel that "discoherence" i s less apparent in La Route than i n other novels of the central period: Dans l a plupart des livres de Simon, 1'incoherence apparente est toujours travaillee par des dispositifs articulaires qui tendent vers une coherence, mais cette coherence est elle-meme toujours travaillee par les manoeuvres de l a discoherence. Seulement, les rapports des trois activites se transforment. Dans La Route des  Flandres. par exemple, le rapport incoherence-coherence domine s i bien que l a discoherence reste un peu en sourdine.9 While this certainly seems the case i n the i n i t i a l readings when most readers are inclined to attribute the incoherence of the narrative to the workings of Georges' memory, with an ultimate coherence thus in sight, the "manoeuvres de l a discoherence" become more and more apparent as one examines the structure of the narrative,and influence one's reading of the rest of the text. Under the heading of "discoherence" can be placed switches introduced by an adverb of time that deceptively promises continuity; those that are temporarily concealed by the use of an indeterminate pronoun; and some of the transitions effected by means of a parenthesis that effaces the sequence which contained i t . But one of the deepest sources of "discoherence" i s to be found in the use of the three frames: many of the switches between the three frames or times of narration are, as we shall see, simply incompatible with a coherent temporality. Finally, there are the transitions brought about by the mechanisms 89 of association, whether through analogous images, sensations or incidents, or through purely verbal means — p u n s , repetition of sounds, and so forth. These could be classed as r e a l i s t or non-realist, depending on whether they are attributed to Georges' consciousness, or viewed as purely verbal phen-omena arising out of the text i t s e l f . They constitute the largest single group, accounting for nearly a third of a l l the transitions in the novel. They predominate, however, in the third part of the book, which differs somewhat from the other two in composition, being noticeably more fragmented, made up largely of brief interwoven fragments rather than the longer sequences of the other two parts. The predominance of associatidnal transitions in number does not therefore mean that they are the most characteristic of the novel as a whole. The approximate numbers of the various transitional devices are as follows: Transitions based on psychological states or processes 18 Alternation of frame and narration 27 Misleading adverbs and conjunctions 15 Indeterminate pronouns 3 Extended parentheses 10 Association 33 But such a l i s t does not really convey an accurate idea of their relative importance, since that i s also affected by their additional use within sequences to produce minor digressions or shifts of focus, as well as by their impact on the reader and the significance of the effects they produce, which are impossible to measure in quantitative terms. A l l the transitional devices, whether r e a l i s t i c or non-realistic, produce in the reader an alertness to the possible meaning of the breaks 90 in the narrative and the relations between the elements thus juxtaposed, because each in some way departs from the expected, thereby heightening the reader's awareness of the transitional process and the composition of the work, instead of l u l l i n g i t with the familiarity of conventional con-nectives . i . Transitions based on psychological states or processes The switch from the narration of the race to that of the ambush, infringes the norms of coherence and continuity that the reader is accus-tomed to expect from conventional narrative. But not a l l of the narrative switches in La Route are as completely disorienting. The majority of such transitions occur i n the second half of the book by which time the reader has become attuned to i t s non-chronological narration and familiar enough with i t s f i c t i o n a l elements to make identifications and connections. In the early part of the novel, the switches tend to be of a less obviously unorthodox character, though this appearance may be deceptive. The opening pages (9-20), which constitute a kind of overture to the work, consist: of an interior monologue, marked by digressions followed by a return to a central preoccupation — the figure of de Reixach. The digressions, produced by the mechanisms of free association and j u s t i f i e d by the rambling tendency of memory, are natural in the context of interior monologue. They present no d i f f i c u l t y for the reader familiar with stream of consciousness f i c t i o n and i t s conventions — the beginning in medias res. the use of pronouns instead of names, the presence of private impli-cations and associations, the movement between different periods of time, a certain incoherence, a l l of which mark these f i r s t pages. The i n i t i a l transitions, abrupt but natural, prepare the way for the fragmentation of 91 the narrative that is to come. The f i r s t switch, from the opening scene (Reixach and Georges at the "cantonnement") to the next (the f i n a l ride towards the sniper), occurs quite naturally, as the narrator's mind moves from considering Reixach's traditional reflexes to an example of them: . . . . comme par exemple ce reflexe qu'il a eu de t i r e r son sabre quand cette rafale l u i est partie dans le nez de derriere l a haie: un moment j ' a i pu le voir ainsi . . . . (p. 12) Although the introduction of a new episode after a colon i s perhaps unorthodox, the narrative progression i s so spontaneous that this can hardly be considered a narrative switch of the kind described earlier, from one sequence to another. The now notorious transition on the following page-*— . . . . sur l'acier virginal . . . . Seulement, vierge, i l y avait belle lurette qu'elle ne l ' e t a i t plus . . . . (p. 13) is not a switch to a new sequence but simply a digression. While i t i s generally seen as an example of the productivity of the text, the power of the interior monologue is such at this point that i t is easily a t t r i -butable to the free association of the narrator, whose ironic wit and somewhat cynical tone are already beginning to establish themselves in the reader's mind. The next break, a clear switch to another sequence this time, i s also natural enough within the context of interior monologue. Speculating on what the topic of conversation between captain and lieutenant may have been as they rode unwittingly towards the sniper's bullets, Georges imagines them conversing of hunting and racing. The word "courses" provokes an evocation of an elegant race-course. The transition i s clearly indicated by the phrase "Et i l me semblait y etre, voir cela" (p. 19), which evokes 92 the narrator's tendency to visualize as a r e a l i s t i c j u s t i f i c a t i o n for the switch. There is an ambiguity about the tense, however, as Dominique Lanceraux has noted.^Is the visualization taking place i n the present of narration, or at the time narrated? The use of the imperfect seems to lead away from the present of narration into an uncertain moment of the past. This is one of the f i r s t hints of the novel's deliberately non-coherent temporality. Similar phrases are used to introduce four more narrative switches, a l l of them significantly in the f i r s t part of the novel: Et de nouveau i l me semblait voir cela (p. 22) Et cherchant (Georges) a imaginer cela (p. 48) i l l u i semblait toujours voir (p. 72) i l l u i sembla qu'il le voyait reellement (p. 79) Only once in the rest of the novel i s a break thus motivated by direct allusion to Georges' mind wandering,, (p. 230). In the same category, however, f a l l those switches introduced by direct reference to Georges' train of thought: pensant a son'pere (p.33)/ et je me demandais (p."33) je pensais qu'il.1*avait tenue (p. 261) je me rappelle (p. 261) pensant que c'etait cela qu'il aurait du l u i dire (p. 243) But such explicit indications are rare. Twice, attention is drawn to a switch that has already taken place, when Blum points out that Georges is confusing two different incidents or people: Et Blum: "Mais qu'est-ce que tu racontes? Premiere fois que je vols un type mettre deux semaines a sortir d'une cuite . . . . " Et Georges s'arretant pile de parler, le regardant avec une:sorte d'incredule perplexite . . . . et Blum disant: "Ce n'etait pas du genievre, pas cette-fois l a " . . . . (pp. 125^126) Here there i s a superimposition of two different occasions: drinking with 93 Blum during the autumn manoeuvres and drinking with Iglesia after Reixach's death. On another occasion, Blum interrupts'Georges when he has passed imperceptibly from talking about the ancestor to talking about his descen-dant (p. 228). In both cases, Georges' confusion i s invoked to justify a narrative switch, but the procedure is only superficially r e a l i s t i c and does not bear too deep an analysis. Blum's intervention calls attention to the switch so that the reader may be f u l l y aware of the superimposition and i t s thematic significance. The same i s true of the various transitions through sleep, whose apparent realism i s deceptive. In several of the major episodes (the ride through the rain during autumn manoeuvres, the wandering after the ambush), Georges is i n a state of exhaustion from lack of sleep, which causes him to doze momentarily or, on a r r i v a l , (the barn, the friendly civ i l i a n ' s house), to f a l l into a deep slumber. In two of the narrative frames ass well (the train of prisoners, the night with Corinne), Georges d r i f t s between sleep and waking. Lying in bed with Corinne in the darkness, Georges, lik e the sleeper i n Combray: . . . . tient en cercle autour de l u i le f i l des heures, l'ordre des annees et des mondes . . . . In the f i n a l pages of the novel, the narrator "luttant pour ne pas ceder au sommeil" wonders i f he has dreamed the whole story: Mais l ' a i - j e vraiment vu ou cru le voir ou tout simplement imagine apres coup ou encore reve, peut-retre dormais-je n 1 avals-je jamais cesse de dormir les yeux grands ouverts en plein jour . . . . (p. 31A) and thus the entire narrative i s placed i n the unreal world of sleep and dreams. These states of semi-consciousness are exploited to provide transitions to another period of the narrative.^The text can move from Georges f a l l i n g 94 asleep beneath. Corinne's body to his waking half s t i f l e d i n the cramped and airless space of the cattle-truck of prisoners, six years earlier, as though he might be dreaming himself back in the past after describing i t to her. But the passage that follows i s narrative and has none of the qualities of a dream or recollection. Georges' f a l l i n g asleep has merely been the pretext for a narrative switch and not a psychologically r e a l i s t i c cause. The same lack of vraisemblance i s true to an even greater degree of the other instances. Georges may f a l l asleep in one period to waken in what i s , relative to that period, the future, as when he f a l l s asleep in the barn and the narrative switches to him lying awake beside Corinne after the war. The fact that the barn sequence is then resumed as direct oral narration (Georges now recounting i t to Corinne) does not lessen the temporal incoherence of the switch, since there had been nothing in the f i r s t part of the barn scene to indicate that i t was being remembered or recounted later. It reads as autonomous narrative. Sleep (and sexual desire) provides an analogous sensation or situation to link these two sequences, but i t i s not one to be taken l i t e r a l l y . It does not serve as a r e a l i s t i c cause of transitions from a present of remembering to a remembered past but rather as a parallel or analogy for the abrupt, atemporal progression of the narrative: . . . . i l n'y avait aucun l i e n dans son rScit entre les differents episodes ou plutot tableaux qu'il evoquait, comme dans ces reves ou l'on passe subitement d'un endroit a l'autre, d'une situation a l'autre sans transition . . . . Le Vent, p. 83 In the second part of the book, as Lanceraux has pointed out, drunkenness offers a similar analogy for the incoherence of the narrative and i t s abrupt transitions: 95 . . . . l'ivresse du personnage annonce clairement celle qui s'empare de l'ecriture . . . . 12 But here too, though the text may mimic the rambling disconnected speech of intoxication (pp. 117-118, 121-125), there i s a problem of temporality, for i t i s actually several weeks later when Georges, completely sober, is decribing the incident to Blum. The drunkenness belongs i n the period narrated, yet i t i s manifesting i t s e l f at the time of narration, a temporal contradiction that can only be understood in terms of "discoherence". The other emotional or physical state to provide a major source of transitions i s , as every commentator has noted, that of erotic excitement. This i s particularly marked in the third part of the book where the night with Corinne provides the narrative frame, but i t is present throughout the entire narrative. The transitions operated by erotic associations are, interestingly enough, the most psychologically r e a l i s t i c . Perhaps this derives from the fact that sexual preoccupations, conscious or other-wise, frequently translate themselves into verbal ambiguities, from the sli p to the double entendre. as Freud has made us a l l aware,and thus are naturally related to the verbal mechanisms that generate a text. Or perhaps i t i s because a subject of such obvious power for the novelist, as each of his books testify, resists the kind of subversive attack that strips the novel of i t s r e a l i s t i l l u s i o n . Thus, the transitions through erotic association, as we shall see later, are the ones that would most support the placing of La Route des Flandres i n the stream of consciousness tradition. Apart from the erotic transitions, however, i t i s evident that many of the other transitional devices which are linked to Georges' mental or physical state, and which therefore might appear to be r e a l i s t i c , do not always stand up to careful analysis. They serve as signals that a switch 96 i s taking place, or as an analogy for the mode of transition, rather than as i t s cause. Quite often, therefore, they contribute as much to the under-mining of narrative or temporal coherence as do the more obviously non-r e a l i s t i c transitions. i i . The alternation of frame and narration Alternation between a direct oral narration and a narrative of the circumstances in which i t is taking place, i s a classic procedure: in Wuthering Heights, for example, Nelly Dean pauses in her tale to make up the f i r e or bid goodnight to her listener, Lockwood, who may then add his own story of a further encounter with his surly landlord Heathcliff. Many of the narrative transitions i n La Route mark a similar alternation of narration and frame, particularly i n the second part of the book, in which a considerable amount of the narrative consists of direct oral narration or dialogue i n the setting of the prisoner-of-war camp, where Georges, Blum and Iglesia reminisce over the past or embroider fantasies to obliterate the present. The apparent realism of such annarrational mode i s in fact always highly questionable, as the f i r s t narrator of another "frame" novel, Manon Lescaut, only emphasises when he claims to have written down Des Grieux' story immediately after hearing i t . Perhaps the invention of the tape-recorder has f i n a l l y imparted plausibility to the convention^ as in such works (fictional or otherwise) as Oscar Lewis' Children of Sanchez. In La Route, however, any appearance of realism i t possesses i s rapidly undermined by the proliferation of frames. Nowhere are the "manoeuvres de l a discoherence">-more subtly effective than in the relation between frame and narration, which i s constantly undermined, f i r s t by the shifts between the three frames and then by the 97 instability of the narrational mode. The text moves from direct interior monologue (je), to indirect interior monologue ( i l ) , to oral narration or dialogue ("je"), each of which in turn, may abruptly revert to one of 13 the other modes. The whole narrational process i s inherently unstable in La Route, shifting between different modes and different times of nar-ration without attempting to reconcile them r e a l i s t i c a l l y but, on the contrary, leaving their incompatibility apparent. Thus, in the f i r s t part of the novel, the status of the i n i t i a l interior monologue (pp. 9-20) is suddenly thrown into doubt by the introduc-tion of an interlocutor not previously posited by the text: "Ouais! . . . ." f i t Blum (maintenant nous etions couches dans le noir . . . . (p. 20) Delayed presentation of the circumstances of narration i s a conventional device, but here Blum's interjection carries the implication that the preceding pages have been oral narration rather than the interior monologue they appeared to be. The dialogue that follows, however, reverts naturally enough to inner monologue with the phrase "Et de nouveau i l me semblait voir cela" on the following page (p. 22). But the reader's i n i t i a l assumptions about the nature of the narrative are even more rudely jolted a few pages later, when, in mid-sentence, the narration switches from the f i r s t person of direct interior monologue (See dut etre par l a que je le vis pour l a premiere fois") to the third person of indirect interior monologue ("Georges se demandant sans exactement se le demander"). These disorienting moves are the f i r s t of many. When, some twenty pages later (p. 42), a different time and different circumstances of narration are posited by the appearance ofaa new interlocutor, an unnamed woman, i n a period that i s clearly later than the f i r s t , the status of the narration 98 becomes even more confused. The text returns twice to the f i r s t frame, the train with Blum (pp. 70-77, 97-100), and twice to the second, the hotel room and the s t i l l anonymous woman (pp. 93, 95-97), continuing to tease the reader with the expectation of a r e a l i s t i c solution to the narrational enigma, u n t i l , at the end of the f i r s t part of the book, each apparent frame is thrown into doubt: Ce n'etait pas a son pere qu'il voulait parler. Ce n'etait meme pas a l a femme couchee invisible a cote de l u i , ce n'etait peut-etre meme pas a. Blum qu'il etait en train.d'expliquer en chuchotant dans le noir que s i le s o l e i l ne s'etait pas cache l i s auraient su de quel cote marchaient leurs ombres: maintenant l i s ne chevauchaient plus dans l a verte campagne . . . . (p. 100) What is most disorienting here is not the uncertainty as to the inter-locutor, but the fact that each frame is presented as simultaneous with the others, a temporal confusion which i s compounded by the "maintenant" that paradoxically introduces a return to the past. What i t does, obviously, is to assert a textual present, a "now" of narrational sequence, that has nothing to do with represented time. At this point, l t becomes clear to the reader that the narrative cannot be assimilated to a r e a l i s t i c framework, that there is going to be no one stable locus of narration, but instead these shifting frames, each of which i n turn eclipses the others, only to be eclipsed i t s e l f . When the text returns to an oral narration, i n the context of yet another frame (the prisoner-of-war camp), introduced as abruptly as i t s predecessors, the resulting confusion of time and place resembles that of Georges after Reixach's death, so that his words apply both to his own state and that of the narrative: . . . . je ne savais plus tres bien ou j'Stais n i quand c'etait n i ce qui se passait . . . . (p. 117) While the presence of three distinct frames i s already confusing enough by it s e l f to create a certain "discoherence", i t i s the shifts between them 99 that most effectively subvert re a l i s t logic. A passage of oral narration may begin in one frame, for instance, but end apparently in another, as with Blum's account of his background, which begins i n the camp (p. 284) but finishes in the barn (p. 287), at least a year earlier. Similarly, though less incoherently, Georges' narration of the events leading up to Reixach's death begins i n the camp with Blum as audience and ends — with only suspension points and a new line to mark the switch — in the scene where Georges meets Corinne (p. 229). Thus there is a continuity of subject but a discontinuity of frame. The reverse procedure i s to be found i n parts of the text where there i s continuity of frame but discon-tinuity of subject. This i s the case in the race/ambush/narrative, which starts as oral narration with Iglesia speaking (p. 143), noves into a v i s -ualization of the scene by Georges (indirect interior monologue), switches abruptly to his recollection of the ambush (direct inner monologue), before returning eventually to Georges' visualization of the race and thence to the dialogue between the three men (p. 182). This kind of narrational d r i f t , not only from one mode to another, but from one subject to the other, constantly carries the narrative away from i t s original source, undermining the realism of the frame construction. The confusion created by the shifts between the three frames i s exacerbated by the parallel (though not simultaneous) shifts between interior monologue and oral narration, the switches from 'je' to ' i l ' to "je" (see Figure 2 on the next page). It i s not that such switches are inherently unrealistic or confusing. The transference from an i n i t i a l oral account, with the s t y l i s t i c limitations i t imposes, to the greater f l e x i b i l i t y of third person narrative i s conventionally acceptable. A combination of f i r s t and third"person i n the form-of d i r e c t i n t e r i o r monologue and omniscient ex-t e r n a l d e s c r i p t i o n can also be r e a l i s t i c , as the example of Ulysses shows':' the sequences centred on Leopold Bloom alternate between the two, a combination which l a r g e l y contributes to the psychological realism Joyce',s p o r t r a y a l of Bloom. j e " j e " i l 1 -10 12.-17 • • y 1 w-47 i / » / \ V V 161 1*5- IU, * \ ' N 7 \ / I ' X ' N ' • V « •' V • 105- ill- IW- I65 U>1- 0 1 4 -H I » I2J M l . 1T2. 2 , 5 1 • f>«f \ ; \ / \ i \ vn-in j e " j e " i l Part I Part II Part I I I PRONOMINAL SWITCHES IN LA ROUTE DES FLANDRES Any apparent discrepancies i n page numbers are due either to the blank pages between the three parts, or to the fact that i n certain sections of the text no p r o n o i m i s i n use and the narration i s momentarily indeterminate. 101 - But Joyce uses the two consistently, so that the reader accepts the convention and eventually becomes unaware of i t (the secret of a l l realism), whereas in La Route the alternation of f i r s t and third person is deliberately disorienting. Many of the changes of pronoun come in mid-sequence, mid-sentence even, lik e the f i r s t one. Sometimes they accompany a transition from one sequence to another, as in the switch from race to ambush and back again, but often they do not. These switches cannot be satisfactorily explained in psychological terms, as some c r i t i c s 14 have attempted, suggesting that Georges sees himself i n the past from the outside and therefore uses the third person. For i n fact, third person occurs in the sequences relating the present as well (pp. 42 and 93 for instance), while f i r s t person is also used i n some of the past sequences, such as the account of Georges' escape from the ambush. It i s this lack of consistency i n the use of f i r s t and third person, the absence of any procedure that would account for the switches or integrate them r e a l i s t i c a l l y with the movement of the narrative, that put them among the "manoeuvres de l a discoherence", and not the alternation i n i t s e l f , as the example of Ulysses shows. But i t i s not merely with the aim of disorienting the reader that the novel alternates between f i r s t and third person, since there are obvious advantages i n the combination that amply explain i t . What i t permits is a s t y l i s t i c richness that would be limited by the use of f i r s t or third person alone. The passages of direct oral narration are i n a vivid colloquial style which renders the prevailing speech and tone of the group of soldiers and conveys the "jeune chien" aspect of Georges. The passages of direct interior monologue render the flow of Georges' thoughts i n a style that is partly colloquial s t i l l but more imagistic, 102 more l y r i c a l and impressionistic. The indirect interior monologue of the third person sequences allows a richer, more complex language than would seem appropriate for the speech of a young soldier in the rough world of war and imprisonment, though occasionally the oral passages become quite highflown, as the following exchange seems to wryly acknowledge: Et Blum: "Mais tu paries comme un l i v r e ! . . . ." Et Georges relevant l a cite, le regardant un moment perplexe, interdit, et a l a f i n haussant les epaules disant: VC'est vrai. Excuse-moi. Une habitude, une tare hereditaire. Mon p&re a absolument tenu a ce que je me fasse recaler a Normale. (p. 222) The passages in the third person are more descriptive and meditative, in a more ample and rhetorical vein. While certain basic s t y l i s t i c patterns (the present particples, for instance), common to a l l three modes give them an underlying unity, the combination permits an exceptionally rich and varied verbal texture. The narrative procedures of La Route are not inherently unrealistic i n themselves, since a l l realism depends on a r t i f i c e and the acceptance of i t s narrative conventions: what could be less vraisemblable. for instance, than the supposition that we are within another consciousness? — and yet some of the greatest examples of psychological realism in the novel depend on our acceptance of that premise. It is the way in which the narrative procedures are used in La Route, rather than the procedures themselves, that creates "discoherence". The internal contradictions set up by the movement between different periods and frames, which the text draws attention to rather than concealing (and whose effect might be likened to that of the impossible perspective in the drawings of M.C. Escher), make i t impossible to see the novel as a representation of consciousness, or to interpret the movement between different times and incidents as that of memory. 103 Yet the effect of this deliberate non-coherence i s not totally anti-r e a l i s t . La Route does not subvert the r e a l i s t i l l u s i o n as the later novels do — Triptyque, for instance, in which each scene or episode eventually appears in one of the others as postcard* jigsaw, poster, or other i l l u s t r a t i o n , thereby destroying any i l l u s i o n of i t s "real" existence. The "discoherence" of La Route has a different effect upon the reading. The shifts between frames and modes draw attention to the narrational process i t s e l f : to the way in which experience is transformed i n the t e l l i n g , which is one of the book's central themes, dramatized by Georges and Blum's reconstructions of Reixach's and the ancestor's lives. Even more important, however, is the effect of the temporal confusion created by the three frames. "Je voudrais amener le lecteur a confondre son temps avec le mien," Simon declared to Claude Sarraute, after expressing his customary nostalgia for painting, in which a l l the elements of a composition can be grasped simultaneously.^What the non-coherent temporality of the narrative clearly.aims ,at is the undermining of the reader's grasp of the sequence of events, a necessary f i r s t step in producing that simul-taneous apprehension of a l l the novel's elements, towards which every aspect of i t s composition i s directed. i i i . Misleading adverbs and conjunctions Among the transitional procedures that contribute to the non-coherent temporality of the novel are those which use adverbs or conjunctions sugges-tive of continuity. Since the progression of episodes is not chronological, the suggestion of temporal continuity i s deliberately misleading, momentarily deceiving the reader u n t i l the fact that a different sequence has supervened becomes apparent and the reason for the sudden transition must be sought. 104 The transition i t s e l f , while temporarily concealed, i s ultimately high-lighted by such procedures. In a number of places, a new sequence is introduced by an adverb of time or a conjunction ("puis", "et", "alors") that suggests continuity where there is in fact a break, seems to indicate a return to the present ("maintenant", "a present") which is not taking place.* 6Thus, on page 29, for instance, the phrase "Puis i l cessa de se demander quoi que ce fut" seems to refer back to a phrase i n the preceding paragraph — "Georges se demandant comment l a guerre repandait" — but in fact the two occasions are months apart. The earlier paragraph describes a scene after the ambush, the follow-ing paragraph has moved back i n time to the period of autumn manoeuvres. But the use of "puis" and the repetition of "se demander" give a promise of continuity which the ambiguity of the succeeding description does not at f i r s t dispel. Here, as elsewhere, the effect i s double. F i r s t , there i s the shock to the reader's expectations of a r e a l i s t i c sequence, a shock that w i l l s t i l l probably be f e l t at this early stage in the narrative when the modes of transition and the discontinuity they produce are not yet familiar, especially since i n this case i t is a new episode (the autumn manoeuvres) that i s being brought into the text for the f i r s t time. Second, there is the thematic effect of the transition. The two episodes are temporarily superimposed, so that their similarity i s underlined: they fuse momentarily into the single image of the "chevauchee" that i s endlessly repeated through-out the book. Elsewhere, two contrasting scenes may be superimposed in this way, through the use of a misleading adverb. In the middle of a scene from the night with Corinne, on page 97, the phrase "puis tout a coup l ' a i r entra" (the adverb not even capitalized this time) marks a switch to the train of 105 prisoners, a scene which had been abandoned two pages earlier. Again, the continuity suggested by the adverb "puis" i s deceptive, but temporarily dissimulated by the ambiguity of the preceding description of s t i f l i n g beneath the weight of another body, which could refer to either situation. There i s an exact parallel to this transition in the third part of the novel, on page 293, when the narrative again switches from the night with Corinne to the train of prisoners, a switch which i s also introduced by the adverb "puis", misleddingly used after a comma to suggest continuity. What both the transitions achieve i s a superimposition of the two situations, so dramatically contrasting in some ways, yet with the common elements of tangled bodies, darkness, the view of the night sky through a small window and the sensation of s t i f l i n g , that permit their comparison. This i s clearly an instance of what Roger Shattuck calls Romantic juxtaposition, one based, that i s , on relations of contrast, shock or incongruity, rather than harmony or complementarity. The underlying significance of this unexpected superimposition of two such different episodes i s indicated by a passage where Georges feels himself and the other prisoners in the cattle-car reduced to a state of bestiality l i k e the victims of some enchantment: . . . . nous serions devenus sans nous en rendre compte quelque chose comme des betes, i l me semble que j ' a i lu quelque part une histoire comme 9 a , des types metamorphoses d'un coup de baguette en cochons ou en arbres ou en cailloux, le tout par le moyen de vers latins . . . . (p. 100) This state of being turned into an animal i s evoked again, though in a l y r i c a l vein, i n the scenes; of love-making with Corinne: . . . . je n'etais plus un homme mais un animal un chien plus qu'un hpmme une bete si. je pouvais y atteindre connaitre l'ane d'Apulee poussant sans treve en el l e . . . . (p. 292) The implicit allusions to a witch or enchantress like Circe, or the one 106 who turns Lucius Into an ass, add to the mythic aura of the female figures In the novel, who bind a l l the men under their spell. The repeated juxtaposition of the cattle-car and the love-making scenes i s thus highly s i g n i f i c a n t . ^ Some of the temporal adverbs that introduce new sequences merely serve to emphasize the discontinuity of the narrative by their deceptive promise of continuity. But others, as we have just seen, contribute to what may be called the "palimpsest" effect, that i s the superimposition of two different figures or scenes by means of a text ambiguous enough to be read doubly, which is one of the most important of the montage techniques of La Route. It can be achieved, as i n the case of the race/ambush sequence, through an image common to both episodes; or, as we have just seen, through a misleading suggestion of continuity. Not only adverbs and conjunctions but, as we are about to see, pronouns, too, can dissimulate a change of sequence beneath an appearance of continuity. Though less common, they produce even more striking superimpositions. iv. Transition by means of indeterminate pronouns Among the innovative s t y l i s t i c devices that Ricardou attributed to Simon at the Cerisy Colloquium was "1'indetermination des pronoms qui 18 permet d'accomplir ce qu'on peut appeler une rotation des substitues". There are many indeterminate pronouns within sequences, most notably the ambiguous " e l l e " that refers to both Corinne and the "alezane" owned by 19 Reixach and ridden by Iglesia. But there are also several instances where an ambiguous pronoun i s the pivotal element that permits transition between sequences, and an accompanying superimposition of two scenes of characters. The f i r s t of these follows from Georges' evocation of the ancestor's 107 suicide, which has taken the form of an eighteenth century print. The description has centred on the naked body and the penis, with no mention of the head or face. Thus when the following paragraph begins with speculation as to fa c i a l expression: "Et je me demandais s ' l l avait alors l u i aussi cet a i r etonne vaguement offusque le visage d'idiot de Wack quand i l avait etS arrache de son cheval gisant mort l a tete en bas me regardant de ses yeux grands ouverts l a bouche grande ouverte sur le revers du talus . . . . (p. 88) the natural tendency, given our longstanding expectations of narrative continuity and coherence, as well as the assumption that a pronoun w i l l refer back to the most recent plausible noun, i s to read the " i l " as referring to the ancestor. And indeed everything that Georges goes on to say could apply to him as well as to de Reixach who i s the "real" subject of the passage: . . . . alors peut-etre son visage exprimait-il cette espece de surprise de reprobation mais son visage seulement parce que je suppose qu'en ce qui concernait son esprit i l devait y avoir longtemps qu'il avait franchi le seuil au-dela duquel plus rien ne pouvait le surprendre ou le decevoir apres l a perte de ses dernieres illusions dans le sauve-qui-peut d'un desastre . . . . (p. 89) There are, i n fact, two indications which serve as a reminder that the ancestor's suicide has merely constituted a long digression and that the text i s now reverting to an earlier narrative focus. These indications in order of appearance (though not necessarily of impact on the reader) are, f i r s t , punctuation (suspension points marking the interruption of the ancestor sequence at the end of the paragraph, immediately followed by inverted commas marking the resumption of oral narration at the beginning of the next paragraph) and, second, the reversion to a f i r s t person narration. The new paragraph, i n fact, marks a return to the interrupted narrative of page 79, after a nine page interval. But i t is not lik e l y that the reader w i l l immediately leaf back over nine pages to discover this and moreover, 108 the continuity of the text, which has been leading up to a description of the ancestor's face, i s clearly intended to carry the reader on and permit the ambiguity of the succeeding paragraph. So despite the indications that the true referent of the pronoun " i l " i s de Reixach, the effect i s ambiguous and clearly intended to be so. The process of superimposition here, as Lucien Dallenbach pointed out in his extremely interesting presentation at Cerisy, resembles the dream phenomenon which Freud called condensation, in which a dream figure can be simultaneously two different people because of common elements in the 20 dreamer's perception of them. Freud compared this to the family portraits of the photographer Galton, who used multiple exposure as a means of revealing family likenesses, a technique that reminds Dallenbach of the portraits in La Route in which Reixach's ancestors "se confondaient, se superposaient dans l a bitumeuse et ombreuse profondeur". The superimposition of one Reixach upon the other i n the text through the indeterminate pronouns or other devices i s clearly related to the doubling of the narrator i n certain sequences of Histoire. Both, as we shall see i n a later chapter, are an expression of the theme of inheritance, of family patterns tragically repeating themselves, which runs through a l l the novels of the central period. In the passage we have just examined, the indeterminacy of the pronoun is exploited for this and additional thematic purposes: f i r s t to show the fusing of the two figures, ancestor and descendant, in Georges' imagination and the resultant influence on his reconstruction of both their lives and deaths, and second, as a means of expressing the theme of the eternal repetitions of history, which underlies many of the juxtapositions of the two Reixachs: 109 . . . . les Espagnols les avaient rosses a cette bataille ou Reixach commandait, et alors i l s durent battre en retraite par toutes les routes qui descendaient des Pyrenees, c'est-a-dire, je suppose, de vagues chemins. Mais routes ou chemins c'est toujours l a meme chose: des fosses bordes de morts, des chevaux creves, des camions brules et des canons abandonnes . . . . (pp. 215-216) The theme of history as an unending repetition of war and invasion is one that runs through a l l the novels of the central period culminating i n His- toire. where the f i n a l i l l u s t r a t i o n intthe child's history text i s an aerial photograph of a battle-field, which the narrator ironically describes as the goal, the apotheosis, of a l l the preceding chapters and il l u s t r a t i o n s . Another such clandestine transition from one Reixach to the other occurs later in the novel, when Georges imagines the ancestor's retreat from Spain, only to project onto i t his own memories of retreat after the ambush of the squadron (pp. 225-228). Again the description at mid-point could apply to either, though the incident of the lost soldier seeking to attach himself to the captain happened specifically after the ambush, as the following page makes clear and as an earlier allusion on page 47 has indicated, though not in such a way that the first-time reader would recognize i t when i t reappears. Blum's interruption ("Mais qu'est-ce que tu . . . . ") underlines the superimposition of one figure on the other, which has of course been facili t a t e d not only by the indeterminate reference of the pronoun, but equally by the common name. A f i n a l instance i s to be found towards the end of the novel, though here i t is i n their capacity as betrayed husbands that Reixach and the ancestor are presented as doubles.* In this case, the superimpositions are multiple. The text moves f i r s t from the description of de Reixach after *A similar parallel i s created on page 289 between the ancestor and the "pay-san boiteux" (also presumed to have cause for jealousy) again by means of an indeterminate pronoun. 110 the ambush, conversing with the lieutenant, apparently unconcerned as they ride unwittingly towards the sniper, to the ancestor riding home after the Spanish defeat and also perhaps hoping to find death at the hands of a sniper, with the phrase "magnifique cible" in the middle of the passage providing a pivot for the transition. As the passage continues, with speculation about the ancestor's discovery of his wife's i n f i d e l i t y providing the immediate motive for his suicide, i t moves by means of pronouns back to de Reixach and Corinne: . . . . peut-etre fut-ce seulement en arrivant qu ' i l trouva quelque chose comme une preuve comme par exemple ce palefrenier cachedans le placard, quelque chose qui le decida, l u i demontrant• de facon irrefutable ce qu'il se refusait a croire ou peut-etre ce que son honneur l u i interdisait de voir, cela meme qui s'etalait devant ses yeux puisque Iglesia lui-tmeme disait q u ' i l avait toujours f a i t semblant de ne s'apercevoir de rien . . . . (pp. 312-313) While the "palefrenier" belongs indisputably to the story of the ancestor and Iglesia to that of de Reixach, the three lines in between could refer to either because of the indeterminate reference of the pronouns. Thus, once again, we have a double text that can be read i n two ways. In each of the three instances, the indeterminacy of the pronouns permits the creation of a palimpsest by means of which two stories are being told simultaneously, giving the reader a dual vision of de Reixach and the ancestor. The indeterminate pronouns provide not so much a con-cealed transition to a new sequence, as an intermediate sequence in an overlapping of the two that is very characteristic of the novel's composition. This too, belongs among the procedures of "discoherence", because while indeterminate pronouns are typical of unspoken thought (the mind not needing to name or identify for i t s e l f that which i t knows perfectly well) and are therefore used as a device of interior monologue, i t i s clear from the examples we have seen, that Simon's use of them here is not i n imitation I l l of mental processes but carefully contrived to manipulate the reading of the text and produce the palimpsest effect we have observed. v. Sequences contained i n extended parentheses The parenthesis in Simon's writing may serve functions as contrary to established usage as the adverbs and pronouns we have:,been- examining. As Gerard Roubichou nicely puts i t — "le 'soit dit entre parentheses' est, ~ 21 chez Claude Simon, l o i n d'etre innocent". The parenthesis i n Simon's use of i t , he points out, far from constituting the brief interruption of the main narrative that i t i s i n orthodox usage, often opens a new narrative element of equal importance with the main one. The narrative i n this case can only be grasped i n i t s totality by the combination of main subject and parenthesis: were one to suppress the parenthesis, the narrative would not properly exist: II s'est done produit un renversement dans les rapports des constituants traditionnels de la phrase: au lieu de representer des excroissances parasitaires, les parentheses sont devenues le centre de l a phrase — non seulement par leur importance quantitative, mais aussi par leur fonction dans l a constitution du recit.^1 By i t s length'and complexity, especially when there are parentheses within parentheses or connected chains of them, the parenthesis i n Simon's writing of the central period significantly affects the development of the main narrative phrase. Parentheses in Simonian usage almost always have a fragmenting effect on both the syntax and the content of the text i n which they occur. The d r i f t they provoke by their proliferation of comparisons, alternatives, qualifications, explanations or ironic comments not only destroys the unity of the narrative but may also divert i t s course. Some parentheses i n La Route are extended enough to constitute a separate sequence. Certain episodes are i n fact narrated almost entirely 112 within parentheses. There are thus parentheses which fragment the text not just on the minor level within sequences but also on the major level of the progression of sequences, permitting, in Roubichou's words, "une bifurcation temporelle", one which is long enough to become "biffure" as well, effectively erasing the previous sequence. There are about ten of these in the course of the novel, with a particular function to perform (pp. 20-21, 42-43, 93-95, 118-121, 135 x 2, 183-184, 216-222, 265-269, 270-275). The parenthesis must therefore be considered among the other techniques of montage i n La Route when i t introduces a separate sequence instead of a mere digression. The role of the f i r s t three parentheses of this type is to present each of the three narrative frames: 1. p. 20 (maintenant nous etions couches dans le noir . . . . ) 2. p. 42 ( i l ne dormait pas, se tenait parfaitement immobile, 1 . . . ) 3. p. 118 (le bras de Georges decrivant un demi-cercle . . . . ) Thus the train of prisoners, the night with Corinne and the prison camp make their f i r s t appearance in the text in parenthesisv* To a certain extent, this might be seen to represent a concession to narrative convention, since putting the frame into parenthesis is a way of subordinating i t to the narrative proper, keeping the narration and the description of i t s circumstances in an appropriate relation to one another. The apparent conventionality of the procedure i s soon undermined, however, because in their subsequent appearances the frames are no longer in parentheses and *The prison camp appears earlier than this, i n fact, on page 93, but simply as a recollection and not as a frame at this point, so the reference given denotes i t s f i r s t appearance as frame. 113 therefore the i n i t i a l distinction between frame and narration i s not main-tained. Nonetheless, the fact that the f i r s t appearance of each frame i s in parentheses i s undoubtedly an aid to the reader. The second frame, however, (the prisoner-of-war camp) is very substan-t i a l l y narrated within parentheses, from i t s i n i t i a l appearance in Part I throughout Part II, where i t i s the only frame. It alternates with a largely oral narration of other sequences, a narration that represents the prisoners' response to the privations of captivity: . . . . rassemblant et combinant tout ce qu'ils pouvaient trouver dans leur memoire en f a i t de connaissances vues, entendues ou lues, de facon — la,.au milieu des r a i l s mouilles et luisants, des wagons noirs, des pins detrempes et noirs, dans l a froide et blafarde journee d'un hiver saxon — a faire surgir les images chatoyantes et lumineuses au moyen de l'ephemere, 1'incantatoire magie duelangage, des mots inventus dans l'espoir de rendre comestible — comme ces pates vaguement sucrees sous lesquelles on dissimule aux enfants les medicaments amers — l'innommable realite . . . . (p. 184) Accounts of l i f e i n the camp are to be found, always i n parentheses, on pages, |'i8-121, 135 (a brief parenthesis of half a page, plus a second for which there seems to be no closure), 183-184 and 216-222. The only evocation of the camp that takes place out of parentheses i n the second part of the book, i n fact, i s that between pages 169-174. Thus, apart from the two brief returns to i t in the third part of the novel, virtu a l l y a l l the narration of the camp episode takes place in parentheses. The same i s not true of the other frames (the train, the night with Corinne), although their f i r s t appearance i n the text i s i n parentheses. The second part of the novel, i n which most of the camp scenes are located, i s also the s i t e of the elaboration of two of the three fictions that engage Georges and Blum's attention: the ancestor's suicide and de Reixach's l i f e with Corinne. Though these are distributed across the entire novel, their elaboration as f i c t i o n i s concentrated in the second part of the novel and interwoven 114 with the evocation of the camp where i t is taking place. Thus, "reality" (the prisoners' l i f e ) i s confined to parentheses while "fantasy" occupies 23 the main narrative. The structure of this part of the novel i n i t s e l f symbolizes the psychological function of their fantasies: to blot out reality — des sons, du bruit pour conjurersle froid, les r a i l s , le c i e l l i v i d e , les sombres pins . . . . (p. 184) Thus the parentheses in the second part of the novel have a very specific role and significance. As for the remaining major parentheses, which occur in the third part of the book and mark a return to the autumn manoeuvres sequence (pp. 265-269 and 270-275) i t is not clear why these sequences are in parentheses at a l l . Only their length, which makes them somewhat different from the short alternating fragments that have predominated in the third part untiltthen, might account for i t . But then there is no consistency to be looked for i n a text that, as Ricardou points out, is marked by i t s sub-versive and unpredictable use of conventions. v i . Transition through association The third part of the book i s where most of the transitions through association, by far the most numerous group in the novel, are to be found. Conceivably this may have something to do with the genesis and writing of the novel — the novelist feeling increasingly able to allow the dynamic of the text free rein. But more probably i t has to do with the fact that a l l the narrative subjects are now well established, so that the network of connections between them w i l l be readily recognized by the reader, even though new episodes are s t i l l being introduced. It may also be that the main narrative focus of the third part — the night with Corinne 115 lends i t s e l f particularly well to the use of association as a means of transition, since the erotic imagination i s prone to this kind of verbal play and i t i s the phases of love-making that now dominate the movement of the text: Extraordinaire massif d'jicriture que cette derniere partie (p. 255-314) — "phrase" i n f i n i e , haletante, a peu preslnon ponetuee, issue du narrateur (sauf p. 279-287) — , qui porte "le vertige a son comble. Deiire erotico-scriptural, en ce sens que l a narration accompagne les phases d'un colt, mais surtout parce qu'elle ne progresse plus que par constants deplacements de cellules (ou de scenes), ces derniers reposant sur des associations sexuelles. C'est l a regne des mots-charnieres: "racine", "bouffant", "glands", "affames" . . . . 24 The "mots-charnieres", or verbal mechanisms of transfer, represent one category of associations/. Of1 these, the greatest number is made through repetition of a word i n a dual context, of which one component i s generally erotic: . . . . je boufferais les pissenlits par l a racine bouffant l a ou el l e pisse . . . . (p. 259, hiding i n ditch/night with Corinne) . . . . l'herbe aussi etait grise couverte de rosee que je buvais l a buvant par l a tout entiere . . . . (p. 260, imprisonment/oral sex) . . . . nous restions a grelotter tremblant de tous nos membres etroitement encastres enlaces je roulai sur e l l e l'ecrasant de mon poids mais je tremblais trop febrile tatonnant a* l a recherche de sa chair de l'ouverture de sa chair . . . . (p. 262, imprisonment/ lovemaking) The effect of the repetition i s to create a parallel between two different acts or sensations. The qualities of the one are thereby carried over to the other: much of the text i s eroticized i n this way, but at the same time sexuality i s placed i n the same context as the most elemental needs (hunger, 25 thirst, warmth) with which i t is here juxtaposed. Purely verbal mechanisms, however, are infrequent as transitional devices between sequences, though they operate within sequences, producing digression or otherwise diverting the development of an episode. The famous puns, noted by Ricardou and others, are actually far rarer than their impact would suggest. There are only one 116 or two, apart from the notorious "virginal/vierge", which serve as transitions between sequences: the play on the sexual versus the botanical connotations of "gland" (pp. 259, 290) on the meanings, argotic and other? of "moule" (p. 258) and the standard double entendre of "t i r e r son coup", which provides a transition from the ancestor to the "paysan boiteux" on page 123. There are a couple of instances where the rearrangement of syllables produces a new word generating a new sequence: La gent d'armes/la plaque d'argent (p. 258) . . . . l'acier du sabre brandi/et e l l e me remplit encore une fois a ras bord ce petit cone qui tenait l i e u de verre (p. 125) but these are rare between sequences. Equally rare i s the case of a word used metaphorically in one sequence which generates another sequence based on i t s l i t e r a l meaning: thus "cette meme nuit, cette meme encre" on page 333produces a scene where the father of Georges is writing. But on the whole there are surprisingly few instances of purely verbal associations providing the transition to another sequence. This is by no means to say that verbal associations or other verbal mechanisms are not an important element in the juxtapositional process. Clearly many of the novel's parallels and echoes are created by the recurrence of key words in different sequences, or through play with other connotations of expressions used in one particular context — the sexual connotations of the equestrian vocabu-lary, for instance. But verbal association does not predominate in the immediate linkage between sequences. Not a l l associations are of a purely verbal kind, however/. An additional group of transitions are effected through association of image or situation. In this category belongs the switch between the steeplechase and the ambush which is made by means of the image of horses and riders above a hedge, 117 common to both scenes, together with the transition back to the race through an image of clouds that i s again common to both. It i s the image as a whole, rather than any particular word or phrase, that provides the link. Many of these associations are implicit only, dependent on the reader's recognition. Such i s the case with a transition on page 261 from Georges' sensation of Corinne's nipples against the palms of his hands to a memory of imprisonment: . . . . s'erigeant s'appliquant comme deux taches, comme les tetes des clous enfonces dans mes paumes pensant l i s ont compte tous les os, pouvant semblait-il entendre mon squelette entier s'entrechoquer, guettant l a montee de l'aube froide, agites d'un tremblement continu nous attendions le moment ou i l ferait suffisamment jour pour qu'on aie le droit de se lever . . . . Unless the reader seizes the scriptural connection (the passion of Christ) the cause of the switch w i l l be obscure. The same i s true of the transitions between the sequence where Georges hides i n the ditch and the love-making scenes (pp. 257 and 258) where the thematic connections — Georges' thoughts of death and the "petite mort" of orgasm; the return to the matrix (earth or the female body) — and a l l the metaphorical connections — ditch/vagina, grass/pubic hair — must be made through the recollection of passages scat-tered through the book. It i s the implicit nature of many of these connections that to a large extent give the third part of the book i t s poetic quality. The transitions are not the explicit causal or chronological links of conven-tional narrative; they depend on image, allusion and association li k e the connections between elements in a poem. Together with the heightened intensity of the narration, the vivid images and the verbal rhythms that convey the urgency of sexual desire, almost l i t e r a l l y mimicking the rhythm of coitus at times, the transitions i n this part of the novel 118 contribute to i t s highly l y r i c a l character. In the sources of many of the associational transitions, we discover that "architecture purement sensorielle" that Simon sought to create, for the pivots on which the narrative turns in the third part of the book, 26 are sensations and elemental desires. Some of the juxtapositions thus produced would f a l l into Shattuck's category of Romantic juxtaposition because of the element of shock, contrastoor incongruity they contain. For instance, though the vocabulary of eating and drinking is commonly used for oral sex, the literalness of i t s use comes as a shock in the transitions between Georges' memories of extreme hunger and thirst as a prisoner and his desire for Corinne in the love-making scenes. The v i t a l i t y of the words themselves i s renewed by the juxtaposition, as i s our perception of the acts involved. The same i s true of the juxtaposition of Georges' escape from the camp, running on a l l fours lik e a dog, with his making love to Corinne i n the position often characterized as "dog-fashion". The literalness of the juxtaposition has something of a surprise i n i t and the impact of both sequences is thereby intensified. The qualities of each carry over to the other: an element of sexual excitement i s suggested in the escape bid and a sense of vigorous, powerful animality imparted to the sexual scene. But beyond this, the juxtaposing of the escape with coitus, brings to i t s culmination the theme of sex as an attempt to escape from the prison of the self, expressed in the earlier erotic sequence. In that sequence, there was the even more striking and unexpected juxtaposition of Corinne's cries during orgasm with those of a mad prisoner locked i n a hut by the Germans. What this conveys i n part i s a sense of the sexual experience as beyond restraint, beyond rational control, a kind of momentary madness. But i t i s the idea of imprisonment, of solitary 119 confinement, that i s developed by the text. The momentary sensation of limitless freedom i s presented as illusory and the individual i s s t i l l confined within his own solitude: . . . . comme s i notre vie tout entiere s'etait prScipitee avec un bruit de cataracte vers et hors de nos ventres s'arrachant s'estir-pant de nous de moi de ma solitude se liberant s'elancant au dehors se repandant j a i l l i s s a n t sans f i n nous inondant l'un 1'autre sans f i n comme s ' i l ^njy'- avait pas de f i n comme s ' i l ne devait plus jamais y avoir de f i n (mais ce n'etait pas vra i : un instant seulement, ivres croyant que c'etait toujours, mais un instant seulement en real-ite comme quand on rive que l'on croit qu'il se passe des tas de choses et quand on rouvre les yeux 1'aiguille a a peine change?de place) puis cela reflua se precipitant maintenant en sens inverse comme apre's!;avoir bute contre un mur, quelque infranchissable obstacle qu'une petite partie seulement de nous-memes aurait reussi a depasser en quelque sorte par tromperie c'est-a-dire en trompant a l a fois ce qui s'opposait a ce qu'elle s'echappe se libere et nous-memes, quelque chose de furieux frustre hurlant alors dans notre solitude frustree, de nouveau emprisonne, heurtant avec fureur les parois les etroites et indepassables limites . . . . (p. 265) But the note of pessimism with which this f i r s t sexual sequence ends i s counterbalanced by the images of escape that triumph i n the later sexual scene, though here, too, a renewed suggestion of confinement and frustration marks the f a l l of erotic tension: . . . . sourds tous les deux tombes inanimes sur le cote mes bras l'enserrant toujours se croisant sur son ventre sentant contre moi ses reins couverts de sueur les mimes coups sourds le meme beiier nous ebranlant tous deux comme un animal allant et venant cognant allant et venant et violemment dans sa cage . . . . (pp 292-293) And Georges' escape bid ends i n failure too, for he is recaptured and returned to the camp (p. 184). In both cases, the theme of sex as a momentary escape from the confinement of the self finds expression largely through the juxtapositional process. It is based here on relations of contrast or even incongruity which perfectly i l l u s t r a t e the Eisensteinian conception of montage: the clash of two disparate images produces a meaning that i s not contained in either of them independently. Clearly the processes of association 120 are very important i n this type of juxtaposition, where the connections between the elements juxtaposed are latent, to be made by a leap of the imagination. The significance of the juxtaposition cannot be stated or i t would lose i t s point; i t must be conveyed by the association that connects the two elements. Associational processes are one of the subtlest and most effective techniques of montage used in La Route, not only because of the way i n which they engage the reader's active participation in the text, but also because their impact is not limited to the actual connection point of two sequences but extends throughout the book, contributing to the way in which each narrative element reflects or echoes the others through the vast network of repetition and association on which the novel i s constructed. Because they are s t i l l rooted in the experience of a narrator/character, the associational processes of La Route are not yet i n the same category as the autonomous verbal mechanisms of the later works, that function independently of attribution to a character's mental l i f e . The transitions by association (classic stream of consciousness devices because they cor-respond to the mechanisms of unformulated thought and memory) are the only ones in the novel that can be considered r e a l i s t i c , since, as we have seen, a l l the other modes of transition are marked by the "discoherence" of the nar-rative framework. Even their realism, however, is undercut by the "discoherence" of the whole, which prevents the novel from being interpreted as a representation of memory, despite the power of i t s interior monologue. The associational transitions are ultimately more important for their thematic and structural functions, for their effect on the reader's perception of connections than for their revelation of a psyche. 121 Conclusion Viewed from a narrational perspective, the transitions in La Route are notable for their disruptive and misleading character: the adverbs and conjunctions that promise continuity where there i s none, the parentheses that contain a whole new sequence, the images that lead surreptitiously into another episode. A l l of these devices temporarily dissimulate the 27 transition, creating what Ricardou calls "une coupure clandestine". They add an additional confusion to a narrative that i s already discontinuous, fragmented, and impossible to f i t into a coherent framework. Viewed from a thematic perspective, however, the transitions appear, on the contrary, as unifying agents: the overlapping of scenes and figures they permit, the palimpsest effect of the text that can be read doubly, the linking of two disparate sequences so that the qualities of each colour the other, a l l serve to connect the scattered fragments of the narrative thematically. They are techniques of "spatialisation", juxtaposing i n the space of the text elements that are far apart i n time, aiming through this juxtapositional process to induce i n the reader a simultaneous apprehension of a l l the elements of the work. The montage techniques of La Route are diverse and original, not merely serving to link episodes but productive of meaning in themselves. Their effect on the process of reading varies. Some challenge the reader's expectations of a certain r e a l i s t logic and continuity, undermining both the conventional notion of narrative coherence and the i l l u s i o n that the work offers a represesentation of consciousness. Others stimulate the reading memory, aiding in the perception of the network of connections between the elements of the narrative. A l l , by whatever means they employ, draw attention to the novel as composition, to i t s arrangement of episodes 122 in an order other than the causal or chronological sequence of conventional narrative, gradually leading the reader to an awareness of i t s thematic and formal patterns. 123 CHAPTER V IN THE LABYRINTH; THE COMPOSITION OF "LA ROUTE DES FLANDRES" Ts'ui Pen d i r i a une vez: Me retiro a escribir un l i b r o . Y otra: Me retiro a construir un laberinto. Todos imaginaron dos obras; nadie pens5 que libro y laberinto eran un solo objeto. (J.L. Borges, "El jardfti de senderos que se bifurcan") Tempting as i t i s at f i r s t reading to see in the fragmented narrative of La Route, the erratic (erotic) wandering of Georges' memory as he l i e s in bed with Corinne after the war, a i l that we have discovered in the previous chapter precludes such an interpretation. The temporal discon-tinuity of the narrative does not derive from the mechanisms of memory, but from the thematic imperatives that govern the juxtaposition of episodes. This i s clearly revealed by the analysis of transitional procedures, of which, as we have seen, only a certain number can be considered psychologically r e a l i s t i c , while many are definitely non-realist i n character. Confirmation i s also to be found in a more recent statement of Simon's which reverses his declarations to Claude Sarraute at the time of publication: I can show you the plan de montage and you w i l l immediately see that i t developed i n no way as an imitation of memory, but only i'n terms of what Tynianov calls the "necessities of contruction".! I^-Ro«tefis not a novel of memory, though memory i s one of i t s themes, nor a representation of consciousness, though i t contains many b r i l l i a n t pas-sages of interior monologue. Its fragmented composition and subtle montage 124 technique serve other ends. I. The patterns of fragmentation Such i s the complexity of the novel's composition that i t needs to be represented in schematic form i f i t s narrative patterns are to be fu l l y grasped. The noting and analysis of transitions between sequences leads naturally to the drawing up of a diagram of sequence breaks and switches, which provides a comprehensive view of the narrative structure. The extent of i t s fragmentation i s only then f u l l y apparent. The object of these diagrams is to record the breaks between sequences. Since each change of sequence, with only one or two exceptions, marks a sh i f t backwards or forwards i n time, the simplest method of schematising the narrative i s to place each sequence under the heading of the temporal period in which i t belongs. The alternative — indicating the exact subject-matter of each sequence or part of a sequence — would require annotation too complicated for a diagram, though i t would of course be more f a i t h f u l to the composition of the narrative than the use of broad temporal periods. The distribution of the sequences under the-heading of temporal periods does have one advantage, however, which i s to make the novel's destruction of chronology evident at a glance. The text moves back and forth between nine periods, of which three serve as frames: that i s , they represent a supposed time and circumstances (the train of prisoners, the prison camp, the night with Corinne) i n which episodes from the other six periods are being recalled or reconstructed. The f i r s t two frames also become subjects within the third frame — the night with Corinne — which eventually predominates. The nine periods among which a l l the narrative sequences can be divided are as follows: 125 1. the ancestor's l i f e and death at the end of the eighteenth centuryy 2. the pre-war l i f e of Reixach, Corinne and Iglesia 3. the pre-war scenes of Georges and his parents 4. the autumn b i l l e t i n g at the barn during the "drole de guerre" 5. the ambush and wandering of the survivors, May 1940 6. the prisoners' train journey 7. the prisoner-of-war camp 8. the post-war period and f i r s t meeting with Corinne 9. the night with Corinne While 8 and 9 clearly belong to the same broad period, they are treated separately, since 8 i s only a narrative subject and never a narrative frame and cannot therefore be subsumed under the heading of 9. The same is true for 2 and 3, which belong to the same period but are best treated separately i n order to distinguish their different subject matter. The diagrams deal only with the major level of fragmentation: that is to say, they record clear switches to another sequence, but not allusions or brief digressions within a sequence. In general, the distinction between the two is clear: most sequence shifts are unmistakable, even when the new sequence is very brief or two sequences are interwoven in short alternating segments, because they have the quality of autonomous sequences and not that of 'digression: or allusion. There are, however, a small number which are problematic. This is either because they are closer to constituting a digression than a sequence proper, or because-at times frame and-.narration are intermingled i n a r e l a t i v e l y conventional manner so that the.alternation 126 between them does not constitute a switch of sequence. There are also one or two passages which present two or more frames as though they were simultaneous, making i t d i f f i c u l t to situate the passage i n one or other period. These passages are marked with an a s t e r i s k . On the whole, however, changes to another sequence are obvious and unambiguous and e a s i l y recor-ded by the diagram. The one or two occasions when a change of sequence does not mark a change of period present no problems. With these minor l i m i t a t i o n s , the diagrams do o f f e r a useful o v e r a l l view of the narrative composition of La Route which makes i t s fragmentation and i t s non-chronological progression e a s i l y v i s i b l e . I 2 3 <t 5 1 1 0 I I f \ ; V •I * t . * » * • » • f a -r * 5 » »<-•21- «2«-1/ 22. 2-1 \ 3 7 -•52.-51 A / i i « t I rT1 I I t I l I A / » » \ ' loO-2 <00' NARRATIVE SWITCHES IN PART I (PP. 9-101) OF LA ROUTE PES FLANDRES ^problematic. I 12U-* I f05-117 i t » % I I I I • K i n - 1 2 . 1 12.1-123 % #» I 1 • U S -• as 125 116 It |t l » I I 155-146 I i t 1*2. I I 1 I • • 137 \l 11 n M i 1 i i M I * I J 1 ¥> I I II i • M i i »i 181s I I * i f I • II J I I 1«3 i«s 213 I I I i I » H 5 t I r 2/6-I I I i 1 » 1 • 1 u 02.1-73f\ II I t 1 1 1 I 1 1 Ir' 3^3 NARRATIVE SWITCHES IN PART I I (PP. 105-252) OF LA ROUTE PES FLANDRES * problematic FIGURE V 3> 5 6 254 • »I » I .' ; * « l - 7 • • AH- % * * 5 70 * •I 2 g l a«*-7 ' V n • « ' / • tl a?3 1*1 V 1S« ,»1 516-1 » \ » « 2.1S ML . 1 • t I « I « I V 110 u i \ » 3U 3f? Ml «-«2. NARRATIVE SWITCHES IN PART III (PP. 255-314) OF LA ROUTE PES FLANDRES t-o 130 The diagrams cl a r i f y and confirm the general impressions of the reading, revealing not only the fragmentation of the narrative and i t s temporal mobility, but also the predominance of particular periods and the presence of certain patterns in the composition. There are approximately 113 narrative switches i n 301 pages of text, more i f the breaks between Parts I/II and II/III with their epigraphs are counted as part of the text. The rate of fragmentation is not constant, however « While there are about 28 switches i n the 93 pages of text i n Part I, the much longer second part contains only about 38 switches to 148 pages of text. The third part, with only 60 pages of text, i s the most fragmented of a l l , containing approximately 47 switches. The reason for this greater fragmentation^ i s perhaps ^ to be found in the predominant subject matter of the third part. The interweaving of two or more narratives i n brief fragments of no more than a few lines each, a page at the most, expresses the erotic tension of that part of the book, creating a rapid almost breathless rhythm that is particularly appropriate. The already noted predominance of association as a mode of transition i n the third part also contributes to this rapidity and fragmentedness by i t s f l e x i b i l i t y , and the ease with which a single word can effect a switch. The length of the fragments clearly affects the reading in other ways than the creation of a certain rhythm. The more frequent the switches and the more fragmented the text, the greater the effort demanded of the reader. Short, interwoven fragments of the kind to be found i n the third part are s t i l l within eye-range on the page as well as in the memory and thus the effects of simultaneity so important to the composition of La Route, can easily be created. In the case of longer sequences, which tend to efface the previous one in the reading memory, effects of simultaneity 131 must be achieved at the point of transition, through the various devices of that produce an overlapping^two sequences. In general, the shorter the fragments, the more the reader can perceive the connections and echoes between the different elements of the narrative and the richer the potential reading. Each of the novel's narrative subjects is fragmented in itssnarration, not only by the constant interruptions of " r i v a l " subjects, but also by the destruction of temporal sequence, which together isolate each partial episode from i t s context. Thus a scene may be interrupted and i t s different elements spread across the book and in addition they may not be in chrono-logical order, which separates them further from each other, turning them into i s o l a t e d fragments instead of steps in a narrative progression. As the diagrams demonstrate, the text moves back and forth between different periods or different moments of a period. This abolition of chronology is to be found not only within the overall narrative composition, but also i n the progression of a particular episode. Thus, in Part II, to take just one subject — the events surrounding the massacre of the squadron and Reixach's death — the narration progresses from Georges' drunkenness after Reixach's death (p. 125) back in time to his recollections of the ambush and his own escape from i t (p. 155) then forward again to the Generalls suicide (p. 202) switching back abruptly to Georges' drunkenness and continuing that scene with his f i r s t sight of the invading forces (pp. 205-214) then f i n a l l y back to an incident immediately before Reixach's death (p. 227). Instead of the chronological progression 1-2-3-4, we have therefore 3-1-4-3 continued-2, with, of course, several other episodes from other periods (the autumn b i l l e t , the steeplechase, the ancestor, the prison camp) intervening as well, to make the narration of events 132 surrounding Reixach's death completely fragmentary and disordered. While not a l l of the episodes are as non-chronological i n their development as this, i t i s certainly typical of the novel's narrative patterns. Another pattern that emerges clearly from the diagrams i s the alternation or interweaving of two sequences, which begins to establish i t s e l f as the characteristic compositional mode of the third part and w i l l be very prevalent in the two succeeding novels, Le Palace and Histoire. Alternation, or interweaving as i t is best described when the sequences are broken into very short segments, can be used for a variety of effects. The simultaneous awareness of two or more sequences i t pro-duces in the reader can be used for thematic purposes, to suggest relations of similarity of contrast between the sequences thus interwoven, or for psychological purposes, as i s often the case i n Histoire. to suggest the simultaneity of mental phenomena — perception of external environment, for instance, accompanying a particular train of thought,;*or even different trains of thought occurring simultaneously. Other uses w i l l be seen in Le Palace. It i s probably the most typical of Simonian narrative patterns. These and other patterns and symmetries observable in the diagrams lead us on now from the recording of narrative fragmentation to an examin-ation of i t s broader functions and significance. Some of these have a l -ready been suggested at the level of the individual break in the preceding discussion of the novel's montage techniques, the importance of which is even clearer now that the degree to which the narrative i s fragmented and i t s chronology disordered has become f u l l y apparent. 133 II. A fragmentary vision The provisional t i t l e of La Route — "description fragmentaire d'un desastre" — recalls the opening pages of Le Vent, which seem to prefigure Georges' attempt to reconstruct the past: . . . . n'ayant eu des evenements qui s'etaient deroules depuis sept mois, comme chacun, comme leurs propres heros, leurs propres acteurs, que cette connaissance fragmentaire, incomplete, faite d'une addition de breves images, elles-memes incompletement apprehendees par l a vision, de paroles, elles-memes mal saisies, de sensations mal definies, et tout cela vague, piein de trous, de vides, auxquels 1'imagination et une approximative logique s'efforcaient de remedier par une suite de hasardeuses deductions . . . . (Le Vent, pp. 9-10) These words perfectly describe the dubious process of deduction and imaginative speculation through which Georges and Blum try to reconstruct the events of de Reixach's l i f e , events of which (even the ones they themselves lived through) they have only a fragmentary knowledge. The deep scepticism as to the possibility of really knowing what has happened, that finds expression in Le Vent, is echoed i n the f i n a l pages of La Route by Georges' reiterated expressions of doubt — "Mais comment savoir? que savoir?" — and his f i n a l suspicion that he has invented or dreamed i t a l l . The novel i s f u l l of images of the fragmentariness of knowledge, the limitations of any single perspective: a l l Georges possesses of Reixach and Corinne's existence before the wareare: . . . . ces quelques images muettes, a peines animees, vues de lo i n . . . (p. 50) . . . . de fug i t i f s tableaux printaniers ou estivaux, comme surpris, toujours de loin, a travers le trou d'une haie ou entre deux buissons . . . (p. 48) His slow extraction of Iglesia's story i s likened to the restoration of a painting: . . . . ce n'etait pas jour apres jour mais pour ainsi dire de place 134 en place (comme l a surface d'un tableau obscure! par les vernis et la crasse et qu'un restaurateur revelerait par plaques — essayant, experimentant ga et l a sur de petits morceaux differences formules de nettoyants) que Georges et Blum reconstituaient peu a peu, bribe par bribe ou pour mieux dire onomatopee par onomatopee . . . . 1'histoire entiere . . . . (p. 137) This image i n turn echoes the sub-title of Le Vent — "tentative de restitution d'un retable baroque" — and the piecing together of the fragments of a shattered mirror which the narrator of that novel uses as a metaphor for his reconstruction of events. In the composition of La Route, with i t s assemblage of broken sequences and disconnected episodes, can there not be found an embodiment of that piecing together of fragments which represents the attempt to reconstruct the past? The narrative i t s e l f i s fragmentary, containing noticeable gaps and omissions. The absence of the actual moment of capture or surrender i s the most significant of these, together with Corinne's acceptance of Georges as a lover, both of which would almost certainly be accounted for, however brie f l y , in a more conventional narrative. Iglesia's fate is also passed over i n silence — "(mais cette fois Iglesia n'etait plus l a . "(p. 183), though we know he has survived since a phrase at the end of the book informs us that he and Corinne made no attempt to see each other after the war (p. 304). But i t i s not so much the existence of such lacunae. but rather the incompleteness of each episode that gives the narrative i t s fragmented character. Most sequences are l e f t unfinished, either abruptly interrupted by another one, or allowed to t a i l off into silence marked by suspension points, or gradually effaced by means of an image or digression which leads imperceptibly to another sequence. When there i s a continuation or sequel to the events narrated, i t often appears so much later (or earlier) 135 in the text, that the connections are not clear. Thus each sequence is i t s e l f a fragment, like the broken shards of mirror, that the reader must piece together to gain a sense of the chaotic ten days of war that form the central episode. But i t i s not merely on the basic level of incident, but more importantly, i n the piecing together of the multiple connections and echoes among the different narrative subjects, that the reader's reassembling of the fragments must take place. In i t s narrative structure, La Route des Flandres succeeds in creating the fragmented composition that Le Vent, with i t s constant reiteration of the fragmentariness of knowledge, the fragmentedness of experience, called for but could not achieve. The task of the narrator in Le Vent must now be undertaken by the reader of La Route. III. In the labyrinth: The book as symbolic space The fragmented composition of La Route has i t s own symbolic function, however, that of representing the wanderings of the survivors after? the ambush. The scene of the four horsemen, eventually reduced to two by the sniper's bullets, turning i n circles in a f u t i l e and doomed attempt to regain the front or find a place of refuge from the surrounding enemy forces, provides the central image of the novel and i t s dominant episode. The green country lanes along which they ride, have become a treacherous maze from which there is no way out but capture or death: . . . . l a campagne avait l ' a i r d'un jardin bien emonde, quels sont ces arbustes buis ou plutot conffe"res je crois boulingrins que l'on t a i l l e geometriquement jardins a l a franchise dessinant de savantes courbes enchevetrees bosquets et rendez-vous d'amour pour marquis et marquises deguises en bergers et bergeres se cherchant a l'aveuglette cherchant trouvant 1'amour la raort deguisee e l l e aussi en bergere dans le dedale des allees . . . . (pp. 78-79) 136 The text i t s e l f i s like a maze (and at i t s centre too "l'amour l a mort"), a maze in which the reader has the sense of turning in ci r c l e s , of finding himself again and again at what seems to be the same point, like a wanderer in a labyrinth. This effect i s produced i n part by repetition: the repeated allusions to particular incidents of the retreat (de Reixach riding ahead ramrod s t i f f , pp. 17,72,89,229,313; Iglesia's wound, pp. 77,51; the attempt of another lost soldier to join them, pp. 47,229, for instance) and the recurrence of certain images or passages, like the following: . . . . et tout juste utilisable peut-etre pour des ferrailleurs ou des chiffonniers . . . . (p. 205) . . . . juste bonne pour l'equarisseur: sans doute passerait-il avec les chiffonniers et les ramasseurs de f e r r a i l l e d'ordures . . . . (p. 309) . . . . ces c i v i l s qui s'obstinaient de facon incomprehensible a errer trainant une valise crevee ou poussant devant eux de ces voiturettes d'enfants chargees de vagues bagages . . . . (p. 17) . . . . Georges se demandant comment l a guerre repandait (puis i l v i t l a valise eventree, laissant echapper comme des tripes, des intestins d'etoffe) cette invraisemblable quantite de linges . . . . (p. 29) . . . . femmes protegeant 1'enfant s o r t i de leur ventre le f r u i t de leurs entrailles serre contre elles transportant des ballots des edredons rouges creves dont les plumes le duvet se repandait trainant au dehors les entrailles les tripes blanches des maisons . . . . (p. 309) But certain-incidents, of which the most obvious and the most significant is the sighting of the dead horse, represent actual recurrences, indications that the survivors, with no map or guide to aid their escape, are simply turning i n circles.? Georges sees the dead horse f i r s t just before Reixach's death and then again another three times, i n a more and more advanced state of decomposition. The labyrinthine effect of the text i s created not just by the recurrence of incidents connected with the retreat, however, but by. a l l 137 the repetitions and reprises of the narrative. The reader, with each return of an image or sequence, feels like Georges gazing at the dead horse: "Mais j ' a i deja vu ga quelque part. Je connais ga. Mais quand? Et ou done? . . . . " (p. 101) Whether one sees i n this circularity the text imitating the f i c t i o n a l world i t describes, or, with Ricardou, the fic t i o n imitating the structure of the text that produces i t , i t i s clear that the book has become a sym-bolic space. It does not simply describe space as milieu or decor i n the manner of the traditional novel: i t creates a space in which the reader turns i n circlesslike?the protagonists. The fragmentation of the narrative and the reorganization of i t s elements i n recurring patterns makes the process of reading analogous to the wandering of the survivors. The labyrinth, as Ludovic Janvier points out i n his study of the nouveau roman, has become commonplace in modern writing as a symbol of the human condition: Le labyrinthe est devenu l a banale — parce que la meilleure — traduction de l a posture derisoire d'un individu que le monde englou-t i t et deroute. Ecrase ou chasse par une histoire de plus en plus complexe a laquelle i l ne saurait plus prendre part, cherchant vainement une porte de sortie, i l est radicalement separe.2 The image of the Flanders countryside as a maze i s hardly banal or hackneyed, however, but s i n g u l a r l y appropriate as a symbol of the soldiers' plight, trapped i n a diminishing space by the encircling enemy forces and searching hopelessly for the last remaining escape routes, victims of a historical process over which they have no control. The image has, moreover, been infused with new l i f e retrospectively by Simon's later use of a similar metaphor for the process of writing, which he compares, in the preface of Orion aveugle. to the wanderings of a traveller lost 138 in a forest: . . . . i l tourne et retourne sur lui^meme, comme peut le faire un voyageur egare dans.une foret, revenant sur ses pas, repartant, trompe (ou guide?) par la ressemblance de certains lieux pourtant differents et qu'il croit reconnaitre, ou, au contraire, les d i f f e r -ents aspects du meme l i e u , son trajet se recoupant frequemment, re-passant par des places, deja traversees, comme ceci et i l peut meme arriver qu'a la " f i n " on se retrouve au meme endroit qu'au "commencement". Aussi ne peut-il avoir d'autre terme que l'epuisement du voyageur explorant ce paysage inepuisable. A ce moment se sera peut-etre f a i t ce que j'appelle un roman . . . . (Claude Simon, Preface, Orion Aveuele) Here the image of a lost traveller turning in circles carries no tragic implications but, on the contrary, a sense of exploration and discovery, experienced by the writer i n i t i a l l y but shared eventually by the reader who follows i n his traces, using the resemblances and echoes of the text to guide him through i t s labyrinthine composition. IV. Repetition and symmetry in the composition The four appearances of the dead horse which serve to indicate that the soldiers are^turning in circles also provide one of the bookis main structural elements, as Simon has stated on numerous occasions: . . . . les chevaliers dans leur errance (ou le narrateur errant dans sa foret d'images) repassent par ou reviennent toujours a ces points fixes que sont Corinne ou, topographiquement, le cheval 139 mort au bord " de l a route, suivant ainsi un trajet f a i t de boucles qui dessirient un tre f l e , semblable a celui que peut tracer l a main avec une plume sans jamais l u i faire quitter l a surface de l a f e u i l l e de papier. The image of the dead horse appears close to the beginning and end of each part of the novel,(Part I: pp. 27, 101; Part II: pp. 108, 242; Part III: pp. 258, 308). It thus imparts a loose symmetry to the whole, symbolized by the trefle " t r e f o i l " of which the three leaflets correspond to the book's three parts.* The dying horse i n the autumn b i l l e t sequences also appears four times (pp. 44, 67, 130, 270) in a corresponding structural pattern. The other most obvious source of symmetry in the com-position i s the fact that the novel opens with Georges' f i r s t meeting with de Reixach, closes with his f i n a l sight of Reixach just before his death, while i t s probable cause — the massacre of the squadron — i s placed at the exact centre of the book, framed by the account of his earlier defeat in the steeplechase. This pattern was illustrated by Simon at Cerisy in 1971 with a geologically inspired diagram: *The source of this structural image i s perhaps suggested by the following lines from Histoire — "un trefle, des huits entrelaces comme ces orne-ments en galon dore sur les kepis des o f f i c i e r s " — which link the " t r e f l e " and the "embranchement du huit"; 140 Divers episodes,.differents themes (comme celui.des paysans du cantonnement) apparaissent et reapparaisserit de part et d'autre de 1'element central, 1'ensemble se prese"htant en somme comme ces coupes de terrains au centre desquels.se trouve un puits artesien et dont les differentes couches superposees (sableuses, argileuses, etc) decrivant une courbe sous-jacente, toujours presentes, done, en profondeur, affleurent a l a surface de part et d'autre du puits. The loose overall symmetry of the composition revealed i n Simon's diagram i s reinforced by the innumerable parallel elements that subtly connect a l l the episodes, giving formal shape and unity to a text that at f i r s t seems bewilderingly diffuse and fragmented. Many of the novel's elements are to be found in t r i p l i c a t e : the three frames, the three triangular dramas imagined by Georges and Blum, the three "suicides"(that of the general, and the suicide-like deaths of Reixach and the ancestor). Not only the major fic t i o n a l elements are thus trebled: among the lesser incidents that appear i n three variants are the drinking scenes (Reixach buying beer for the soldiers at the inn, Blum and Georges drinking grog the previous autumn i n the village cafe, Iglesia 141 and Georges getting drunk, after Reixach's death); the card-playing scenes (in the farmhouse, in the prison-camp, after the war); Georges being struck (by horses' hooves i n the ambush, by the boot of another soldier in the train, by Corinne's shoe thrown at him i n anger); his escape on a l l fours (from the scene of the ambush, from the sentinel at the crossroads, from the prison-camp), and many mothers. On the level of minor detail, the three-fold repetitions are even more striking. To take just one instance, that of the three 'female figures (Corinne, the " f i l l e laiteuse" and the ancestor's wife), each of whom is the centre of a triangular relation, real or fantasized: a l l of them are described i n similar, almost identical terms. The f i r s t reference to Corinne by means of the pun on "virginal/vierge" — "Seulement, yierge, i l y avait belle lurette qu'elle ne l' e t a i t plus" (p. 13) — i s parallelled by Blum's remark on learning that the name of the ancestor's wife was Virginie: "Beau nom pour une putain. Done cette virginale Virginie" . . . . The farm-girl's f i r s t appearance has something virginal about i t — "sa chair laiteuse, le cou laiteux et pur qui sortait de l a grossiere chemise de nuit" (p. 39); she i s "l a l i l i a l e princesse" (p. 267), "la belle au bois dormant" (p. 289), yet she too i s transformed into whore as "la chevre-pied" (p. 128) with i t s connotation of animality and perversion. Her appearance in nightgown and shawl is echoed intthe descriptions of Virginie — "vetue — ou plutot devetue — d'une de ces chemises" (p. 191) in an imagined erotic scene, or i n the second p o r t r a i t . . . . . dans ce costume qui etait comme une negation de costume, e'est-a-dire une simple robe, e'est-a-dire une simple chemise jet a demi transparente, et qui l a la i s s a i t a demi nue . . . (p. 281) Corinne's dresses are also likened to nightgowns: 142 . . . . une de ces especes de robes violentes, non pas aggressives mais en quelque sorte agreesee, c'est-a-dire dont la f r a g i l i t e , l'inconsistance, les dimensions exigues donnaient l'impression qu'on en avait d?ja arrache la moitie et que le peu qui restait encore ne tenait guere que par quelque chose comme un f i l , et plus indecente qu'une chemise de nuit (ou plutot qui sur toute autre femme eut -te indecente mais qui, sur e l l e , etait quelque chose d'au-dela de l ' i n -decence, c'est-a-dire supprimant, privant de sens toute idee de decence ou d'indecence) . . . . (p. 147) Each passage stresses the near-nakedness, the sexual a v a i l a b i l i t y of the woman, in clothing that is frequently likened to the wrappings enclosing some luxury object or delicacy (cf. pp. 44, 191, 289). Corinne's "trans-parente aureole de cheveux blonds" (p. 148), i s matched by Virginie's "lourde chevelure blonde" (p. 198), while the luminosity surrounding the farm-girl seems to emanate from her skin rather than from the lantern she carries (p. 41). Each is associated with a bird motif: the peacock on the lace curtain which hides the farm-girl, becomes her symbol, the ancestor's wife is called "sa petite pigeonne", Corinne's skin i s likened to the softness of down or feathers, the rise and f a l l of her breast to that of a frightened bird (pp. 238, 270). That the three women should be described in almost identical terms, with details of clothing and physical appearance repeated from one to the other, i s not surprising, given that they are merely interchangeable embodiments of feminine desirability, conjured up in the fantasies of soldiers deprived of sexual fulfillment. Thus the farm-girl i s described as "l'idee meme de l a femme" (p. 41), a primitive f e r t i l i t y figure, while Corinne seems to Iglesia " l a femme la plus femme qu'il eut jamais vue" (p. 140), and the account of Virginie's portrait gradually moves away from the historical individual to the object of desire: . . . . cette bouche cachee secrete — : femme non pas simplement §tendue mais renversee, culbutee . . . . (p. 191) The three women, invisible, absent or long dead, are mere ciphers onto 143 which i s projected male desire i n a l l i t s ambivalence, as the virgin/ whore dualism makes clear. Since a l l are equally objects of fantasy, their images, particularly those of the ancestor's wife and Corinne, blend i n -dissolubly, each influenced by and in turn influencing the others. But while such threefold repetition i s explainable i n psychological or thematic terms, particularly in this instance, i t is generalized to a degree that makes i t of formal as well as thematic significance. It i s tempting to look for some tri-form structure that might encompass a l l the triple elements. Naturally the notion of a triptych comes to mind, because of the t i t l e and composition of Simon's recent novel Triptyque. The earliest meaning of triptych, moreover, was a set of three writing tablets hinged or tied together (Shorter Oxford Dictionary), which would make i t an appropriate enough image for the structure of a novel divided into three parts. While La Route can probably not be seen as a triptych in the traditional sense, since i t s episodes are both too numerous and too fragmented (spread across the whole text rather than contained i n one of the "panels"), the triptych provides an illuminating analogy for the formal composition of the work. Simon's description of triptych composition at Cerisy in 1974, though he was referring specifically to Triptyque. has much that is applicable to La Route: Je propose un mode de lecture en evoquant ces peintures composees de trois volets qui representent quelquefois des scenes totalement differentes et quelquefois un ensemble homogene (la vie d'un meme saint). Mais ce.qui f a i t 1'unite de ce genre d'oeuvres, c'est une unite de nature picturale, c'est, disons, que t e l rouge en haut du volet de gauche peut^renvoyer a t e l autre rouge ou encore a t e l vert en bas de celui de;droite, s i bien que les trois tableaux sont composes de maniere 1 n'en former qu'un seul. Cette harmonie des couleurs et ces renvois de l'un a l'autre, voila ce qu'indique le , t i t r e Triptyque, du moins dans mon esprit.5 144 Just as in a triptych, which may or may not possess narrative or thematic continuity, the three panels are unified into one work by formal elements such as colour, so i n a novel like Triptyque the three narrative subjects (totally unrelated' to each other as anecdotes) are bound together by formal elements that not only give a r t i s t i c coherence to the work but are pro-ductive of meaning through the network of connections — "renvois" — they create among i t s diverse sequences. In the same way that the spectator's eyes are drawn from an incident in the l i f e of a saint to his triumph i n paradise, by a particular colour repeated in different panels, the reader i s led to connect different sequences in the novel and to dis-cern implicit relations between them, by the repetition of an Image, a certain configuration of words, or even, quite l i t e r a l l y , by the use of colour. For the colour relations, Simon refers to, are no metaphor for more purely literary devices, but an important element in the composition of Triptyque.^ Colour is also one of the formal elements in La Route, though used perhaps less systematically. The major incidents of de Reixach's story are a l l in the same tonality: the steeplechase and the f i n a l ride towards the sniper are both afternoon scenes i n b r i l l i a n t sunshine against the vivid green of spring. The green of the race-course — "1'immense et luxuriant tapis vert" — with i t s boundary hedges and l i t t l e wood, is matched by that of the hawthorn hedges, "le vert chemin", " l a verdoyante campagne" of Flanders. The racing colours chosen by Corinne — "rose vi f tirant sur le mauve" — that Reixach wears when he replaces Iglesia and that are compared to a silken feminine undergarment (pp. 23 -24), are echoed by the "chiffon rose" caught i n the hedge that Georges notices just before Reixach's death. Both in turn are repeated by the 145 "rose-parme" of Virginie's dress i n the second portrait and the "chale violet" that covers the farm-girl's nightgown, and complemented by the " c i e l tout rose de l'aurore" in the ambush scene. Such colour harmonies are clearly not accidental. The green underlines the thematic link between the race and ambush scenes, while the series of pink notes serves to recall the erotic defeat Reixach has suffered. At the same time, the concordance of colours helps to bind a l l these varied elements into a satisfying composition, i n very much the same way as the colours of a triptych unify i t s three panels. Similarly, the frame sequences in which Reixach's story is related or the various fantasies with which Georges and Blum console themselves are elaborated, are a l l characterized by sombre shades: the darkness of the cattle-car and the hotel room, the gray rain in the autumn b i l l e t and in the yard where the prisoners shovel coal, the dark pines of the German landscape. Again, this colour concordance serves to link them formally, while providing a tonal contrast with the b r i l l i a n t colouring oftthe stories themselves — "les images chatoyantes et lumin-euses" (p. 184). What Simon has to say about the role of colour intthe triptych applies quite l i t e r a l l y , therefore, to the composition of La^Route as well as to that of Triptyque. since the use of colour undeniably f u l f i l l s some of the same unifying functions, both thematic and formal, as that of a triptych. But the more general aspect of the analogy is equally appropriate to La  Route. In using the t i t l e Triptyque, Simon was not merely alluding to the book's three interwoven fictions, but seeking to evoke the "mode de lecture" that such a work invites or even necessitates: the search for the relations between the three. La Route, too, calls for a special kind of reading, one that i s alert to the connections between disparate elements 146 of the t e x t , and one of the primary f u n c t i o n s of the t h r e e - f o l d r e p e t i t i o n s that c h a r a c t e r i z e the work i s to provoke the r e c o g n i t i o n of these connections. As an analogy f o r a type of composition and the mode of reading i t r e q u i r e s , the t r i p t y c h i s every b i t as appropriate to La Route as to Triptyque i t s e l f . I t has an advantage over the s t a t e d s t r u c t u r a l image of the book, the t r e f o i l (whose t r i - p a r t i t e form p r e f i g u r e s i t ) , i n that i t s p e c i f i c a l l y i n v o l v e s the j o i n i n g of three d i f f e r e n t subjects (scenes from s c r i p t u r e or the l i f e of a s a i n t , r e p r e s e n t a t i o n s of sacred personages or those who have commissioned the work), w h i l e the t r e f o i l i s simply an a b s t r a c t design. When one r e c a l l s the s u b - t i t l e of Le_Vent — " t e n t a t i v e de r e s t i t u t i o n d'un r e t a b l e baroque", (the• r e t a b l e or a l t a r p i e c e being o f t e n , though not always, i n the form of a t r i p t y c h ) — i t i s tempting to see the t r i p t y c h as a l a t e n t s t r u c t u r a l image which only r e q u i r e d the stimulus of the F r a n c i s Bacon e x h i b i t i o n , w i t h i t s s t r i k i n g contemporary ve r s i o n s of the genre, to surface as a conscious design i n Triptyque.* There i s i n f a c t a v i r t u a l t r i p t y c h i n La Route, f o r the three subjects around which Georges' and Blum's f a n t a s i e s r e v o l v e can be seen as the three p a r t s of a t r i p t y c h devoted to the theme of the e t e r n a l t r i a n g l e . The st o r y of Reixach, Corinne and I g l e s i a must, by i t s predominance i n the t e x t , occupy the centre, flanked on the one hand by the imagined h i s t o r y of the ancestor, h i s w i f e and the " p a l e f r e n i e r " which i s i t s prefigurement, and on the other hand by the "drame paysan" which o f f e r s a burlesque v e r s i o n of i t , i n much the same way as a sub-plot i n a Shakespearean play d u p l i c a t e s the main p l o t but w i t h characters of l e s s e r importance or * Simon sta t e d at C e r i s y that i t was the Bacon r e t r o s p e c t i v e of 1971 that i n s p i r e d him to add a t h i r d s e r i e s to the two e x i s t i n g ones and to use the t i t l e "Triptyque". 147 s t a t u r e — attendants, servants, r u s t i c s and the l i k e . The term mise en abyme g e n e r a l l y used of such devices i s not e n t i r e l y appropriate i n the case of La Route, however, si n c e i t i m p l i e s a h i e r a r c h i c a l and one-way r e l a t i o n between the two (the d u p l i c a t i o n of a major subject by a minor subject or i t s r e f l e c t i o n i n m i n i a t u r e ) , whereas i n La Route, i f the ancestor's s t o r y serves as prefigurement of de Reixach's, i t i s a l s o i n t u r n coloured by i t , s i n c e the few r e a l f a c t s Georges knows about the ancestor's l i f e are g r a d u a l l y supplemented by what he knows of de Reixach's, u n t i l the ancestor's s t o r y comes more and more to resemble h i s descendant's. I t i s not a s t r a i g h t f o r w a r d r e f l e c t i o n but a two-way process f o r which Simon's own f o r m u l a t i o n — "jeu de m i r o i r s internes." •— seems more appro p r i a t e , evoking as i t does the way i n which a l l the novel's subjects repeat or r e f l e c t each other.^ Speaking of the r e l a t i o n between the three s t o r i e s i n an i n t e r v i e w s h o r t l y a f t e r the p u b l i c a t i o n of La Route, Simon l i k e n e d i t to that among the parables i n a sacred t e x t : A i n s i , m'a-t-on d i t , l e Talmud s e r a i t l ' e t e r n e l commentaire d'un f a i t ou d'un episode par d'autres episodes semblables ou c o n t r a i r e s qui l e completent, q u i s'opposent a l u i , q u i presentent un autre aspect du meme theme. 8 He a l s o compared i t to the r e l a t i o n of the voices i n a fugue, but the analogy of a t e x t i n which a l l the episodes are designed to i l l u m i n a t e , through r e p e t i t i o n , v a r i a t i o n or c o n t r a s t , the s i g n i f i c a n c e of some o r i g i n a l , seems alto g e t h e r more appropriate and captures an e s s e n t i a l q u a l i t y of La Route. The most d i s t i n c t i v e features of i t s composition are d i r e c t e d towards such an end: the montage of fragmented sequences that makes p o s s i b l e the super-i m p o s i t i o n of one f i g u r e or i n c i d e n t upon another, and the j u x t a p o s i t i o n or interweaving of c h r o n o l o g i c a l l y remote but t h e m a t i c a l l y r e l a t e d scenes; the r e p e t i t i o n of many elements i n three or more v a r i a n t s ; the r e c u r r i n g words and images and the a l l u s i o n s that keep a l l the.subjects 148 present i n the t e x t by maintaining the reader's r e c o l l e c t i o n of previous sequences. Few episodes can be read without evoking others, counterparts or c o n t r a s t s t h a t p o i n t to new f a c e t s of meaning, f o r each episode i s part of a c o n s t e l l a t i o n which i n t u r n i n t e r s e c t s w i t h others, and i t s f u l l s i g -n i f i c a n c e d e r i v e s from the t o t a l context. V. Archetype and v a r i a t i o n L i k e the conversation of Georges' mother, w i t h i t s three or four themes: . . . . autour desquels sa pensee semblait g r a v i t e r avec l e monotone, o p i n i a t r e et f u r i e u x acharnement de ces insectes_suspendus dans l e crepuscule, v o l e t a n t , tournoyant sans treveCautour/)d'un i n v i s i b l e — et i n e x i s t a n t , sauf pour eux seuls — epicentre~~(p. 53) the n a r r a t i v e revolves around three or four thematic centres: l o v e , death, war and h i s t o r y . Two archetypes u n d e r l i e most of the major episodes: the t r i a n g l e , prototype of a l l the sexual r e l a t i o n s h i p s i n the n o v e l , and the "chevauchee", which encompasses a l l the scenes of men on horseback. Instead of a progression of events towards some r e s o l u t i o n , the n a r r a t i v e c o n s i s t s of a succession of overlapping images, v a r i a t i o n s upon an ar c h e t y p a l p a t t e r n . Each v a r i a n t r e c a l l s the others, r e i t e r a t e s and enlarges t h e i r s i g n i f i -cance and r e i n f o r c e s t h e i r power. The absolute superimposition of one scene upon another produced by c e r t a i n montage devices i s simply the most extreme v e r s i o n of a process to be found everywhere i n the book. The t r i a n g l e i s the most obvious of these s e r i e s of v a r i a n t s and may conceivably account f o r the predominance of t r i p l e elements i n the composi-t i o n of the nov e l . I t u n d e r l i e s the three " f i c t i o n s " that Georges and Blum, "adolescents sevres de femme" (p. 304) elaborate i n the p r i s o n camp around the supposed r e l a t i o n s h i p of Reixach, Corinne and I g l e s i a and that of the ancestor, h i s w i f e and the invented " p a l e f r e n i e r " , and the v i l l a g e drama centred round the " f i l l e l a i t e u s e " . But the t r i a n g u l a r r e l a t i o n i s not 149 l i m i t e d to these three s t o r i e s , f o r Georges h i m s e l f , i n becoming Corinne's l o v e r , creates an a d d i t i o n a l t r i a n g l e , of which the dead Reixach, r a t h e r than Corinne's second husband, i s the tr u e t h i r d party. There i s the a d d i t i o n a l i n t e r t e x t u a l i r o n y , f o r the reader f a m i l i a r w i t h L'Herbe, that Georges himself i s the husband, not the l o v e r , i n that work. Even the a l l u s i o n to Sabine's endemic j e a l o u s y i n La Route (p. 53), w i t h i t s reminder of the v i r t u a l t r i a n g l e i n L'Herbe of which the imagined "other woman" i s the t h i r d element, maintains the p a t t e r n . Every sexual r e l a t i o n s h i p , r e a l or imagined^ i n the n o v e l , reproduces the t r i a n g u l a r model, which i s indeed the charac-t e r i s t i c one i n Simon's w r i t i n g . The ambiguous pronouns that produce a momentary f u s i o n of the-male, f i g u r e s , the r e p e t i t i o n of d e t a i l s such as the "robes qui ressemblaient a des chemises", or the echoes l i k e the d e s c r i p t i o n of the the c a r n i v a l mask that V i r g i n i a holds i n the p o r t r a i t (p. 190), which repeats almost word f o r word the d e s c r i p t i o n s of I g l e s i a ' s p r o f i l e (pp. 43, 172), u n d e r l i n e the b a s i c s t r u c t u r a l s i m i l a r i t y of the r e l a t i o n s h i p s , making each i n t u r n r e f l e c t the others. The same i s true of the many images of men on horseback that pervade the book: the "quatre c a v a l i e r s " i n r e t r e a t a f t e r the ambush, the "che-vauchee nocturne" through the autumn r a i n , the ancestor r i d i n g homewards a f t e r the defeat i n Spain, and the image, at the very centre of the n o v e l , .of the column of horses and r i d e r s advancing unawares at dawn on a May morning- i n t o the ambush. Each of these images r e c a l l s the others and adds to the cumulative e f f e c t of an unending cavalcade, " l a longue t h e o r i e des chevaux en marche depuis t o u j o u r s " , "cheminant depuis l a n u i t des temps" . (p. 37). The a r c h e t y p a l character of these images i s c o n s t a n t l y underlined by the t e x t . I t i s as i f the advance of armies on the march has never ceased, and the motorized German column that Georges and I g l e s i a watch from behind the hedge i s merely another v e r s i o n of the "chevauchee".' Even the 150 race, an apparently peaceful v a r i a n t , i s a s s i m i l a t e d to the sphere of war, f i r s t by i t s j u x t a p o s i t i o n w i t h the ambush scene, but more importantly through comparison of the jockeys and mounts w i t h the combatants i n a j o u s t : . . . . avec l e s taches b a r i o l e e e s et melangees des casaques, l e s queues ondoyantes, l a demarche hautaine des betes sur l e u r s p a ttes pas plus grosses que de minces b r i n d i l l e s , a p p a r i t i o n , groupe medieval, chatoyant au l o i n (et non pas seulement l a - b a s , au bout du tournant, mais comme s'avancant pour a i n s i d i r e du fond des ages, sur l e s p r a i r i e s des b a t a i l l e s e c l a t a n t e s ou, dans l'espace d'un e t i n c e l a n t apres-midi, d'une charge, d'une galopade, se perdaient ou se gagnaient des royaumes et l a main des princesses) . . . . (pp. 153-154) Thus every d e s c r i p t i o n of horses and r i d e r s becomes another v e r s i o n of the arch e t y p a l image of c a v a l r y on the march, a f a c t that i s underlined by the frequence w i t h which one image d i s s o l v e s i n t o another: the r i d e of the four horsemen i s transformed i n t o the "chevauchee nocturne" (p. 29); the group of jockeys dissolves into the leaders of the column r i d i n g towards the ambush (p. 155); the ancestor r i d i n g i n r e t r e a t becomes de Reixach (p. 227). The e r o t i c scenes and the "chevauchee" are themselves l i n k e d by the imagery centred upon the f a m i l i a r double entendre of "mounting" — s u c c i n c t l y expressed i n the t r a d i t i o n a l t o a s t of the French c a v a l r y : "A nos chevaux, a nos femmes, et aux hommes q u i l e s montent!" The.two s e r i e s c o n s t a n t l y i n t e r s e c t through the "femme-alezane" and "homme-cheval" a l l u s i o n s , through the e r o t i c symbolism of the-race and Reixach's handling of the mare, and v. through the dual r o l e of I g l e s i a , de Reixach's jockey but a l s o the l o v e r of h i s w i f e : . . . . c e l u i — une s o r t e de domestique ou f a i s a n t f o n c t i o n — q u i a v a i t chevauche, s a i l l i sa femme n i plus n i moins qu'une jument (p. 283) as w e l l as through a host of other connections throughout the book, culmin-a t i n g i n the d e l i r i o u s passage c l o s e to the end i n which the e r o t i c and the equestrian themes u n i t e : 151 . . . . l a femme chevauchee par son f r e r e d'armes ou p-lutot son f r e r e en c h e v a l e r i e p u i s q u ' i l l e c o n s i d e r a i t en c e l a comme son e g a l , ou s i l'on p r e f e r e l e c o n t r a i r e puisque c ' e t a i t e l l e q u i e c a r t a i t l e s c u i s s e s chevauchait, tous deux chevauchant (ou p l u t o t q u i avaient ete chevauches par) l a meme h o u r i l a meme haletante hoquetante haquenee . . . . (p. 296) The sexual act becomes a v a r i a n t of the "chevauchee" (or v i c e - v e r s a ) . Thus the two poles of the n a r r a t i v e , around which a l l i t s images c l u s t e r , are i n t i m a t e l y connected, a connection which i s f u r t h e r r e i n f o r c e d by the charac-t e r i s t i c Simonian a s s o c i a t i o n of s e x u a l i t y and combat. The r a m i f i c a t i o n s are simply endless, i n f a c t , and i t would r e q u i r e a d e t a i l e d study to show how a l l the elements of the work r e f l e c t each other i n that " j e u de m i r o i r s i n t e r n e s " that Simon b e l i e v e s the novel should be. The e f f e c t of these r e p e t i t i o n s and v a r i a t i o n s , these episodes and v c h a r a c t e r s that are v e r s i o n s of underlying prototypes, i s to convey a sense of H i s t o r y as an unending c y c l e ; not only on the l a r g e r s c a l e of the . sempiternal succession of wars and invasions"', but a l s o on the i n d i v i d u a l l e v e l , w i t h ancestor and descendant f u l f i l l i n g the same t r a g i c p a t t e r n , l i k e uncle and nephew i n the l a t e r n o v e l , H i s t o i r e . This p e s s i m i s t i c v i s i o n i s expressed not only through the many superimpositions of the t e x t , and the . p a r a l l e l s and echoes t h a t l i n k sequences, but a l s o through i t s c e n t r a l s t r u c t u r a l image — the c i r c l i n g of the s u r v i v o r s , passing and repassing the same points i n a closed space. At the same time, however, the superimposition of d i f f e r e n t periods and wars ' — the f a l l of France i n 1940, the defeat i n Spain one hundred and f i f t y years e a r l i e r — tends towards myth r a t h e r than h i s t o r i c a l p e r s p e c t i v e . The passages i n which Georges imagines t h Q "fantomatique cavalcade" of w a r r i o r s advancing from the dawn of h i s t o r y to the end of time, or the d e s c r i p t i o n of the four horsemen r i d i n g through the country-s i d e , present the defeat as the r e p e t i t i o n of an e t e r n a l s i t u a t i o n r a t h e r 152 than as a s p e c i f i c h i s t o r i c a l event. Although the a i r c r a f t and motor v e h i c l e s of modern warfare make a b r i e f appearance i n the t e x t , the c e n t r a l images.of the c a v a l r y , the dead horses and f l e e i n g c i v i l i a n s could belong to any era: Mais, route ou chemin c'est toujours l a meme chose: des fosses bordes de morts, des chevaux creves, des camions b r u l e s et des canons- abandonnes (pp. 215-216) Just as, i n the s e r i e s of p a i n t i n g s of b a t t l e scenes from Breughel to Poussin, described i n La B a t a i l l e de Pharsale. costumes and weaponry may change, but the a t t i t u d e s of the-warriors depicted are copies of c l a s s i c a l archetypes, so too, i n La Route, the horsemen repeat, a n c e s t r a l gestures, f o l l o w i n g S i n the t r a i n of the "vieux . lansquenets, r e i t r e s et c u i r a s s i e r s de j a d i s " . . . . (p. 32) The image of war and love that emerges from the accumulated episodes of La Route i s one i n which the^eternal, ^ archetypal aspects r a t h e r than the contemporary, h i s t o r i c ones are paramount, an emphasis which, according to Joseph Frank, i s c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of the major works of modern l i t e r a t u r e : What has occurred . . . . may be described as the transformation of the h i s t o r i c a l imagination i n t o myth — an imagination f o r which h i s t o r i c a l time does not e x i s t , and which sees the ac t i o n s and events of a p a r t i c u l a r time only as the bodying f o r t h of e t e r n a l prototypes.^ Frank sees a c l o s e r e l a t i o n s h i p between t h i s move towards myth i n modern l i t e r a t u r e and a p a r a l l e l move towards s p a t i a l form, which aims at a b o l i s h i n g sequence and producing i n : t h e reader a g l o b a l and simultaneous awareness of a l l the elements of the work. The m y t h i c a l imagination, Frank concludes, f i n d s an appropriate a e s t h e t i c expression i n s p a t i a l form, which does away w i t h time sequence and juxtaposes past and present i n a simultaneous v i s i o n that r e v e a l s t h e i r common un d e r l y i n g p a t t e r n , the u n i t y beneath apparent d i v e r s i t y . 153 VI. The s p a t i a l form of "La Route" That the whole impetus of the composition i s towards the creation of a " s p a t i a l " v i s i o n of a l l i t s elements, scarcely?needs to be said a f t e r the many instances, we have seen i n which the text gives r i s e to a simul-taneous perception of two or more characters or scenes: de Reixach r i d i n g i n the race and into the ambush; de Reixach and the ancestor r i d i n g into r e t r e a t ; Georges l y i n g i n the dark i n the t r a i n and i n Corinne's bed; Georges l y i n g on h i s face i n the d i t c h , i n a f i e l d between Corinne's legs, drinking the dew, " l a buvant par l a tout entiere"; Georges t e l l i n g Corinne ( t e l l i n g Blum) the story of Reixach's death . . . .The l i s t could continue i n d e f i n i t e l y . I t i s not only the ambiguous pronouns and misleading adverbs, that we saw i n the montage of sequences, which engineer such simultaneous perceptions. I t i s clear that the fragmentation of the n a r r a t i v e has as i t s p r i n c i p a l function the production o f a " s p a t i a l " apprehension of the work. The destruc-t i o n of chronological order i s the necessary f i r s t step i n that d i r e c t i o n : the events of the n a r r a t i v e are seen not i n t h e i r h i s t o r i c a l sequence, but juxtaposed i n a non-temporal arrangement i n the timeless continuum of the text. And even that new order i s not fixed but mobile, for i n the .'process of reading new juxtapositions and groupings'arise, both in the text and the reader's mind, as new connections become apparent. I t i s the fragmentation of the n a r r a t i v e , the breaking up of i t s episodes, that makes i t possible to interweave or superimpose sequences which, though widely separate i n time, can be perceived simultaneously, t h e i r s i g n i f i c a n c e illuminated through j u x t a p o s i t i o n . Those episodes which are not a c t u a l l y juxtaposed or interwoven are linked to each other by the network of r e p e t i t i o n s and common imagery that extends throughout the book, keeping every element constantly present i n the text 154 and i n the reader's memory: Tous l e s elements du t e x t e . . . . sont toujours presents. Meme s ' i l s ne sont pas au premier p l a n , i l s continuent d'etre l a , courant en f i l i g r a n e sous, ou d e r r i e r e , c e l u i q u i est immediatement l i s i b l e , ce d e r n i e r par ses composantes, contribuant lui-meme a rappeler sans cesse l e s autres a" l a memoire.10 This system of echoes and a l l u s i o n s . . " r e s u l t s -in the most a s t o n i s h i n g l y dense passages, such as the one connecting Blum's evocation of h i s Jewish background w i t h Georges' f i n a l lovemaking w i t h Corinne (pp. 287-289), where not only do a l l the major f i c t i o n a l elements appear (the autumn b i l l e t , the dying horse, t h e a i i c e s t o r ' s p o r t r a i t , the "drame paysan", the g e n e r a l , the "paysan boiteux", de Reixach, the ancestor's s u i c i d e , the s t o r i e s of Georges' mother, " l a f i l l e l a i t e u s e " , the ancestor's w i f e i n the two por-t r a i t s ) , l i n k e d by the common themes of death and passion, but each one c a r r i e s w i t h i t , i n a d d i t i o n to the immediate a s s o c i a t i o n c o n n e c t i n g ' i t to what precedes and f o l l o w s i n the t e x t , other a s s o c i a t i o n s t h a t spread, l i k e ! r i p p l e s on a pond, t o encompass episodes and characters not e x p l i c i t l y -a l l u d e d t o . The race-course scenes, f o r i n s t a n c e , which are not d i r e c t l y mentioned i n the course of the two pages, are r e c a l l e d to the reader's awareness through the d e s c r i p t i o n of the general "avec sa p e t i t e t e t e r i d e e de jockey ses e t i n c e l a n t e s p e t i t e s bottes de jockey", which evokes the image of the jockey I g l e s i a i n h i s "bottes de poupee", and, i n p a r t i -c u l a r , the scene where the discarded b e t t i n g s l i p s that symbolize de Reixach's f a i l u r e , f a l l to the ground between I g l e s i a ' s f e e t , i n t h e i r much p o l i s h e d boots and Corinne'.s, i n t h e i r f r a g i l e sandals (p. 182). The reference to the general's s u i c i d e — . . . . q u i n'avait pas f a i t beaucoup plus de tapage qu'une branche p o u r r i e se b r i s a n t . . . . (p. 288) — e c h o e s the sound of the jockeys' crops i n the race: . . . . l e claquement sec (comme l e b r u i t d'une branche cassee) . . . . ( P. 175) 155 and, more distantly, the despair of Georges' father: . . . . malgre sa totale absence de reaction apparente Georges percut parfaitement et plus fort que l'assourdissant caquetage de Sabine comme une sorte de craquement, comme le bruit imperceptible de quelque organe secret et dellcat en train de se briser (p. 233) In this way, the seven lines devoted to the general c a l l up another set of images (the race-course scenes) and evoke, as counterparts to the general, two other examples of disappointed hopes and personal defeat, de Reixach and Georges' father. Each of the other fragments on these two pages contains as many echoes and allusions, so that, as one reads, the whole novel rises before the mind, producing a sense of vertigo almost, like being in the centre of a carousel with shapes and faces whirling past, returning and vanishing almost before they can be identified. That many of these connections w i l l not be appar-ent on f i r s t or even second reading does not lessen the claim that the impetus of the composition i s towards a "spatial" or simultaneous apprehension of i t s elements. For, as Gerard Genette has said of the spatial form of A la recherche du temps perdu, in the passage quoted earlier: Lire comme i l faut l i r e de telles oeuvres (en e s t - i l d'autres?) c'est seulement r e l i r e , c'est toujours deja r e l i r e , parcourir sans cesse un l i v r e dans tous ses sens, toutes ses directions, toutes ses dimensions. And since, with each reading, new associations become apparent and further aspects of the relations between episodes are discerned, the reading process is both endlessly rewarding and endlessly tantalising, for the network of connections seems almost inexhaustible. Conclusion The fragmentation of the narrative that we have seen in La Route i s not, after a l l , r e a l i s t i c in aim or effect. La Route i s not a novel of memory, in the sense defined by Jean Rousset, despite the i n i t i a l 156 impression of many readers and d e s p i t e the f a c t that Simon himself at one time , invoked the nature of memory to j u s t i f y i t s form. What has become c l e a r through c l o s e examination of the s t r u c t u r e of the n a r r a t i v e i s that the fragmentation of i t s episodes, l i k e the d i s r u p t i o n of i t s chronology, serve to create a " s p a t i a l " form i n which meaning emerges from the j u x -t a p o s i t i o n or interweaving of sequences, made p o s s i b l e p r e c i s e l y by t h e i r fragmentation and temporal d i s l o c a t i o n . The montage that replaces s e q u e n t i a l n a r r a t i o n i s i t s e l f p roductive of meaning through a r i c h v a r i e t y of devices. The simultaneous perception of d i f f e r e n t characters or events that the composition induces i n the reader's mind should i d e a l l y encompass the whole novel and a l l i t s complex network of connections and a s s o c i a t i o n s . And / t h e r e are, moments i n the rereading of La Route, when the reader achieves f o r a d i z z y i n g i n s t a n t what f e e l s l i k e a t o t a l v i s i o n of the work, something a k i n perhaps to the experience that Simon has described himself having at i t s i n c e p t i o n , i n a passage that makes a f i t t i n g end to t h i s study of the novel: Je revenais d ' E t r e t a t avec Jerome Lindon. Nous venions de mettre l a ; d e r n i e r e main a L'Herbe. Dans l e car q u i nous menait vers l a gare, Jerome me demanda s i j e songeais -aim autre l i v r e . Le c a r , au moment ou j ' o u v r a i s l a bouche, p r e n a i t un v i r a g e . Je v o i s encore devant moi, j ' a i encore devant l e s yeux, l e s arbres comme t i r e s en a r r i e r e , d'autres apparaissant, prenant l a s u i t e des premiers, comme un paysage qui bascule et a u s s i l e v e r t presque n o i r de l a h a l e . Et dans une f r a c t i o n  de seconder j ' a i vu "La Route" . . . . Pas l ' i d e e de ce l i v r e , mais  ce l i v r e tout e n t i e r . H (my u n d e r l i n i n g ) 157 CHAPTER VI FRAGMENTATION AND THE PERCEPTION OF TIME IN "LE PALACE" Autant chereher a r e t e n i r l'eau dans ses d o i g t s . Essayez. Essayez de vous chereher. "Je est un au t r e . " Pas v r a l : "Je est d'autres". D'autres choses, d'autres odeurs, d'autres sons, d'autres personnes, d'autres l i e u x , d'autres temps. J'admire l a c o n t i n u i t e et l a logique exemplaire q u i conduit 1'evolution des heros de^ r o m a n s J p o u r a r r i v e r au s o c i a l i s t e p a r f a i t et enthousiaste a l a s i x c e n t ~ v i n g t - t r o i s i e m e page. Comment peut-on e t r e toujours consequent pendant s i x cent v i n g t - t r o i s pages. V o i l a ce que j e me demande, moiiqui.ne s u i s jamais l e meme pendant d i x minutes a l a f i l e , moi q u i ne s u i s pas l e meme pendant l a duree d'un m i l l i e m e de seconde, puisque j e ne s u i s pas moi. (Claude Simon, La Corde Raide, pp. 175-175) The novel which followed La Route, des Flandres i s co n s i d e r a b l y l e s s fragmented and i t s n a r r a t i v e s t r u c t u r e , though by no means s t r a i g h t f o r w a r d i s f a r l e s s complex. For a s t a r t , the n a r r a t i v e subjects i n Le Palace are l i m i t e d to three: a man's r e t u r n to a Spanish c i t y where, as a young student, f i f t e e n years e a r l i e r , he had been an observer of c e r t a i n events during the e a r l y days of the C i v i l War; the n a r r a t i o n of those events them-s e l v e s ; and, contained i n a separate chapter, the "R e c i t de 1'homme-fusil", a s t o r y w i t h i n a s t o r y , t o l d by another character, of an a s s a s s i n a t i o n he had c a r r i e d out a few years e a r l i e r . N a r r a t i v e progression i s not fragmented by a m u l t i p l i c i t y of d i f f e r e n t episodes and periods a s i i n La Route. The switches are between no more than two periods at a time, making f o r a much simpler n a r r a t i v e s t r u c t u r e . The f u n c t i o n of n a r r a t i v e fragmentation-in the:two novels is also 158 q u i t e d i f f e r e n t . In La Route, i t s main purpose was to create a composition which would of i t s e l f express the thematic r e l a t i o n s between the elements of the n a r r a t i v e , the p a r a l l e l s and echoes between them being i m p l i c i t l y suggested by the j u x t a p o s i t i o n s or interweaving that the fragmentation of the n a r r a t i v e made p o s s i b l e . In Le Palace, n a r r a t i v e fragmentation does not f u l f i l a thematic r o l e of t h i s k i n d . The overlapping of sequences, f o r i n - : stance, which plays such an important part i n the thematic s t r u c t u r e of La Route, serves a temporal f u n c t i o n i n the l a t e r novel: i t forms a t r a n -s i t i o n between past and present by means of elements common to both (the pigeons, trams,and heat of the unchanging Spanish scene). The evocation of t h i s commingling of past and present i n the p r o t a g o n i s t ' s consciousness " i s the most immediately"obvious f u n c t i o n of n a r r a t i v e fragmentation i n Le  Palace. I t i s achieved l a r g e l y through the a l t e r n a t i o n or interweaving of two sequences, a technique used mainly f o r thematic purposes i n La Route. The p r i n c i p a l f u n c t i o n of n a r r a t i v e fragmentation i n LePalace has to do w i t h time as w e l l , but w i t h time as duree. that i s , w i t h the ch a r a c t e r s ' perception of the passage of time, L i k e Montes i n Le Vent, whose awareness of time i s i n t e r m i t t e n t and f u l l of gaps, the I t a l i a n i n the " R e c i t de l'homme-fusil" perceives i t s passage as: . . . . c e t t e progression b i z a r r e et saccadee, d i s c o n t i n u e , du temps f a i t apparemment d'une succesion de (comment l e s appeler?) fragments s o l i d i f i e s . . . . (p. 53) His sense of d i s c o n t i n u i t y i s recreated by the fragmented n a r r a t i v e s t r u c t u r e of the " R e c i t " . Both there and i n other chapters, n a r r a t i v e fragmentation i s a means of conveying a d d i t i o n a l elements of the sense of time: the discrepancy between the len g t h of a pe r i o d and the b r i e f f l a s h i n which i t can be r e c a l l e d , or between the a c t u a l d u r a t i o n and the f e l t d u r a t i o n of an i n c i d e n t . While time i s a major theme i n most of Simon's w r i t i n g , i t i s 159 Le Palace which offers the most extensive exploration of the way in which i t is perceived and narrative fragmentation plays a major role in rendering this. While some of the techniques of fragmentation to be found in La Route are also used in Le Palace, most notably the alternation of sequences, the sudden return to an abandoned sequence and the abrupt introduction of a new sequence, they are used for the most part to different effect in Le  Palace. The most characteristic feature of the book's narrational style is the prolonged description of objects or simple actions, which slows the narrative to the point of effacing the connection with what has pre-ceded, turning each episode into a succession of static, disconnected images. It is in fact the importance assumed by description in Le Palace that takes i t further from conventional narrative than La Route which, for a l l i t s "discoherence", i t s undermining of the fi c t i o n a l i l l u s i o n , had many of the basic ingredients of the traditional novel s t i l l — a c t i o n of an exciting and moving character, erotic interest, romantic figures like Corinne, triangular intrigues. While many of the episodes in La Route, by the standards of conventional f i c t i o n , were incomplete and unresolved, the "plot", i f such i t may be called, of Le Palace is far more fragmentary and undeveloped. The reader never discovers whats i f anything, happened to the American, or whether the Italian's assassination- attempt had been, successful and what i t s consequences were, because that is not the purpose of the novel. While the uncertainty surrounding these events is due in part to the protagonist's fragmentary knowledge or recollection of them, their undeveloped character is mainly due to the fact that neither they nor even their historical context are the principal focus of attention, in the novel. What the text concentrates on is the experience of the characters at 160 i t s most b a s i c l e v e l : the p a i n s t a k i n g d e s c r i p t i o n of au d i t o r y and v i s u a l p e r c e p t i o n s , of sensations and impressions. Because of t h i s focus, the n a r r a t i v e i n the conventional sense (that i s , the r e l a t i o n of the s t o r y or p l o t ) i s both fragmentary and fragmented: fragmentary because the events themselves, being of secondary i n t e r e s t , are almost effaced by the d e t a i l e d d e s c r i p t i o n of the experience to a degree they could not be i n a conventional n o v e l * ; fragmented because.' of the fragmentedness, the d i s c o n -t i n u i t y , the c h a o t i c m u l t i p l i c i t y of the perceptions and sensations des-c r i b e d . Claude Simon has c o n s i s t e n t l y r e j e c t e d the imputation of any h i s t o r i c a l value to the work, p o i n t i n g to i t s d e l i b e r a t e confusion of f a c t u a l d e t a i l , to the vagueness of the s e t t i n g and a c t i o n and to the i n c o m p a t i b i l i t y of the n o v e l i s t ' s and h i s t o r i a n ' s e n t e r p r i s e s . His i n t e n t i o n he i n s i s t s , was not to give an account of the s i t u a t i o n i n Barcelona i n the summer.1 of 1936 but r a t h e r to d e s c r i b e : . . . . des odeurs, des images, des sensations t a e t i l e s , des emotions . . J ' a i voulu d e c r i r e ce qu'a ete pour moi l a r e v o l u t i o n espagnole. D'abord par honnetete: tout ce que j e peux s a v o i r sur l a guerre d'Espagne, c'est ce que j ' a i r e s s e n t i avec mes sens. Et a u s s i par gout, c'est ce que j'aime f a i r e , t r a d u i r e en mots, en .Tan-gage., ce que Samuel Beckett a p p e l l e l e "comment c'est". Ou p l u t o t le"comment c'est maintenant", comment c'est desormais dans ma memoire. "Comment c ' e t a i t " , j e n ' a i pas pu l e s a v o i r . 1 The phenomenological d e s c r i p t i o n of impressions and sensations has replaced a c t i o n of the conventional s o r t i n Le Palace, a f u r t h e r m a n i f e s t a t i o n of the s c e p t i c i s m expressed i n Le Vent as to the p o s s i b i l i t y of knowing anything *What was the i d e n t i t y of the I t a l i a n ' s v i c t i m , or the reasons f o r h i s a s s a s s i n a t i o n , f o r instance? The " R e c i t " i s not concerned;-, w i t h such conventional d e t a i l s of p l o t , but w i t h the sensations the I t a l i a n f e l t on e n t e r i n g the r e s t a u r a n t . 161 other than through the fragmentary impressions of the senses. The composition of the novel The novel's f i v e chapters form a symmetrical design, described by Simon 2 at Cerisy Autre exemple de composition symetrique, Le Palace qui s'ouvre par un chapitre i n t i t u l e Iriveritaire, se ferme sur un autre i n t i t u l e Le bureau  des objets trouves, l e chapitre c e n t r a l , sur l e s cinq que comporte l'ouvrage, i n t i t u l e Les f u n e r a i l l e s de Patrocle (decrivant l ' e n t e r r e -ment d'un chef revolutionnaire assassine) lui-meme. encadre par l e s chapitres 2 et 4 qui re l a t e n t chacun un meurtre, l e premier raconte par son auteur, l e deuxieme soupconne par l e narrateur qui en est l e temoin i n c e r t a i n . I II Inventaire Homme-fusil (meurtre) W/////M I I I F u n e r a i l l e s de Patrocle IV Dans l a nuit V (meurtre our arrestation) Bureau des objets trouves :.y. -*• '• • But t h e i r i n d i v i d u a l composition i s by no means as uniform as the o v e r a l l symmetry might seem to suggest. The f i r s t two chapters i n p a r t i c u l a r d i f f e r quite considerably from the other three i n n a r r a t i v e structure and i n the degree - to which they are fragmented. While "Inventaire",. as the name suggests, i s composed of a succession of fragmentary images and scenes, the "Recit de 1'homme-fusil" i s based on the systematic a l t e r n a t i o n of two sequences, each fragmenting the:other by i n t e r r u p t i o n . The narration of events i n the remaining chapters, which are more uniform infcomposition,, i s fragmented i n part by the growing predominance of de s c r i p t i o n over action, 162 but a l s o by the unpr e d i c t a b l e returns to the present which i n t e r r u p t the n a r r a t i o n of the past. i . " I n v e n t a i r e " The f i r s t chapter i s the most fragmentary part of the book, appro-p r i a t e l y enough s i n c e , i n a d d i t i o n to the l i t e r a l catalogue of the contents of the room i n the Palace, i t c o n s t i t u t e s an invent o r y , as i t were, of the subjects and themes to be developed i n the r e s t of the novel. I t begins w i t h the d e s c r i p t i o n of a pigeon on a w i n d o w s i l l , whose unseen a r r i v a l — . . . .comme s ' i l a v a i t non pas v o l e jusqu'au balcon mais e t a i t s u b i t e -ment apparu, m a t e r i a l i s e par l a baguette d'un p r e s t i d i g i t a t e u r . . . . provides an image f o r the abrupt emergence of the t e x t . The pigeon image recurs i n ah almost i d e n t i c a l l y worded passage i n the f i n a l chapter (pp. 203-204), one of the t e x t ' s many devices of c i r c u l a r i t y , which a l s o c o n t r i b u t e t o the novel's temporal e f f e c t s , to the sense of time immobilised that c h a r a c t e r i z e s r s o many of i t s episodes. The pigeon's departure — " a u s s i brusquement q u ' i l s ' e t a i t pose, i l s'envola" -—, l i k e i t s a r r i v a l , serves to p r e f i g u r e the d i s c o n t i n u i t y and the abrupt t r a n s i t i o n s of the t e x t . The i n t r o d u c t i o n to the. d e s c r i p t i o n of the r e q u i s i t i o n e d " h o t e l room that f o l l o w s — "Et c e c i : l a p i e c e lambrissee" •— maintains the abrupt f e e l i n g of the t e x t , since the "Et c e c i " w i t h i t s colon seems to i n d i c a t e a new departure r a t h e r than a c o n t i n u a t i o n of what has preceded. The two passages are separated i n t o disconnected fragments by t h i s means. A couple of pages l a t e r , the te x t becomes v i s i b l y fragmented w i t h the inventory of f u r n i s h i n g s i n b r i e f , indented n o t a t i o n s "premierement: . . . . septiemement: . . . . " ) i n t o which there creeps, i n the guise of a par e n t h e s i s , the f i r s t fragment of the scene from the past which forms the b a s i s of the n a r r a t i v e : 163 (". . . . comme une g r i l l e d'egout, d i s a l t I'Americain . . . . l e maitre d'ecole l u i lancant un coup d ' o e i l , p u i s haussant l e s epaules) . . . . (pp. 16-17) The scene re-emerges i n the t e x t on page 28, only to be set i n doubt two pages l a t e r i n a b r i e f r e t u r n to the present: . . . . — ou peut-etre ne d i t - i l r i e n , peut-etre l ' a u t r e n ' a v a i t -i l r i e n d i t non p l u s , peut-etre r i e n de tout c e l a ne s ' e t a i t - i l jamais p r o d u i t , peut-etre y a v a i t - i l t oujours eu la,de tout temps, une banque, peut-etre n ' a v a i e n t - i l s jamais e x i s t e reellement . . . . (p. 31) I t i s b r i e f l y reverted to i n a s i n g l e paragraph on the f o l l o w i n g page, then ousted again by another r e t u r n to>.the present which leads back f i n a l l y to the inventory: Et encore: quelque part dans un c o i n (mais e t a i t - c e l a q u ' i l l e s v i t ? . . . . (p. 34) with a r e c o l l e c t e d image of gold bars, i t s e l f fragmented by the long parenthesis evoking the f l i g h t and eventual r e t u r n of the wealthy p r o p r i e t o r s of the c i t y . The scene surfaces again i n the course of t h i s passage: . . . . et I'Americain d i s a n ^ ( c ' e s t - a - d i r e peut-etre pas ce matin-l a , dans l e bureau — mais aun- autre moment . . . . (p. 36) only to be g r a d u a l l y effaced a few pages l a t e r by another..image, that of two men on a s t a t i o n p l a t f o r m , which leads i n t o the n a r r a t i v e of the next chapter. The o f f i c e scene, s p l i t i n t o four separate fragments i n " I n v e n t a i r e " , w i l l not reappear u n t i l the t h i r d chapter, when i t i s re v e r t e d to completely unexpectedly a f t e r the s i x t y page i n t e r r u p t i o n of the " R e c i t " . The scene from the present which provides the frame f o r the other elements of the chapter i s i t s e l f no more than a fragment i n the composition, a l b e i t " , longer than the r e s t . Introduced as abr u p t l y as a l l the other elements: Puis i l se v i t , c ' e s t - a - d i r e des annees plus t a r d , et l u i , ce r e s i d u de lui-meme, ou p l u t o t c e t t e t r a c e , c e t t e s a l i s s u r e (cet excrement en quelque sorte) l a i s s e e d e r r i e r e s o i . . . . (p. 20) i t confirms t h e i r s t a t u s as memories, r e v e a l i n g the source of the i r o n i c 164 perspective from which they are presented as that of a d i s i l l u s i o n e d o l d e r s e l f . This doubling of the poi n t of view which c h a r a c t e r i z e s Le Palace, } adds to the fragmentation of the n a r r a t i v e . The switches from past to present, from younger to ol d e r s e l f , d i s r u p t n a r r a t i v e c o n t i n u i t y through-out the book u n t i l i t s f i n a l pages when, a f t e r s e v e r a l pages of r a p i d a l t e r -n a t i o n of past and present, the two become i n d i s t i n g u i s h a b l e . Despite the i n t r o d u c t i o n of the present — the circumstances of r e c o l l e c t i o n — the e f f e c t of the fragmented composition i n " I n v e n t a i r e " i s not that of a stream of consciousness rendering of memory. Though s e v e r a l of the i n d i v i d u a l fragments are presented as memories, the te x t does not represent the flow of memory. Rather, as the t i t l e i n d i c a t e s , i t o f f e r s an enumeration of the remnants of the past, the raw m a t e r i a l out of which f i c t i o n may be constructed, already i n the process of tran s f o r m a t i o n , as the f i n a l fragment e x e m p l i f i e s . We know from Claude Simon hims e l f that one of the s t i m u l i f o r the w r i t i n g of Le Palace was the s i g h t of two men on a r a i l w a y p l a t f o r m : I I y a t r o i s ans, un s o i r , du t r a i n , j ' a i vu deux o u v r i e r s espagnols en t r a i n de r e f a i r e l e u r s v a l i s e s sur l e quai de l a gare de Narbonne. Et, brusquement, tout e t a i t l a , tout e t a i t revenu: l e s odeurs, l e s images, l e s sensations Ce que Proust a p p e l l e l a "memoire i n v o l o n t a i r e " . . . 3 In the t e x t , t h i s experience appears a f t e r a r e f l e c t i o n on the u n i v e r s a l i t y o f . c e r t a i n types, which leads to a three page parenthesis d e s c r i b i n g two men on a s t a t i o n p l a t f o r m , as they might be observed by a t r a v e l l e r , awakened by the stop; When the parenthesis ends on page 44, the impersonal "voyageur" of i t s i n i t a l phrases has been replaced by the p r o t a g o n i s t : . . . . l ' e t u d i a n t pensant: "Mais ou done? ou . . . . ", pui s i l se rappela: l e s memes regards, : l e s memes visages i n u s a b l e s , impenetrables, interchangeables et sans age . . . . 9P. 44) The general, a l l u s i o n to t r a i n s stopping i n the middle of the ni g h t has l e d abrup t l y i n t o the s p e c i f i c , instance of the student's a r r i v a l i n Spain, 165 accompanied by the I t a l i a n . The r e a l - l i f e experience described by Simon i n the interview has undergone a f i c t i o n a l transformation: no longer situated i n the present of the older s e l f ' s r e c o l l e c t i o n s , i t i s now a remembered event i n the past, reminding the younger s e l f of a s t i l l e a r l i e r s i g ht. It i s t h i s kind of process that "Inventaire" embodies: the recording of the o r i g i n s or s t i m u l i ( r e a l or imagined) of the f i c t i o n to be developed by the succeeding chapters. I t s structure — the succession of fragmentary images and scenes, numbered as i n a catalogue or prefaced by conjunctions that give them the character of items i n a l i s t : Et c e c i : l a piece lambrissee p. 10 Et eux (les quatre hommes p. 32 Et encore: quelque part dans un coin . . . . . .p. 34 expresses t h i s function, which explains why the composition i s quite d i f f e r e n t from that of the succeeding chapters, which develop,, the themes .and subjects i t merely indicates i n fragmentary form. i i . "Le Recit de l'homme-fusil" [ The "Recit" i s constructed on the p r i n c i p l e of a l t e r n a t i o n : two narra-t i v e subjects alternate, each in turn i n t e r r u p t i n g the other but both re c e i v i n g equal coverage i n terms of pages. The I t a l i a n r e l a t e s h i s story to the student and at the same time the circumstances of that r e l a t i o n (the t r a i n journey, the a r r i v a l i n a Spanish c i t y , • the h a i r - r a i s i n g t a x i ride) form the subject of a second p a r a l l e l narration. This n a r r a t i v e structure can be schematised as follows: 47-56 67-76 r e c i t voyage recxt 87 89-9o 98-98 voyage precitl 57-66 77-87 88- 90-A passage within the chapter o f f e r s an analogy for 8 c % i s narrat 0 99 lve 166 method: . . . . l ' e t u d i a n t r e l e v a n t un i n s t a n t l a t e t e , voyant d e f i l e r a t r a v e r s l'obscur r e f l e t de l e u r s deux visages dans l a v i t r e b r o u i l l e e de p l u i e l e s rares lumieres, l a logue rouge et n o i r e , l e s spectres indignes des v i e i l l e s sefroras rhumatisantes appuyees sur l e u r canne d'ebene, puis plantes sur l e qu a i , i n d i f f e r e n t s ou i n s e n s i b l e s a l a p l u i e q u i c o n t i n u a i t a tomber, l e s deux p o l i c i e r s de l a Seguridad . . . . 9P. 66) The double image on the t r a i n window — the r e f l e c t i o n of t h e i r faces superimposed on the succession of f i g u r e s ( r e a l and imaginary) i n :the l i g h t e d s t a t i o n o u t side — i s a counterpart t o the double n a r r a t i v e of the chapter, to the way i n which the I t a l i a n ' s s t o r y runs p a r a l l e l w i t h the student's impressions of the journey: . . . . ( l ' e t u d i a n t ne l'ecoutant plus — mais apparemment l ' l t a l i e n (ou l a vo i x ) ne s'en souciant pas, et continuant — q u o i q u ' i l ne put s'empecher de 1'entendre, de s o r t e que plus t a r d i l d e v a i t se rap p e l e r l e tout (images et paroles) courant en quelque s o r t e p a r a l -1element' comme dans ces f i l m s ou une v o i x i n v i s i b l e d i t un t e x t e sans rapport avec l a s u i t e des images q u i d e f i l e n t . . . . (p..84) This s i m u l t a n e i t y , which a t e x t , u n l i k e a f i l m , has no means of reproducing, i s e f f e c t i v e l y suggested nonetheless by the a l t e r n a t i o n or interweaving of the two n a r r a t i v e s . At the same time, the i n t e r r u p t i o n s created by the a l t e r n a t i o n can convey the i n t e r m i t t e n c y of the student!s a t t e n t i o n or of the account i t s e l f when the I t a l i a n f a l l s s i l e n t . The r a t e of a l t e r n a t i o n e c h o e s • t h e r h y t h m of both s u b j e c t s : long sequences and infrequent a l t e r n a t i o n t o begin w i t h , i n keeping w i t h both the l e i s u r e l y pace of the t r a i n journey and the I t a l i a n ' s long h e s i -/ t a t i o n outside the r e s t a u r a n t ; r a p i d l y a l t e r n a t i n g short sequences i n the second part complement e q u a l l y the speed of the t a x i r i d e across the c i t y and the I t a l i a n ' s f l i g h t from the restaurant a f t e r the a s s a s s i n a t i o n . But /the r e l a t i o n between the events described and the /rhythm of t h e i r a l t e r n a t i o n i s more complex than t h i s , s i n c e the p r i n c i p a l f u n c t i o n of the composition i s to re c r e a t e the I t a l i a n ' s d i s t o r t e d sense of time. 167 The "Recit" (as in i t s way does the account of the wandering of the survivors in La Route des Flandres) describes an unaccustomed awareness of time: that of a man undertaking an unfamiliar and dangerous mission which both intensifies and alters his perception of reality: . . . . le paravent . . . . degringolant dans un fracas de lattes brisees, et, pour l u i , dans l'espece d'univers second, lointain, et pour ainsi dire decolle de la realite ou 11 se mouvait, cela ne f i t , d i t - i l , pas plus de bruit que le contenu d'une bofte d'allumettes en se rgpandant . . . . 9P. 90) The sense of unreality particularly affects his avareness of time. This manifests i t s e l f in two ways: f i r s t a feeling of discontinuity or fragmentedness, of gaps in his perception of the passage of time; then, as the situation develops and the tension and danger grow, an il l u s i o n of time slowed to a standstill, in which actions are experienced as i f in slow-motion, impossible drawn out. This feeling culminates i n the loss of any r e a l i s t i c sense of the passage of time, so that, on leaving the res-taurant and seeing outside the same taxi With the same passengers that he had noticed before entering i t , he i s overwhelmed to realize that the whole sequence of events has taken no more than a moment or two: . . . . que tout ce qui venait de se passer depuis qu'il s'etait engage dans l a porte-tambour (cette enorme suite, ou plutot masse, out plutot magma, ou plutot maelstrom de sensations, de visions, de bruits, de sentiments et d'impulsions contraires se pressant, s e y bousculant, se melangeant, se superposant, impossible a contrdler et a definir et qui avait entour§ avec pour ainsi dire toute la pompe, le faste et l'abondance necessaire la mort d'un homme) n'avait en realite pas dure, our rempli, plus de temps que de regarder la somme inscrite a un compteur, deboutonner une pelisse, sortir des b i l l e t s d'une poche, attendre que le chauffeur a i t ouvert son porte-monnaie, comptS les pieces, l u i en tendre une, et se redresser en rempochant les autres. (p.98) The reader shares the character's astonishment, for the structure and rhythm of the narrative are such that they have produced an equivalent confusion about time in the reader's mind. The way in which the Italian's experience is presented — the elaborately detailed description of each 168 movement or action — slows the account enough by i t s e l f to make the duration of the incident seem interminable. But the alternation of the two narratives not only adds to this slowness by the interruptions which leave the Italian'8 account suspended, but also contributes to the distortion of the reader's time-sense by the double time-scheme involved: the length of the journey Imparts a false extension to the incident narrated during i t s course. The discrepancy between the actual duration of the incident and the time i t i s fe l t to have taken i s recreated for the reader through the effect of the narrative structure on the experience of reading. The same i s true for the Italian's sense that time was standing s t i l l , that everything was taking place in slow motion, which is rendered tangible to the reader by the composition of the chapter. The breaks in the narrative, by effectively freezing an instant of the action for several pages (the Italian f i r i n g the revolver, or the waiters blocking his escape), create a textual equivalent for the sense of dreamlike slowness he experiences: . . . . tout s'immobilisant alors pendant un temps qui l u i parut tres long et ou i l se souvint d'etre reste l a , etonne que ce fut deja le moment, presque surpris, dSsoriente . . . . toutes ces choses dans un silence devenu complet, de sorte, d i t - i l qu'en rSalite cela n'avait meme pas du se produire (ce long moment pendant lequel . . . . i l se trouva dans l'incapacite absolue de faire le moindre geste) sinon dans son esprit . . . .pp. 74-75. . . . . cette impression de rale n t i , comme dans les reves . . . . p. 96. The discrepancy between this sense of immobility the Italian experiences and his rational awareness that things are actually happening very fast is recreated textually through the counterpoint of the two narratives. In the juxtaposition of the dangerously fast taxi ride with the Italian's account of his flight from the restaurant, the description of the ride pro-vides the feeling of desperate speed which his account conspicuously lacks. It i s the combination of the two narratives — the slow-motion sequences of the assassination and i t s aftermath, interwoven with the sequence of the 169 p r e c i p i t o u s car r i d e , which together produce i n the reader the I t a l i a n ' s impression that "tout a l l a i t a l a f o i s . t r e s v i t e et t r e s lentement" (p. 90). There are gaps i n the I t a l i a n ' s awareness of time, blank moments of which he has no r e c o l l e c t i o n , as when he f i n d s himself r e v o l v e r i n hand "incapable de se rappeler a quel moment i l l ' a v a i t s o r t i " (p. 74), and these gaps make both the o r i g i n a l i n c i d e n t and h i s account of i t fragmented and discontinuous. He experiences the passage of time as c e t t e progression b i z a r r e et saccadee, d i s c o n t i n u e , du temps f a i t apparemment d'une succession de (comment l e s appeler?) fragments s o l i d i f i e s . . . p. 53. Perhaps t h i s fragmentedness i s accentuated by the danger and the un-f a m i l i a r i t y of the circumstances i n which he f i n d s h i m s e l f , but i t i s common to a l l Simonian characters to a greater or l e s s e r degree. The n a r r a t o r of Le Vent, d e s c r i b i n g the fragmentedness of Montes' experience suggests that he f a i l e d to f i l l i n the blanks as the r e s t of us do, r e t a i n i n g i n h i s a c c o u n t . a l l the o r i g i n a l d i s c o n t i n u i t y of events without the r e a s s u r i n g padding of n a r r a t i o n . Elsewhere, h i s experience was l i k e n e d to a f a i t d i v e r s i n a t o r n newspaper i n i t s fragmentedness. In the " R e c i t " , the gaps i n the I t a l i a n ' s awareness are p a r a l l e l e d by the breaks i n the n a r r a t i v e which imparts i t s own t e x t u a l d i s c o n t i n u i t y to the i n c i d e n t . The i n t e r r u p t i o n s of the second n a r r a t i v e , by breaking up the I t a l i a n ' s s t o r y and f r e e z i n g the a c t i o n , turn i t i n t o something approaching the "fragments s o l i d i f i e s " of h i s perception of time. The account i t s e l f i s doubly fragmented, by the I t a l i a n ' s abruptness and by the student's i n t e r m i t t e n t a t t e n t i o n : . . . s o i t que l ' e t u d i a n t a i t qomplitement c e s s e pendant un moment de l a p e r c e v o i r £the I t a l i a n ' s voice^J, s o i t que durant l e temps ou e l l e s ' e t a i t tue l ' l t a l i e n ( c ' e s t - a - d i r e son e s p r i t , sa memoire) a i t continue l e r e c i t pour l u i tout s e u l , s o i t encore que son e s p r i t ou sa memoire eussent saute sans t r a n s i t i o n — comme l a f l e c h e — d'une p o s i t i o n a l ' a u t r e , de s o r t e q u ' i l manquait un m a i l l o n i n t e r m e d i a i r e . . . p. 87. 170 The student bears somewhat the same r e l a t i o n to the I t a l i a n as the na r r a t o r of Le Vent to Montes: i n both, cases.the t e x t records not the o r i g i n a l account of the pro t a g o n i s t but i t s transformation i n the imagination of a more s o p h i s t i c a t e d and a r t i c u l a t e l i s t e n e r , a f u r t h e r s i g n i f i c a n c e of the double n a r r a t i v e of the " R e c i t " . In the " R e c i t " , however, f a r more than i n Le Vent, we witness t h i s process t a k i n g p l a c e : the I t a l i a n w i t h h i s p e n c i l stub marking out the p o s i t i o n s of the p r o t a g o n i s t s , the student v i s u a l i z i n g the scene — . . . i l l u i semblait v o i r , se r e c o n s t i t u e r 1'action ... sous forme d'une s e r i e d'images f i x e s , f i g e e s , immobiles (comme l e s div e r s e s f l e c h e s lumineuses q u i composaient l a reclame s'allumant et s'eteignant a tour de r o l e ) , chacune trop d i f f e r e n t e de l a precedente pour q u ' i l f u t p o s s i b l e d ' e t a b l i r entre e l l e s un element de c o n t i n u i t e . . . p. 66. The double v e r s i o n — the I t a l i a n ' s s t o r y o v e r l a i d , almost obscured by the student's v i s u a l i z a t i o n of i t s events - i s made p o s s i b l e by the dual n a r r a t i v e s t r u c t u r e of the chapter, by the way i n which the frame i s given equal space and st a t u s w i t h the n a r r a t i v e i t encompasses. To this,and to other, more common, fu n c t i o n s of a frame (the c r e a t i o n of suspense through i n t e r r u p t i o n , the s e t t i n g i n a c e r t a i n p e r s p e c t i v e of the events narrated) must thus be added the s p e c i f i c e f f e c t s of the frame i n the " R e c i t " : the r e c r e a t i o n through the a l t e r n a t i o n of the two n a r r a t i v e s a p a r t i c u l a r experience of the passage of time, a sense of time immobilized, broken i n t o discontinuous fragments, an experience that i s rendered t a n g i b l e to the reader by the s t r u c t u r e of the t e x t w i t h i t s p a t t e r n of i n t e r r u p t i o n s and f r o z e n moments. Already d i s t i n g u i s h e d from the r e s t of the novel by i t s status of a t a l e w i t h i n a t a l e , a parenthesis to the main a c t i o n , the " R e c i t " d i f f e r s s i g n i f i c a n t l y from the other chapters through i t s systematic use of a l t e r n a t i o n , which w i l l not be used again u n t i l the f i n a l pages of the book. 171 Nowhere i n Simon's w r i t i n g , i n f a c t , i s a l t e r n a t i o n more rigorously, e f f e c t i v e l y e x p l o i t e d than i n the " R e c i t " . Although i t i s frequent i n H i s t o i r e and La Route ( p a r t i c u l a r l y the t h i r d p a r t ) , i t s use i s not as sustained and gives way to other l e s s r e g u l a r compositional p a t t e r n s . The " R e c i t " stands on i t s own i n the w r i t i n g of the c e n t r a l period as a model of t h i s p a r t i c u l a r type of fragmented composition. i i i . "Les F u n e r a i l l e s de P a t r o c l e " A f t e r the major d i g r e s s i o n of the " R e c i t " w i t h i t s double flashback (to the nig h t of the student's a r r i v a l i n Spain and to the evening i n P a r i s s e v e r a l years e a r l i e r of the I t a l i a n ' s s t o r y ) , the t e x t a b r u p t l y r e v e r t s to the fragmentary scene i n the o f f i c e , faded out on page 40 of " I n v e n t a i r e " . I t i s as though the scene has been fr o z e n i n the i n t e r i m — . . . l e maTtre d'ecole toujours immobile d e r r i e r e sa t a b l e dans l a p o s i t i o n q u ' i l a v a i t a u s s i t o t r e p r i s e apres a v o i r reboutonne sa veste . . . (p. .102) The c h a r a c t e r s , immobilized i n t h e i r p o s i t i o n s f o r s i x t y p a g e s ' a r e now set i n motion again. Fragmented from i t s i n i t i a l appearance i n the t e x t and s p l i t i n h a l f by the chapter-long i n t e r r u p t i o n of the " R e c i t " , the scene i n the o f f i c e continues i n a s e r i e s of disconnected, s t a t i c images l i k e the b a r e l y p e r c e p t i b l e movement of the f u n e r a l procession i n the s t r e e t below — "une s e r i e de plans f i x e s " (p. 114). The conversation that takes p l a c e , s i g n i f i c a n t because i t i s the American's provocative remarks that may have l e d to h i s subsequent disappearance, i s r e l a t e d at widely separated i n t e r -v a l s (pp. 101, 109/110, 117/118, 140/141). I t i s fragmented not only by the lengthy d e s c r i p t i o n of the slow f u n e r a l procession outside but a l s o by the i n t e r c a l a t i o n of yet another conversation, t h i s one between the American and the student at some u n c e r t a i n time: 172 . . . l a v o i x de I'Americain d i s a n t toute proche (mais e t a i t -ce l e s o i r (ou l a v e i l l e ou l e matin ? ) : a ce moment, l ' e t u d i a n t et l u i e t a i e n t a s s i s tous deux sur 1'esplanade . . . (p. 119) The l.ocus of t h i s conversation provides the t r a n s i t i o n f o r a r e t u r n to the present, where the p r o t a g o n i s t , having l e f t the bar, i s now s i t t i n g on a bench i n the square where the Palace once stood. The two scenes, past and present, a l t e r n a t e f o r about seventeen pages and i t i s not u n t i l page 135 that the n a r r a t i o n of the f u n e r a l procession and the scene i n the o f f i c e recommences, introduced by the r e i t e r a t e d phrase "mais comment e t a i t — c e done, comment e t a i t - c e ? . . . " . The conversation between the American and the "iiiaxtre d'ecole" i s concluded w i t h the f i n a l r e v e l a t i o n that i t has taken no more than a few seconds i n r e a l i t y : . . . ( l ' e t u d i a n t se rendant compte a l o r s q u ' i l ne s T e t a i t ecoule qu'un i n s t a n t , quelque secondes peut-etre, depuis que l e maitre d'ecole a v a i t p a r l e , apres que I'Americain a v a i t raconte 1 ' h i s t o i r e des sept oncles . . . (p. 141) The r e p e t i t i o n of "Nosotros?," on page 141 — the American echoing the r e p l y given by the "maitre d'ecole" to h i s question back on page 110 — serves, l i k e the d e t a i l of the t a x i and i t s occupants i n the I t a l i a n ' s s t o r y , to s i g n a l the discrepancy between o b j e c t i v e and s u b j e c t i v e time. A few seconds only have elapsed, but f i l l e d w i t h the student's impressions of the f u n e r a l procession — " l a l e n t e et i r r e s i s t i b l e maree" — they have seemed i n f i n i t e l y longer. Once again, the character's d i s t o r t e d sense of the passage of time has been made palpable to the reader through the s t r u c t u r e of the n a r r a t i v e . The slowing of the a c t i o n by the elaborate d e s c r i p t i o n of the f u n e r a l procession has c o n t r i b u t e d i n part to the i l l u s i o n of a long expanse of time, but the fragmentation of the scene and i t s v i t a l dialogue by the i n t e r r u p t i o n s of other scenes and the r e t u r n to the present has an even more deceptive e f f e c t on the reader's time-sense. 173 •> The interchanges themselves are h i g h l i g h t e d , t h e i r s i g n i f i c a n c e s t r e s s e d , by the way i n which the fragmentation of the n a r r a t i v e i s o l a t e s them from each other. At the same time, t h i s i s o l a t i o n makes the p r o t a g o n i s t ' s memories of the scene appear fragmentary and u n c e r t a i n , c o n t r i b u t i n g to the general sense of doubt as to whether the student's s u s p i c i o n s concerning the American's disappearance are j u s t i f i e d or pu r e l y imaginary. The s t r u c t u r e of the chapter, which can be summarized i n the f o l l o w i n g diagram- — though l e s s fragmented than the two preceding chapters, maintains t h e i r p a t t e r n of f r e e z i n g a scene to r e t u r n to i t a f t e r a long t e x t u a l i n t e r l u d e that represents only the b r i e f e s t of time^-lapses i n the scene i t s e l f . Once again, t h e r e f o r e , one of the main f u n c t i o n s of n a r r a t i v e fragmentation i n t h i s chapter has to do w i t h the rendering of time. J u s t as the s i g h t of the "maitre d'ecole" s t i l l i n the same p o s i t i o n a f t e r rebuttoning h i s j a c k e t connects the f i r s t and t h i r d chapters a f t e r the long i n t e r l u d e of the " R e c i t " , so the t h i r d and f i f t h chapters w i l l be connected by the completion of an a c t i o n (an o l d man and a c h i l d ' s s c a t t e r i n g of a bag of g r a i n f o r the pigeons i n the square), which again has taken only an i n s t a n t but w i l l have been s p l i t i n two by eighty or so pages of t e x t , c a l l i n g a t t e n t i o n t h i s time to the d i s p r o p o r t i o n between the length of a pe r i o d of time and the b r e v i t y of the f l a s h of memory that can conta i n i t . i v . "Dans l a n u i t " This chapter, the s h o r t e s t of the f i v e , i s a l s o the l e a s t fragmented, as the f o l l o w i n g diagram shows: 174 next next meaning memory passage mourning I 1 previous night I t uses a reverse order of n a r r a t i o n , beginning w i t h the morning f o l l o w i n g the f u n e r a l , then r e l a t i n g the events of the previous evening and n i g h t , r e t u r n i n g to the morning i n the f i n a l three l i n e s which lead d i r e c t l y i n t o the f o l l o w i n g chapter. There i s a b r i e f reminder of the p r o t a g o n i s t ' s present s i t u a t i o n towards the centre of the chapter: l ' e t u d i a n t ( c ' e s t - a - d i r e c e l u i q u i a v a i t ete l ' e t u d i a n t ) pouvant l e s entendre ( e ' e s t - a - d i r e , s i , comme on l ' a f f i r m e , un homme est c o n s t i t u e par l a somme de ses experiences, pouvant entendre c e t t e p a r t i e de lui-meme q u i a v a i t l a forme d'un Americain degingande en t r a i n de dialoguer avec c e t t e autre p a r t i e de lui—meme q u i a v a i t l a forme d'un type chauve tous l e s deux se tenant dans c e t t e p a r t i e de lui-mSme q u i a v a i t l a forme d'une p e t i t e place du vi e u x q u a r t i e r ... (p. 156) But otherwise the n a r r a t i o n of the n i g h t i s not i n t e r r u p t e d by the i n t e r -c a l a t i o n of other episodes. The a c t i o n i s minimal — the conversation i n the cafe where the American makes f u r t h e r provocative remarks to the "maitre d'ecole", the student's insomnia, the r e a l or imagined sound of voic e s i n the c o r r i d o r during the n i g h t , the c r i e s of a woman i n a room across the courtyard and the b r i e f glimpse of her as she draws the c u r t a i n across the window. But these events, such as they are, almost v a n i s h behind the elaborate development of the t e x t . In the four-page long d e s c r i p t i o n of the c i g a r pack on which the student focuses h i s a t t e n t i o n i n order to d i s t r a c t himself from h i s a n x i e t y , the reader l o s e s s i g h t of the o r i g i n a l context and s i g n i f i c a n c e of the o b j e c t . The same i s true of the d e s c r i p t i o n of the woman's body as she draws the c u r t a i n , a movement which takes over three pages to de s c r i b e , though i t s d u r a t i o n cannot have been more than a few seconds, and which e f f e c t i v e l y o b l i t e r a t e s the question of the American's 175 whereabouts u n t i l the f i n a l words. In both these i n s t a n c e s , i t i s not that the n a r r a t i v e has been fragmented by the i n t e r r u p t i o n of other episodes, since t h i s chapter u n l i k e the others i s r e s t r i c t e d to one episode and period of time, but that the d e s c r i p t i o n of objects and movements has usurped the r o l e of the a c t i o n , making the n a r r a t i v e disconnected and fragmentary. This tendency was already d i s c e r n a b l e i n the e a r l i e r chapters but i s most pronounced i n "Dans l a n u i t " . No doubt i t can be j u s t i f i e d i n r e a l i s t i c terms as conveying the mood and sensations of i n -somnia, but that would be to ignore the extent to which the t e x t has now become i t s own end, i t s own r a i s o n dj_etre. Le_Palace i s i n some ways the most " t e x t u a l " of the novels of the c e n t r a l p e r i o d , not simply because l i k e La Route and the others i t e x p l o i t s v e r b a l mechanisms of c r e a t i o n and development, but because of the importance assumed by d e s c r i p t i o n at the expense of conventional n a r r a t i o n . v. "Le Bureau des objets perdus" Two t h i r d s of the f i n a l chapter are occupied by the n a r r a t i o n of the student's i n v e s t i g a t i o n of the American's disappearance. In the remainder of the chapter, sequences from past and present a l t e r n a t e , though they overlap to such a degree through t h e i r common elements (the p r o t a g o n i s t ' s nausea, h i s l o c a t i o n on a bench i n the square, the pigeons and trams, the time of day and movement of l i g h t and shade) as to be b a r e l y d i s t i n g u i s h a b l e at times. The n a r r a t i o n of the present, which begins again on page-214 (though there has been a b r i e f n o t a t i o n e a r l i e r on page 187 that i n d i c a t e s the p r o t a g o n i s t ' s present s i t u a t i o n ) , takes up where i t l e f t o f f eighty pages e a r l i e r , w i t h the scene of the o l d man and.the c h i l d feeding the pigeons. This device — the use of an i n s i g n i f i c a n t a c t i o n , t a k i n g place outside the main sequence of events, i n t e r r u p t e d and then resumed many pages l a t e r — 176 creates the i l l u s i o n that the events of the i n t e r v e n i n g pages have occupied only a few seconds i n the pr o t a g o n i s t ' s memory, out of a l l p r o p o r t i o n w i t h t h e i r a c t u a l d u r a t i o n . L i k e the s i m i l a r l y banal d e t a i l s of the t a x i , the "maitre d'ecole" buttoning h i s j a c k e t or the r e p e t i t i o n of "Nosotros?", i t serves to evoke the discrepancy between s u b j e c t i v e and o b j e c t i v e time, i n t h i s instance between r e a l time and the time of memory, the few seconds i n which a complicated sequence of events or a whole p e r i o d of time can f l a s h before the mind's eye. The n a r r a t i v e composition of t h i s f i n a l chapter i s impossible to schematise because of the way i n which past and present overlap i n the f i n a l pages. Sometimes a r e t u r n to past or present i s no more than a sentence i n par e n t h e s i s ; elsewhere a passage may belong- e q u a l l y i n e i t h e r . With the present tense of the l a s t two pages, the two sequences have become one i n a t e x t u a l present that makes a l l t h e i r elements contemporaneous. In t h i s f i n a l chapter, fragmentation becomes subject as w e l l as method, wi t h the d e s c r i p t i o n of a c e r t a i n experience of fragmentation of the s e l f . The student, i n h i s a n x i e t y about the American's disappearance, experiences himself as s p l i t i n two, i n r e a l i t y paralysed by i n d e c i s i o n but i n imagination performing a s e r i e s of a c t i o n s : . . . et q u o i q u ' i l — c ' e s t - a - d i r e son corps — se t i n t toujours immobile devant l a c r o i s e e ouverte, ce quelque chose en l u i q u i n'avait pas besoin d'un corps, de membres pour se mouvoir r e t r a -versant l a chambre, s o r t a n t , reparcourant l e c o u l o i r , comptant une f o i s de plus l e s portes et v e r i f i a n t l e numero sur l a p e t i t e plaque d'email ovale t a n d i s q u ' i l l u i semblait entendre simultanement resonner l e panneau de b o i s sous l'as s a u t f u r i e u x de ses pieds a l o r s que, cramponne de nouveau des deux mains a l a poignee i l t o u r n a i t et secoua i t , t o u r n a i t , s e c o u a i t , f r a p p a i t , t o u r n a i t . . . (p. 182) Even when he does a c t , a part of him i s s t i l l s p l i t o f f as observer: 177 . . . comme s i quelque chose d'autre que sa v o l o n t e : des r e f l e x e s , ses seuls muscles, venaient d'eux-memes au secours de 1 ' e s p r i t d e f a i l l a n t , de s o r t e que tandis que c e l u i - c i en e t a i t encore a se demander comment i l a l l a i t s'y prendre, i l e t a i t deja en t r a i n de se regarder f r a n c h i r l e s e u i l , passer devant l e type en manches de chemise et s'avancer dans l a pil*ce d'un pas nonchalant, en meme temps q u ' i l pouvait entendre sa propre v o i x , nonchalante, d e s i n v o l t e e l l e a u s s i , p a r l a n t pour a i n s i d i r e a l ' e x t e r i e u r de lui-meme, autonome ... (p. 201) This extreme s t a t e of d i s s o c i a t i o n that he f i n d s himself i n because of the strangeness and u n c e r t a i n t y of the s i t u a t i o n i s underlined by the increased d i s j o i n t e d n e s s of the n a r r a t i v e at t h i s p o i n t . I t progresses i n abrupt stages, new phases of the a c t i o n already being described before the reader i s aware that a previous one has ceased, due to the l a c k of connectives or explanations. But such d i s s o c i a t i o n i s riot j u s t the r e s u l t of danger or u n f a m i l i a r surroundings, though both may be seen as^exacerbating i t . I t i s a common experience of the Simonian character i n one form or another. The o l d e r s e l f of the p r o t a g o n i s t experiences a p a r a l l e l fragmentation as he r e l i v e s the past i n imagination, seeing himself from the outside -— " l e double microscopique et l o i n t a i n " (p. 215). This doubling of the p r o t a g o n i s t i s another element of the general fragmentation of the novel: sometimes the two f i g u r e s — " l ' e t u d i a n t " and " c e l u i q u i a v a i t ete l ' e t u d i a n t " — almost completely c o i n c i d e , (as i n those v i s u a l t e s t s where one i s c a l l e d upon to superimpose one f i g u r e upon another so that they merge), but f o r the most part they are not completely overlapping. Behind the f i g u r e of the student on the bench can be glimpsed h i s o l d e r s e l f — l i k e the "gravures g a l a n t e s " underneath the n o t i c e s of meetings, r e s o l u t i o n s and b u l l e t i n s tacked on top of them (pp. 196-197). I t i s not u n t i l the f i n a l pages of the novel that the two selves merge i n t o one, only to disappear as the t e x t grows i n c r e a s i n g l y depersonalized, no longer mediated through a consciousness. 178 The experience of fragmentation goes beyond a mere doubling of the s e l f as actor/observer or older and younger s e l v e s , however. The view of personal i d e n t i t y e x p r e s s e d 1 i n the passage quoted e a r l i e r — that a man i s c o n s t i t u t e d of the sum of h i s experiences -— i s r e i t e r a t e d i n the frequent references to the other characters or elements of the scene as pa r t s or fragments of the p r o t a g o n i s t : . . . sa peau ne c o n s t i t u a i t plus une enveloppe, une se p a r a t i o n entre l ' u n i v e r s exterieur et l u i mais semblait englober i n d i s t i n c t e m e n t comme l e s inseparables p a r t i e s d'un meme tout l e c i e l m e t a l l i q u e , l a monotone et uniforme gangue jaunatre des maisons, l e s gens, l e s odeurs, et ses propres os — d e b o u t done ( c ' e s t - a - d i r e c e t t e p a r t i e de lui-meme q u ' e t a i t son corps) devant une de ces autres p a r t i e s de lui-meme q u i pour 1'instant a v a i t l a forme du personnage a t e t e de chimpanze q u i se t e n a i t a s s i s dans un f a u t e u i l d 'osier t i r e sur l e t r o t t o i r a cote de l a porte de 1'hotel, repetant ( c e t t e p a r t i e de lui-meme q u i e t a i t l ' e t u d i a n t , l'homoncule) encore, pour l a t r o i s i e m e f o i s de l a matinee, l a meme question . . . (p. 216) The passage i s one of many i n the f i n a l part of the book where past and present are so inte r m i n g l e d as to be b a r e l y d i s t i n g u i s h a b l e . But two d i s t i n c t experiences of fragmentation are described, one of which may be common to both moments of the p r o t a g o n i s t ' s l i f e , w h i l e the other belongs more c l e a r l y i n ."the present. The f i r s t seems to de r i v e from the disappearance of the normal boundaries of the s e l f and the r e s u l t a n t perception of ex t e r n a l objects as pa r t s of the same encompassing whole, which leads, however, not to a sense of union w i t h the e x t e r n a l world,,but r a t h e r to a f e e l i n g of gen e r a l i z e d fragmentedness, a sense of u n r e a l i t y which p e r s i s t s throughout the student's search f o r the American. The second type of fragmentation, which belongs c l e a r l y to the present, i s the s t a t e of r e c o l l e c t i o n i t s e l f , i n which the mind r e v i v i f i e s those elements of i t s past which have now become part of i t . The characters of the n o v e l , as we are f r e q u e n t l y reminded, are not r e a l e x i s t i n g beings but "fragments de lui-meme", moving and a c t i n g only i n h i s memory or imagination. The people 179 and places of the past, no longer i n existence or no longer what they were then, s t i l l e x i s t as part of him, fragments i n the mosaic of experiences that have gone into the making of the person he has become. In t h i s l i g h t , the t i t l e of the f i r s t chapter takes on an a d d i t i o n a l s i g n i f i c a n c e : i f the protagonist i s constituted of a l l the elements of h i s past, the Inventory i s not only a catalogue of the f u r n i t u r e i n the o f f i c e or the f i c t i o n a l materials to be developed i n the rest of the novel, but i s also a p o r t r a i t of the protagonist. In an interview several years l a t e r , on the p u b l i c a t i o n of H i s t o i r e , Simon said that he had t r i e d to t e l l " l ' h i s t o i r e d'une sensibilite"... What H i s t o i r e does for a character:'s e n t i r e l i f e , from the moment of conception or even before, Le Palace does for a phase i n the protagonist's existence — the'Aend of adolescence and the loss of i l l u s i o n s , a period p a r a l l e l e d by that of the r e v o l u t i o n i t s e l f as i t i s presented i n the novel — the end of a n a r c h i s t i c l i b e r t a r i a n i s m and idealism. Conclusion The fragmentation of the s e l f described i n the f i n a l chapter of the novel i s a further instance of the generalized fragmentedness of experience i n the works of the c e n t r a l period, which provides a r e a l i s t motivation for t h e i r fragmented narrative composition. Yet while the composition of Le Palace undoubtedly has as one of i t s functions the rendering of t h i s f r a g -mentedness —>in p a r t i c u l a r , the recreation for the reader, through the rhythm and pace of reading, of a c e r t a i n experience of the passage of time — , t h i s novel, l i k e i t s predecessors, i s i n no way l i m i t e d to such psychological realism. It hardly f i t s the d e s c r i p t i o n of a "roman de l a memoire", of which Rousset chose i t as a prime example, for despite the importance of memory as theme, the f i c t i o n a l anchoring of the text i n the s i t u a t i o n of a man r e c o l l e c t i n g and r e l i v i n g h i s past, i t does not o f f e r a rec r e a t i o n of the flow of consciousness, a n d i t s patterns of development are not those of involuntary memory (though i t may occasionally e x p l o i t them), but are, as we have seen, c a r e f u l l y structured to produce other e f f e c t s . It i s not, as i n the case of La Route des Flandres, that the i l l u s i o n we are within a remembering consciousness i s constantly challenged by no n - r e a l i s t pro-cedures, but simply that the text never resembles a stream of consciousness a memory i n action, despite Rousset's claims, which r e a l l y do not stand up to a c a r e f u l reading. The text follows i t s own momentum, erecting on the basis of a handful of memories an elaborate and baroque construction i n words, resembling the Palace i t s e l f . This can be seen i n the degree to which d e s c r i p t i o n has replaced action —: the meagre f i c t i o n seems a mere gesture towards^accommodating the conventional-expectations of the reader -i n the elaborateness of d e t a i l , and i n the concentration on elements that bear l i t t l e r e l a t i o n to plo t or character or any other t r a d i t i o n a l concern of the novel but are there f o r themselves l i k e rococco ornament. In t h i s l i g h t , the fragmentation of the narrative can be seen as a deliberate move towards diminishing i t s importance and granting supremacy to the text. This tendency, le s s apparent i n H i s t o i r e which, as we are going to see, accords f a r greater l a t i t u d e to i t s f i c t i o n a l base and has a much more extensive f i c t i o n a l content, was nonetheless the d i r e c t i o n which was to triumph with La B a t a i l l e de Pharsale and the l a t e r novels, to which Le Palace i s in many ways more closely related. 181 CHAPTER V I I THE MOSAIC OF THE PAST: THE FRAGMENTED TEXT OF "HISTOIRE" . . • l a memoire ne nous r e s t i t u e jamais que des fragments de notre passe. - Vous souvenez-vous de ce manuel d ' h i s t o i r e de M a l l e t et Isaac que nous avions en c l a s s e ? Une de ses i l l u s t r a t i o n s r e p r e s e n t a i t une mosa$que:; l a d e f a i t e de Darius, j e c r o i s . Rien que des morceaux, des fragments. Claude Simon, i n t e r v i e w , Les Nouvelles L i t t e r a i r e s , 29 decembre 1960. J ' a i voulu d i r e 1'histoire'd'une s e n s i b i l i t e , des temps f o r t s subis ou eprouves par quelqu'un q u i marquent une memoire, se reunissent et se rassemblent spontanement. Claude Simon, i n t e r v i e w on p u b l i c a t i o n of H i s t o i r e , Le Figaro L i t t e r a i r e , 6 a v r i l 1967. Of a l l the works of the c e n t r a l p e r i o d , H i s t o i r e most c l o s e l y f i t s the conception of a novel of memory, as Jean Rousset, w r i t i n g of Le Palace, defined i t : . .. .. nous sommes dans une memoire en t r a v a i l et . . . nous a s s i s t o n s a l ' o p e r a t i o n o r i g i n e l l e , a l a r e c o n s t i t u t i o n d'un passe personnel dans une conscience a c t u e l l e . 1 Indeed i t might be s a i d to be the only one that d o e s ' f i t t h i s d e s c r i p t i o n , d e s p i t e Rousset's claims on behalf of the others. For w h i l e both La Route des Flandres and Le Palace are concerned w i t h the r e c o l l e c t i o n of the past, n e i t h e r one, on c a r e f u l examination, r e a l l y l i v e s up to Rousset's use of i t to i l l u s t r a t e h i s conception of the novel of memory: La_Route, because of the way i n which i t s n a r r a t i v e s t r u c t u r e d e l i b e r a t e l y undermines the i l l u s i o n that we are w i t h i n a remembering consciousness, Le Palace, because, f o r a l l i t s interweaving of past and present, much of i t has the f e e l of w r i t t e n n a r r a t i v e and not of an evocation of mental processes. 182 Memory i s a major theme i n both novels, but they are not consistent representations of "une memoire en t r a v a i l " . H i s t o i r e ^ however, seems an almost perfect example of the novel of memory (though i t did not, of course, appear u n t i l several years a f t e r Rousset's a r t i c l e ) . It does not recount the past i n the manner of the memoir type of novel l i k e Adolphe; instead, i t shows the re-emergence of the past i n the protagonist's memory, recording the way i n which the s i g n i f i c a n t moments of h i s l i f e are brought to the surface of h i s mind by the s t i m u l i of the present and the process of association. In place of a continuous chronological nar r a t i v e , shaped by a narrator's retrospective understanding of events, H i s t o i r e o f f e r s a succession of fragmented and discontinuous sequences i n an order governed by i n t e r n a l connections or associations rather than by the place of events i n time. In s t y l e as well as i n structure, i t succeeds i n evoking the nature of memory, with i t s abrupt s h i f t s and i t s predominantly v i s u a l character. There are some d i f f i c u l t i e s , nonetheless, with the i n t e r p r e t a t i o n of H i s t o i r e as a novel of memory. There i s f i r s t the fundamental question as to whether any novel can do more than create an i l l u s i o n of memory, given i t s e s s e n t i a l l y non-verbal character, an i l l u s i o n which may destroy rather than illuminate the mental processes the novel seeks to represent. Secondly, Jean Ricardou has claimed that H i s t o i r e i s even more marked by "discoherence" than La Route because of the double narration which under-mines any r e a l i s t explanation of the text. And, f i n a l l y , the compositional o r i g i n a l i t y of c e r t a i n parts of the book i s not s u f f i c i e n t l y recognized i n any i n t e r p r e t a t i o n that views t h e i r c o l l a g e - l i k e arrangement of fragments of n arrative interspersed with other material s o l e l y i n terms of the representation of consciousness. H i s t o i r e contains a very convincing 183 evocation of the workings of memory, but i t i s also quite c l e a r l y more than that — an exploration of the p o s s i b i l i t i e s of language and composition for t h e i r own sake, r e s u l t i n g i n the combining of elements according to t h e i r formal and thematic connections rather than t h e i r place i n a chronology of events or i n the narrator's consciousness. I. Memory as subject Even more than Georges, l y i n g i n bed with Corinne, or the protagonist of Le Palace, returning f i f t e e n years l a t e r to the scene of a former experience, the narrator of H i s t o i r e f i n d s himself i n a s i t u a t i o n that p r e c i p i t a t e s a flood of memories. He i s at a c r i t i c a l juncture of h i s l i f e , having recently l o s t (or perhaps merely separated from) his wife and r e -turned to the empty and dilapidated family house i n h i s former home town, f i l l e d with r e l i c s and reminders of the past. Obliged through f i n a n c i a l circumstances to mortgage part of the family property and to s e l l some antique f u r n i t u r e , he moves through a day f i l l e d with these and other a c t i v i t i e s , constantly reminded of the past by a l l that he encounters i n the present. The events of the day are not important for themselves, but for the memories they t r i g g e r : the present, i n both i t s t r i v i a l and accidental aspects and i n i t s more s i g n i f i c a n t ones (the c r i s i s i n h i s l i f e ) , plays a c r u c i a l r o l e i n determining which elements of the past w i l l surface i n h i s consciousness. The g r i e f of loss coupled with the return to the f a m i l i a r surroundings of childhood and youth n a t u r a l l y provokes a surge of r e c o l l e c t i o n . Some of these memories he holds on to and t r i e s to r e c a l l more c l e a r l y , l i k e the one of the musical evenings i n h i s home — "Mais exactement, exactement ?" (pp. 78,87); while others, l i k e the recurring image of h i s wife's t e a r - f i l l e d eyes, are too p a i n f u l to be borne and are quickly blocked 184 out. There i s a blank spot at the heart of the novel, f o r the reader never knows for c e r t a i n whether the wife has.died or committed suicide, or perhaps only gone away. The a l l u s i o n s of relatives' and acquaintances, even the narrator's own thoughts of her, allow of a l l these i n t e r p r e t a t i o n s . A l l the other i n d i c a t i o n s are equally ambiguous. Even the obsession with the newspaper headlines of a suicide — "ELLE SE JETTE DU QUATR'IEME ETAGE" — which appear several times i n the text, could point to the narrator's temptation to end h i s own l i f e as much as to the p o s s i b i l i t y that h i s wife has k i l l e d h e r s e l f . In part, t h i s uncertainty arises from one of the more o r i g i n a l features of the novel's evocation of memory: i t s rendering of the "censorship" of p a i n f u l r e c o l l e c t i o n s . This process i s seen most c l e a r l y i n one p a r t i c u l a r instance, a memory of parting at a railway s t a t i o n , that f i r s t appears i n the second chapter as a dream or half-waking image and intrudes more and more frequently and with growing anguish upon the narrator's 2 thoughts i n the l a s t part of the book. Each time, the image of h i s wife i s concentrated i n the d e s c r i p t i o n of her eyes — ses yeux agrandis immenses me f i x a n t mais pas de pleurs lacs seulement immobiles tremblotants. (p. 39) The sequence ends on the following page with the s i n g l e phrase "lacs de larmes" i s o l a t e d i n the middle of an otherwise empty l i n e . When i t next appears, not u n t i l the eleventh chapter where the narrator i s d r i v i n g back to town from the coast, attention i s again focussed on her eyes — * For convenience' sake, I have c a l l e d the novel's twelve d i v i s i o n s "chapters", even though, since they are neither numbered nor t i t l e d and lack the episodic unity of a conventional chapter, some other term might be more appropriate. 185 Yeux immenses me regardant humides mais pas de . . . (p. 322) I t i s followed a page l a t e r by a fantasy of escape; he imagines c o n t i n u i n g to d r i v e without stopping through the n i g h t : . . . et demain matin i l y a u r a i t des montagnes l ' a i r pur de l a neige un l a c avec des v o i l e s doubles a i l e s de mouettes e n t r e c r o i s e e s tout s e r a i t de ce b l e u a l a f o i s l e g e r et profond l e s p i c s l e s g l a c i e r s se r e f l e t a n t j e me r a p p e l l e ce bateau a aubes avec sa cheminee jaune chapeautee de n o i r i n c l i n e e dans J.e c i e l et des banquettes peintes en blanc sur l e pont TRAVERSEE TOUR DU HAUT LAC i l y a u r a i t des enfants avec des sacs d'excursion des c u l o t t e s et des b r e t e l l e s de c u i r l e s genoux nus de grands batons avec des flammes de couleur c r i a i l l a n t se bousculant envahissant 1'embarcadere dans l e s o l e i l de vi e u x messieurs c o i f f e s de panamas un groupe jouant de l'harmonica l e vent du l a c f r o i s s a n t l e s vaporeuses robes des femmes effarouchees l e s plaquant de l e u r s bras contre l e u r s cuisses des mouettes c r i a r d e s . . . yeux humides s c i n t i l l a n t s un tremblotement au bord des c i l s mais pas de . . . v o l e t a n t ga et l a poussant l e u r s c r i s d i s cordants e r a i l l e s sauvages l a tour du vieux chateau se r e f l e t a n t dans l e s eaux t r a n q u i l l e s l e pont se m e t t r a i t a trembler aux p u l s a t i o n s de l a machine j e po u r r a i s s e n t i r ses l a t t e s f r e m i r sous mes pieds l e s roues a aubes commengant a tourner b a t t a n t l'eau avec un b r u i t de moulin et moi me penchant pour l a regarder f u i r ecumeuse se tordant l e long de ses f l a n c s pouvant s e n t i r . . . emouvantes r i d e s q u i . . . l a fade et v e r t e odeur de vase remuee s'elevant f r a l c h e des bouillonnements des reroous l e s t o u r b i l l o n s ramenant a l a surface l e parfum c r o u p i des herbes d'eau i l y a u r a i t des sons d'accordeon des v o i x f r a i c h e s d'enfants i l y a u r a i t j e voudrais . . . (pp. 324-325) I t seems probable that the o r i g i n a l d e s c r i p t i o n of the w i f e ' s t e a r - f i l l e d eyes — " l a c s de larmes" — has generated the fantasy of the lake excursion. This can be seen both as an example of the v e r b a l mechanisms un d e r l y i n g the autonomous development of the t e x t and as the i m i t a t i o n of a p s y c h o l o g i c a l phenomenon: the s u b s t i t u t i o n of an innocuous image f o r an emotionally charged or d i s t u r b i n g one, such as takes place i n dreams and other un^ conscious mental processes. As suggested i n an e a r l i e r chapter, the t e x t u a l and the p s y c h o l o g i c a l i n t e r p r e t a t i o n s are f a r from being incompatible and t h i s i s a case where the same mechanisms that produce the t e x t a l s o serve 186 a s o p h i s t i c a t e d p s y c h o l o g i c a l f u n c t i o n . The fragmentation of the n a r r a t i v e and the interweaving of the two sequences has a c l e a r p s y c h o l o g i c a l s i g n i f i c a n c e i n t h i s i n s t a n c e . In the f i r s t p l a c e , i t i s a means of overcoming the l i m i t a t i o n s of a l i n e a r t e x t i n order to create a sense of the s i m u l t a n e i t y of d i f f e r e n t mental a c t i v i t i e s . As Simon s a i d i n an i n t e r v i e w a f t e r the p u b l i c a t i o n of H i s t o i r e : 3 "Tant de choses c o e x i s t e n t et s'interpen&trent dans notre conscience!" This passage o f f e r s a p a r t i c u l a r l y v i v i d and e f f e c t i v e example of h i s attempt to render that i n t e r p e n e t r a t i o n , both through the l i t e r a l i n s e r t i o n of one sequence i n t o another, and through the i n t e r n a l echoes that connect them. The " p u l s a t i o n s de l a machine" (p. 325) i n the lakesteamer sequence r e c a l l those of the t r a i n i n the s t a t i o n p a r t i n g scene a page or so e a r l i e r — " l a machine h a l e t a i t regulierement" (p. 322). The n a r r a t o r imagines watching the wake of the steamer — "me penchant pour l a regarder f u i r " , a phrase which r e c a l l s the wif e ' s departure. These and other echoes suggest the underlying presence of the p a r t i n g scene i n the n a r r a t o r ' s consciousness as he t r i e s to block i t out w i t h the lak e fantasy. The mass of d e t a i l i n the fantasy, i n co n t r a s t w i t h the fragmentariness of the memory and i t s truncated phrases, suggests the urgency w i t h which he i s attempting to erase i t from h i s mind. In the image of the muddy depths s t i r r e d up by the paddle steamer — . . . l e s t o u r b i l l o n s ramenant a l a surface l e parfum c r o u p i des herbes d'eau . . . (p. 325) there i s an analogy f o r the whole process. Beneath the smooth surface l i e the troubled depths from which memories are dredged up. 187 The phrase w i t h which the passage ends — " j e v o u d r a i s . . . " •— w i l l recur nine times i n the remainder of the book (pp. 345, 350 x 2, 365 x 3, 369, 387 and 388), sometimes accompanied by the p a r t i n g scene or the l a k e fantasy, sometimes i n i s o l a t i o n , but always suggestive of the attempt to block out the unbearable, to escape from the p a i n of r e c o l l e c t i o n : once a f t e r the d e s c r i p t i o n of a c o f f i n being lowered i n t o a grave (p. 345), again at the thought of f a c i n g another day (p. 350), then a f t e r a d e s c r i p t i o n of the scene between the couple ( a l t e r n a t e l y Charles and h i s w i f e or the n a r r a t o r and Hel&ne), l y i n g i n bed i n a darkened.room t a l k i n g of the husband's a f f a i r w i t h a model (p. 369). But i t s most poignant expression comes i n the f o l l o w i n g passage: . . . p a r e i l l e a une de ces choses dessechees, mortes, ces couronnes de mariees que l e s v i e i l l e s femmes conservent a l ' a b r i de globes de v e r r e , se decomposant lentement dans l'odeur de renferme, sure, cadaverique des chambres c l o s e s , l e formidable s i l e n c e de . . . j e voudrais j e voudrais j e voudrais s i j e pouvais l ' e n l e v e r l ' a r r a c h e r de moi re t r o u v e r l a fraxcheur l ' o u b l i D e j a n i r e l e s coins de sa bouche tremblant legerement s'abaissant se r e l e v a n t de facon imperc e p t i b l e t r e s v i t e me regardant l e s yeux arr o n d i s n o i r s b r i l l a n t s j e d i s Mais nous ne pouvons pas nous perdre . . . (p. 365) Although the metaphor of the decaying b r i d a l wreath i s a c t u a l l y a p p l i e d to the c i t y of Barcelona, where the hopes of r e v o l u t i o n are dying w i t h the naval blockade, i t leads n a t u r a l l y to the s t a t i o n p a r t i n g scene, symbol of the death of the n a r r a t o r ' s marriage. The phrases "chambres c l o s e s " and "formidable s i l e n c e " are r e p e t i t i o n s of key-phrases from the scene between the couple i n the darkened bedroom and the p a r t i n g scene, and are thus associated i n the t e x t w i t h the n a r r a t o r ' s two most p a i n f u l memories. The b r i d a l wreath i t s e l f c a l l s up other images from e a r l i e r sequences — of Helene "couronnee de roses" (p. 113), of Corinne as an adolescent t r y i n g on the wreath of white roses f o r her solemn communion (p. 143), both e r o t i c and romantic images, but a l s o of the "couronnes demantibulees" i n the 188 cemetery described i n Charles' l e t t e r about h i s w i f e ' s grave (p. 131). Thus a few words s u f f i c e to suggest the.memories u n d e r l y i n g the sur f a c e , which emerge i n e v i t a b l y d e s p i t e the n a r r a t o r ' s e f f o r t s to evade them. The reference to D e j a n i r a s t r e s s e s t h e i r inescapable character: the w i f e of Hercules, b e l i e v i n g him u n f a i t h f u l , sent him ( i n the mistaken b e l i e f that i t contained a love-charm) a poisoned garment which once put on could not be taken o f f , l e a d i n g him to commit s u i c i d e i n order to escape I t s torments. The a l l u s i o n suggests the degree of pain and remorse the n a r r a t o r f e e l s at the thought of h i s w i f e , as w e l l as the i n e s c a p a b i l i t y of her memory. This time the attempt at b l o c k i n g i t out f a i l s , as the desperation of the t h r i c e repeated " j e v o u d r a i s " i n d i c a t e s , and the p a r t i n g scene returns to dominate the t e x t along w i t h other memories of Helene i n the succeeding pages. As a novel of memory, H i s t o i r e captures not only the processes of a s s o c i a t i o n that r e s u r r e c t the fragments of the past, but a l s o the defence mechanisms that the mind sets i n motion i n order to escape p a i n f u l or d i s t u r b i n g memories. The novel i s p a r t i c u l a r l y s u c c e s s f u l i n conveying the poignancy of memory, i t s p a i n f u l v i v i d n e s s , the t e n a c i t y w i t h which c e r t a i n images r e t u r n and reawaken past f e e l i n g . In p a r t , t h i s i s due to the n a r r a t o r ' s s i t u a t i o n and experience, f o r death i s the common theme of many of h i s memories: the t r a g i c a l l y e a r l y deaths of h i s parents, the apparent s u i c i d e of h i s aunt — . . . j ' a i grandi dans l e s lamentations l e s h i s t o i r e s d'hypotheques et l'odeur du crepe . . . (p. 76) as w e l l as the unstated but probable death of h i s w i f e . But, as a l l Simon's w r i t i n g emphasizes, i t i s i n the nature of memory, even of happy t h i n g s , to have a c e r t a i n poignancy, s i n c e i t i s a reminder of what i s i r r e v o c a b l y past, of the f l i g h t of time, and of m o r t a l i t y . I t i s t h i s 189 aspect of memory that i s uppermost i n H i s t o i r e . Jean Rousset remarks of the image of memory i n Simon's novels: Cette memoire est t r e s l o i n de d e t e n i r l e s p r i v i l e g e s que Proust r e c o n n a i s s a i t a sa memoire heureuse, e l l e ne peut n i dominer l e temps, n i posseder un passe p l e i n et complet, 4 Far from being a source of almost m y s t i c a l j o y as i t i s to Proust's n a r r a t o r , memory f o r the Simonian character i s more o f t e n accompanied.by melancholy or s e l f - d e p r e c a t o r y i r o n y . The prot a g o n i s t of Le Palace, t y p i c a l l y , sees himself i n memory as f o l l o w s : . . . ce r e s i d u de lui-meme, ou p l u t o t c e t t e trace,, c e t t e s a l i s s u r e (cet excrement en quelque sorte) l a i s s e e d e r r i e r e s o i : d e r i s o i r e personnage que l'on v o i t s ' a g i t e r r i d i c u l e et presomptueux, la-bas, tires l o i n , comme dans l e p e t i t bout de l a l o r g n e t t e , g e s t i c u l a n t , repetant eternellement a l a demande de l a memoire (et meme sans sa demande: f a i s a n t i r r u p t i o n sans meme y a v o i r ete i n v i t e , comme ces acteurs, ces cabots de cinema morts et o u b l i e s depuis b e l l e l u r e t t e et toujours prets a f a i r e r e v i v r e sans f i n sur l ' e c r a n s c i n t i l l a n t l a meme stupide scene de seduction ou d'herolsme . . . (Le Palace, p. 20) The language i s p a r t i c u l a r l y strong here and the r e j e c t i o n of the younger s e l f more v i o l e n t than i n H i s t o i r e , though there too, s i g n i f i c a n t l y , i t i s the episode of the Spanish C i v i l War that provokes the greatest i r o n y , expressed through the a l t e r ego, Uncle Charles. But the n a r r a t o r ' s a t t i t u d e to the past and to h i s younger s e l f , though s t i l l mocking, i s tempered w i t h understanding i n the l a t e r n o v e l . But i f memory i s not a source of l y r i c a l c e l e b r a t i o n . f o r the Simonian character, i t i s above a l l because i t does not o f f e r that t o t a l r e s t i t u t i o n of the past that the P r o u s t i a n n a r r a t o r experiences through the madeleine and other s t i m u l i , but merely a succession of fragments. The snapshot of the a r t i s t ' s s t u d i o , which has almost a c c i d e n t a l l y preserved an i s o l a t e d moment i n a whole period of Charles' l i f e , o f f e r s an analogy f o r memory: 190 . . . l a mauvaise photographie, t i r e e sur un papier trop dur donnant au corps nu et pourtant i r r e c u s a b l e un supplement d ' i r r e a l i t e en l e p r i v a n t de ces demi-teihtes, ces r e f l e t s q u i , dans, l a v i s i o n n a t u r e l l e , r e l i e n t . t o u t objet a ceux qui l'entourent . . . . . l e f l o u de l a mauvaise mise au p o i n t acheve de donner au tout cet aspect un peu fantomatique des dessins executes.au f u s a i n et a l'estompe et ou l e s contours ne sont pas d e l i m i t e s par un t r a i t mais ou l e s volumes apparaissent s a i l l a n t hors de 1'ombre ou s'y enfoncant tour a tour comme dans l a memoire, c e r t a i n e s p a r t i e s en p l e i n e lumiere d'autres . . . (p. 283) The u n f i n i s h e d phrase and the suspension p o i n t s convey the fragmentariness of memory; only c e r t a i n moments of the past are v i s i b l e , the r e s t fade i n t o the shadows l i k e c e r t a i n parts of the photograph. And>what stands out is.consequently a l i t t l e d i s t o r t e d and not q u i t e true to l i f e because i t i s cut o f f from i t s background, l i k e the model i n the photograph. I t i s t h i s aspect of memory which Is most e f f e c t i v e l y rendered by the fragmented n a r r a t i v e composition of H i s t o i r e , i n i t s succession of b r i e f d i s j o i n t e d images of the n a r r a t o r ' s l i f e , l i n k e d to each other not by t h e i r order i n time, but by a system of a f f i n i t i e s and a s s o c i a t i o n s that i m i t a t e s the process of r e c o l l e c t i o n : . . . l e s elements e c l a t e s , d i s s o c i e s se regroupent se l o n l e foisonnant et rigoureux desordre de l a memoire . . . (p. 273) In i t s s t y l e and composition, i n the v i s i b l e fragmentation of the t e x t , H i s t o i r e more than any other novel of the c e n t r a l p e r i o d embodies the i d e a expressed i n Le Vent of the past as a broken m i r r o r of which only s c a t t e r e d fragments can be recovered. I I . Memory and language A b r i e f e x e r c i s e i n i n t r o s p e c t i o n i s s u f f i c i e n t to r e v e a l that memory at i t s most b a s i c l e v e l i s e s s e n t i a l l y non-verbal: a r a p i d and somewhat b l u r r e d mental impression, most f r e q u e n t l y v i s u a l but a l s o a u d i t o r y or o l f a c t o r y , more r a r e l y t a c t i l e or gustatory, seems to co n t a i n encoded a whole i n c i d e n t or period of one's l i f e , which can then be v e r b a l l y r e -191 c o n s t i t u t e d i n a secondary phase of remembering. Words may be present i n the primary phase but are g e n e r a l l y l i m i t e d to snatches of dialogue or i d e n t i f i c a t o r y labels.~* A t e x t can describe or analyse t h i s process but, to some degree, p u t t i n g i t i n t o words may d i s t o r t the o r i g i n a l wordless phenomenon by c r e a t i n g the f a l s e impression that i t was v e r b a l i n character from the s t a r t . Almost i n e v i t a b l y , the d e s c r i p t i o n of a memory w i l l take longer than.the f l e e t i n g impression i t s e l f , a n d . i t s g l o b a l character w i l l be l o s t by being t r a n s l a t e d i n t o the sequence of language. But, as the n a r r a t o r ' s uncle remarks i n connection w i t h the i m p o s s i b i l i t y of expressing c e r t a i n experiences: ". . . et pourtant t u ne disposes que de mots, a l o r s tout ce que tu peux essayer de f a i r e . . . " ". . . j e veux d i r e que tout ce que t u peux f a i r e c'est d'essayer de mettre l'un apres l ' a u t r e des sons q u i . . . " (pp. 152,155) The very way i n which the words t a i l o f f i n t o s i l e n c e i s i t s e l f eloquent, u n d e r l i n i n g the speaker's sense of the f u t i l i t y of the e n t e r p r i s e , a view o f t e n found i n Simon's d e c l a r a t i o n s on the n o v e l — although so much of h i s w r i t i n g succeeds so b r i l l i a n t l y i n t r a n s l a t i n g the raw s t u f f of experience (perception and sensation) i n t o words, that the novels themselves b e l i e t h e i r author's s t a t e d views. Many s t y l i s t i c f e atures of H i s t o i r e c l e a r l y d e r i v e from an attempt to overcome t h i s dilemma. Chief among them i s the fragmentation of the sentence u n i t , which p a r a l l e l s that of the n a r r a t i v e on the l a r g e r l e v e l . Such fea t u r e s as the frequent omission of the a r t i c l e , the breaking up of s y n t a c t i c a l u n i t s (subject and verb, demonstrative and noun), sometimes by the i n t e r r u p t i o n of other m a t e r i a l but more o f t e n by the phrase being abandoned incomplete, a l l c o n t r i b u t e to a ge n e r a l i z e d fragmentation of the 192 t e x t . This fragmentation i s enhanced t y p o g r a p h i c a l l y by the unorthodox use of i n d e n t a t i o n : that i s , not to denote a paragraph (a complete and inde-pendent u n i t of n a r r a t i v e ) , but to create a succession of fragments, ranging from the i s o l a t e d phrase to the longer block of words, marked by incompleteness of syntax as w e l l as content, and o f t e n terminated by suspension p o i n t s , as already noted i n s e v e r a l examples. A p r i n c i p a l e f f e c t of t h i s fragmentation i s to suggest the d i s c o n t i n u i t y and fragmentariness of memory. But i n a d d i t i o n , the fragmentedness of the language and i t s infringement of s y n t a c t i c a l norms are means of conveying the non-verbal character of memory. This i s the case, f o r i n s t a n c e , i n the f o l l o w i n g passages, where an abbreviated n o t a t i o n l a c k i n g the a r t i c u l a t i o n s of r e g u l a r syntax i s used to create the impression of a wordless f l a s h of memory: (leger t i s s u couleur de f r u i t s .de--.feui.lles tache sous ses a i s s e l l e s a r r e t e e devant c e t t e v i t r i n e q u ' e l l e f a i s a i t semblant de regarder V i s i t e tous l e s j o u r s sauf l e l u n d i de 9h a 16h, dim. de 9h a 13h; samedi de 20h a 23h, essaim d ' a i l e s n i d comme s i l e mot l u i -meme e t a i t p l e i n de battements de froissements f e u i l l u soyeux b r u i — ssant des plumes s'envolant de sous ses . . . (p. 115) Yeux q u i semblaient envahir son visage s ' e t a l e r gagner comme des taches s'agrandissant envahissant A un moment nous avons du nous e c a r t e r pour l a i s s e r passer un p e t i t t r a i n de c h a r i o t s l e timbre a v e r t i s s e u r t i n t a n t sans a r r e t impetfieux furibond (p. 370) c e r i s i e r sauvage dans l e mur ecroule du portique. A i g r e s . P a r o i s i n t e r i e u r e s de l a bouche q u i semblent se r e t r a c t e r , se to r d r e T'en f a i s une grimace! Sur sa jambe l ' e g r a t i g n u r e sechee.avait l a forme d'un p e t i t carre i r r e g u l i e r s t r i e de r a i e s p a r a l l e l e s p o i n t i l l e e s chaque p o i n t c o n s t i t u e par une microscopique goutte de sang coagule Baronne C e r i s e (p. 380) 193 Depuis q u ' i l a f a i t c o n s t r u i r e c e t t e v i l l a i l f i l e la-bas a u s s i t o t q u ' i l peut s ' i n s t a l l e r sur l a t e r r a s s e a l'ombre des pins avec pour tout costume l e meme et i n v a r i a b l e short crasseux et surtout un chapeau pour l e cas ou un malheureux rayon de s o l e i l p a s s e r a i t a tr a v e r s l e s arbres eclusant whiskies sur whiskies en regardant me rappelant ces chapeaux en c o u t i l blanc piqu£ q u ' i l nous f a l l a i t absolument garder une b r i d e passant sous l e menton comme s i l e s o l e i l e t a i t quelque chose de mortel Sans doute est-ce de c e t t e epoque q u ' i l a garde c e t t e habitude t e r r e u r inculquee par grand-mere du s o l e i l en meme temps que l' h o r r e u r a l l e r g i q u e de l'eau f r o i d e . . . (p. 233) A l l but the l a s t of these passages have been quoted i n f u l l to show t h e i r character as fragments on the page. (The l a s t has been c u r t a i l e d as i t turns i n t o a scene l a s t i n g a page and a h a l f . ) The fe a t u r e that the f i r s t three (and the indented s e c t i o n of the fourth) have i n common i s that they a l l open w i t h a noun or noun phrase not preceded by an a r t i c l e . This i s a s t y l i s t i c t r a i t which seems e s p e c i a l l y frequent i n H i s t o i r e ; The absence of the a r t i c l e and the i n d e n t a t i o n of the phrase create a sense of d i s c o n t i n u i t y , and h i g h l i g h t the noun, which thus emerges i n the t e x t w i t h the abruptness of a memory s u r f a c i n g i n the mind. This process i s f u l l y v i s i b l e i n the f o u r t h example (rather awkwardly so, i n f a c t ) , where the s y n t a c t i c a l u n i t "ces chapeaux" i s broken up to place the noun i n the h i g h l i g h t e d p o s i t i o n a t the beginning of a new b l o c k of t e x t , and the words "me rappelant" c l e a r l y i n d i c a t e the emergence of a memory. I n v a r i a b l y concrete, such i n i t i a l nouns are o f t e n q u a l i f i e d by a v i v i d d e s c r i p t i v e phrase which imparts to the passage the q u a l i t y of a v i s u a l memory, as i n the f o l l o w i n g a d d i t i o n a l examples, chosen at random: archet i n c l i n e couleur acajou descendant lentement de l a gauche vers l a d r o i t e . . . (p. 87) l'opulente masse de l i e r r e retombant par-dessus l a murette . . . (p. 93) 194 main tavelee et maigre l a s a i s i s s a n t . . . (p. 151) bouche de mort edentee mastiquant l a b o u i l l i e blanche grumeleuse . . . (p. 204) seins blancs b l e u a t r e s entre l e s pans coq de roche du kimono . . . (p. 374) seins sous sa robe couleur de f r u i t s de peehes v e r t rose . . . (p. 384) The sharpness of the f i r s t d e t a i l i s o f t e n i n con t r a s t w i t h the i m p r e c i s i o n of the r e s t , which i s another c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of many memory images. The famous present p a r t i c i p l e s , much i n evidence i n a l l the passages quoted above, add to the fragmentedness of the s t y l e by the a i r of incompleteness they impart to a phrase from which a f i n i t e verb i s l a c k i n g . As Claude Simon himself has o f t e n pointed out, they are p a r t i c u l a r l y s u i t e d to the rendering of memory because they are atemporal and can s t r a d d l e past and present, u n l i k e a tense which s i t u a t e s an a c t i o n i n one or the other. Simon once s a i d that only the r i s k of monotony prevented him from using the present p a r t i c i p l e throughout. I t has the a d d i t i o n a l advantage of not r e q u i r i n g a subject pronoun, thus enabling i t to express the ambiguous s t a t u s of the s e l f i n memory — both subject remembering and object remembered, observer and a c t o r . Other elements of the s t y l e of these passages, such as the u n i d e n t i f i e d pronouns and p r i v a t e a s s o c i a t i o n s , belong to the common stock of stream of consciousness devices, too well-known to need a n a l y s i s here. While the t y p o g r a p h i c a l d i v i s i o n of the t e x t i n t o fragmentary blocks of words creates a v i s i b l e d i s c o n t i n u i t y , other f e a t u r e s , such as the con s i s t e n t absence of the i n i t i a l c a p i t a l at the s t a r t of a fragment, and the suspension p o i n t s or t o t a l l a c k of punctuation at the end, seem on the contrary to eschew the conventional d i v i s i o n s of the w r i t t e n language, imparting a c e r t a i n p a r a d o x i c a l c o n t i n u i t y to an otherwise discontinuous 195 t e x t . This apparent c o n t r a d i c t i o n i s e a s i l y r e s o l v e d i f the p l a y of c o n t i n u i t y and d i s c o n t i n u i t y i s seen as rendering d i f f e r e n t aspects of consciousness. When asked what purpose h i s long phrases served, Simon r e p l i e d : De rendre c e t t e espece de magma qu'est notre v i e mentale, l a per-c e p t i o n confuse, m u l t i p l e et simultanee que nous avons du monde. Tant de choses c o e x i s t e n t et s ' i n t e r p e n e t r e n t dans notre conscience! Le p o i n t , l a phrase courte amenent des cesures, coupent ce q u i n'est pas coupe dans l a r e a l i t e mentale. 7 Punctuation and the standard d i v i s i o n s i n t o sentence and paragraph impose an a r t i f i c i a l order on the r e p r e s e n t a t i o n of consciousness, s e p a r a t i n g things that are interconnected, t r a n s l a t i n g i n t o a sequence things that i n r e a l i t y c o e x i s t simultaneously. The a b o l i t i o n of the orthodox d i v i s i o n s . of w r i t t e n language i s thus a p a r t i a l means of suggesting.that s i m u l t a n e i t y , w h i l e the unorthodox d i v i s i o n s w i t h which they are replaced make i t p o s s i b l e to convey the m u l t i p l i c i t y and interconnectedness of mental phenomena, e i t h e r through the breaking up and interweaving of two or more sequences, or through the j u x t a p o s i t i o n of a s e r i e s of b r i e f fragments — both c h a r a c t e r i s t i c compositional devices of. H i s t o i r e . C o n t i n u i t y and d i s c o n t i n u i t y can thus be seen as r e l a t e d aspects of the t e x t , s e r v i n g the same end, that of rendering the complex l i f e of the mind. In an i n t e r e s t i n g a r t i c l e on the composition of H i s t o i r e , Gerard Roubichou r e l u c t a n t l y acknowledges the p l a u s i b i l i t y of such a view: Dans l a mesure . . . ou. H i s t o i r e est marque par une.recherche quelque peu entachee de psychologie ( i l s ' a g i t b i e n d'une conscience •— l e j e du narrateur — en l u t t e avec un passe et un present fragmentaires, c e t t e t e n s i o n entre continu et d i s c o n t i n u p o u r r a i t s'expliquer par l e s c a r a c t e r i s t i q u e s de 1 ' e s p r i t et de l a memoire dont nous p a r l a i e n t l e s romans precedents et que Montes r e p r e s e n t a i t admirablement: f r a g -mentarite du souvenir, c o u r t s - c i r c u i t s , a s s o c i a t i o n s , t e n t a t i v e s de r e l i e r l e s d i f f e r e n t s fragments, e t c . En ce sens, l e t e x t e d i s c o n t i n u d ' H i s t o i r e s e r a i t une remarquable machine mimetique de ces f a i t s , v i suellement s e n s i b l e s dans l a m a t e r i a l i t e de l a page -— de l a meme facon que b i e n d'autres moments de l'oeuvre t e n t e r a i e n t de rendre compte, dans l e s l i m i t e s de l a l i n e a r i t e , de l a s i m u l t a n e i t e des sensations et des n o t a t i o n s . . ., des images et des souvenirs . . . 196 ou, dans un autre ordre d'idees, que l a t r a n s c r i p t i o n d'un contenu de conscience s e r a i t a l a base de l'absence de ponctuation . . . But having thus most e f f e c t i v e l y summarized the evidence f o r i n t e r p r e t i n g H i s t o i r e as a novel of memory, he refuses to accept i t : II serait vain de s e l i m i t e r a c e t t e i n t e r p r e t a t i o n q u i donnerait presque au te x t e lui-meme une v a l e u r r e a l i s t e , p u i s q u ' i l t r a d u i r a i t en l e mimant, l e contenu d'une memoire ou d'un e s p r i t . Ce s e r a i t o u b l i e r l e t r a v a i l de/sur l e texte que represente l a mise en pages du l i v r e et qui — sans chereher a se f a i r e passer pour une t r a n s c r i p t i o n de phenomenes mentaux — f a i t p a r t i e de son " p r o j e t " , p u i s q u ' i l se donne a l i r e — en ce sens q u ' i l est une "donnee du l i ( v ) r e " . 8 Of course Roubichou i s r i g h t i n i n s i s t i n g that to see H i s t o i r e s o l e l y as a novel of memory i s too l i m i t i n g an approach to the work. While there are many parts of the t e x t where both language and s t r u c t u r e c l e a r l y serve to evoke mental processes, there are other extended s e c t i o n s of the book i n which the language has none of the c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of a stream of con-sciousness s t y l e but on the contrary manifests a r h e t o r i c a l eloquence and e l a b o r a t i o n c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of w r i t t e n language and not of "inner speech". The i l l u s i o n that we are w i t h i n another consciousness i s not r i g o r o u s l y main tained throughout, and i n c e r t a i n chapters, as we s h a l l see, the te x t f o l l o w s i t s own autonomous d i r e c t i o n without c l o t h i n g i t s e l f i n a r e a l i s t d i s g u i s e . w.. ,„...... But Roubichou i s perhaps unduly d o c t r i n a i r e i n h i s r e l u c t a n c e to concede that many of the novel's most t y p i c a l f eatures serve the goal of p s y c h o l o g i c a l r e a l i s m , or that such an e n t e r p r i s e might be worth t a k i n g s e r i o u s l y . For s u r e l y no reader can dispute that c e r t a i n p a r t s of the te x t are pure stream of consciousness and a p a r t i c u l a r l y s u c c e s s f u l example of i t at that.*' And the " t r a v a i l de/sur l e t e x t e " that Roubichou invokes as counter evidence i s not t o t a l l y incompatible w i t h the evocation of mental phenomena, but seems r a t h e r to grow n a t u r a l l y out of i t , perhaps because as E i s e n s t e i n maintained ( i n the passage from F i l m Form and The F i l m Sense 197 quoted i n an e a r l i e r c h apter), the laws governing "inner speech" and a r t i s t i c c r e a t i o n are the same, both based on p r i n c i p l e s of a s s o c i a t i o n ; or perhaps because i n attempting to re c r e a t e mental processes i n words, the w r i t e r n a t u r a l l y tends to have recourse to t h e i r v e r b a l mechanisms such as a s s o c i a t i o n , double meaning, and so on, and consequently the stream of consciousness novel e a s i l y veers towards the e x p l o r a t i o n of the p o s s i b i l i t i e s of language f o r t h e i r own sake. U l y s s e s , to take the obvious example, i s i n f i n i t e l y more than a stream of consciousness n o v e l ; through p a s t i c h e , parody and other forms of v e r b a l p l a y , i t e x p l o i t s many l e v e l s of language, co n s c i o u s l y e l a b o r a t i n g a t e x t . Even i n the stream of consciousness sequences, there are many moments when the language b u r s t s out of the confines of an i n d i v i d u a l consciousness to f o l l o w i t s own momentum. Yet i t i s , nonetheless, an a s t o n i s h i n g evocation, of the .inner l i f e , as w e l l as a s e l f - c o n s c i o u s t e x t i n v e n t i n g i t s e l f before the reader's eyes and demanding to be read as te x t and not as an i l l u s i o n of r e a l i t y . To deny or denigrate one of these aspects of the work out of a greater esteem f o r the other would s u r e l y be to deform i t s whole nature. The same holds true of H i s t o i r e i n my view. In many places the t e x t develops i t s own momentum, e x p l o r i n g the p o s s i b i l i t i e s of a word or image, a l l o w i n g them to determine the course of the n a r r a t i v e . There i s an example of t h i s i n one of the passages quoted e a r l i e r , where the word " a i s s e l l e s " i n the d e s c r i p t i o n of Helene gives r i s e to the f o l l o w i n g l i n e s : . . . essaim d ' a i l e s n i d comme s i l e mot lui-meme e t a i t p l e i n de battements de froissements f e u i l l u soyeux b r u i s s a n t des plumes s'envolant de sous ses . . . (p. 115) The e x p l o r a t i o n of language f o r i t s own sake i s e x p l i c i t l y engaged i n here, but w h i l e t h i s passage and others l i k e i t c l e a r l y r e f l e c t the autonomous c r e a t i v e processes w i t h i n the t e x t r a t h e r than the n a r r a t o r ' s personal 198 thoughts, they never reach the poi n t of ta k i n g over the book or becoming i t s e n t i r e substance, as i n the case of the novel that was to follow;, La B a t a i l l e de Pharsale. The p s y c h o l o g i c a l context mainly p r e v a i l s . . U n l i k e ULysses, which departs from the stream of consciousness mode f o r lengthy i n t e r v a l s , to e x p l o i t w i t h conscious i r o n y and p l a y f u l n e s s other n a r r a t i o n a l p o s s i -b i l i t i e s , the n a r r a t i v e of H i s t o i r e remains f a r more c o n s i s t e n t l y (though by no means t o t a l l y ) w i t h i n the framework.of i t s n a r r a t o r ' s consciousness. Even the postcards and the quotations from other t e x t s , which have the q u a l i t y of extraneous m a t e r i a l that at times threatens to take over the t e x t , do not present a serious challenge to the r e a l i s t coherence of the n a r r a t i v e because they are accounted f o r i n r e a l i s t terms: the postcards are found by the n a r r a t o r when he empties the drawers of the chest he has s o l d , and the quotations are from the books of h i s schooldays. Although i n c e r t a i n chapters, both cards and quotations are used f o r t h e i r i n t r i n s i c i n t e r e s t i n a c o l l a g e - l i k e composition that departs e n t i r e l y from the stream of consciousness mode, t h i s does not undermine the p s y c h o l o g i c a l r e a l i s m of other parts of the book. There i s , however, one aspect of the novel that has been seen as a subversion of r e a l i s t coherence, and that i s the problematic status of the n a r r a t i o n i n c e r t a i n sequences where the " j e " appears to be double. Given the ambiguity that then a r i s e s as to the i d e n t i t y of the n a r r a t o r , and the l o g i c a l i m p o s s i b i l i t y that two people have had the i d e n t i c a l experience, has the r e a l i s t i l l u s i o n been d e l i b e r a t e l y undermined ? Is the double n a r r a t i o n a device that destroys the i l l u s i o n of another consciousness, f o r c i n g the r e c o g n i t i o n of the te x t as t e x t ? L i k e the i n c o m p a t i b i l i t y of the three frames i n La Route des Flandres, t h i s i s a problem that r e q u i r e s c a r e f u l c o n s i d e r a t i o n . 199 I I I . The indeterminate " I " Although much has been made of the "dedoublement n a r r a t i f " i n H i s t o i r e 9 by Jean Ricardou and others, i t i s l i m i t e d i n f a c t to two sequences: ( i ) the transformation i n Chapter 10 i n t o a " l i v e d " experience of the photograph of a p a i n t e r ' s s t u d i o described at l e n g t h throughout Chapter 9; ( i i ) the scene i n a darkened bedroom where a husband and w i f e acknowledge the r i f t i n t h e i r marriage caused by the husband's a f f a i r w i t h a young model, presumably the one described i n the snapshot of the s t u d i o . The v i s i t o r to the s t u d i o — " l e studieux jeune homme" -— and the husband i n the bedroom sequence are one and the same person, who at f i r s t appears to be the n a r r a t o r ' s uncle Charles and then seems to be the n a r r a t o r h i m s e l f . I t i s worth examining i n some d e t a i l e x a c t l y how t h i s ambiguity i s brought about. The p a r a l l e l between uncle and nephew has been i n d i c a t e d as e a r l y as the t h i r d chapter, w i t h the n a r r a t o r ' s i r o n i c remark to the i n d i s c r e e t l y curious o l d acquaintance that widowhood i s a f a m i l y t r a d i t i o n (p. 69), suggesting that he, l i k e h i s uncle before him, i s now a widower. I t i s f u r t h e r developed i n the f i f t h and s i x t h chapters of the n o v e l , where the n a r r a t o r r e c a l l s h i s experience i n the Spanish C i v i l War, not at f i r s t d i r e c t l y but through a remembered or imagined conversation w i t h h i s uncle, i n which the uncle acts as i r o n i c n a r r a t o r of the nephew's experience: Comment as-tu d i t que c ' e t a i t ? : vous preniez vos repas dans c e t t e s a l l e a manger de palace, a s s i s sur des chaises Louis XVI habituees j u s q u e - l a aux fesses des m i l l i a r d a i r e s males et femelles anglo-saxons ou sud-ame... et moi: Non: des bancs. Les chaises. . . ... . avaient sans doute ete t r a n s p o r t e r s dans une ecole ou un j a r d i n p u b l i c . Apres tout i l f a u t b i e n que l e s r e v o l u t i o n s et l e s guerres apportent quelques changements. Et t o i jeune ch i e n , v a i l l a n t boy-scout a s s i s l a entre un p i s t o l e r o i t a l i e n et un . . . (pp. 147, 148) 200 In the f o l l o w i n g chapter, s t i l l using the second person s i n g u l a r , he r e -counts or r a t h e r r e c o n s t r u c t s the s t r e e t - f i g h t i n g i n c i d e n t as though he had been present (pp. 173-174), u n t i l the nephew ceases to r e c a l l t h i s conversation and t r i e s to recapture the o r i g i n a l i n c i d e n t i t s e l f — "Comment e t a i t - c e ?" •— and the n a r r a t i o n returns to the f i r s t person. The procedure i s explained p s y c h o l o g i c a l l y i n an i n t e r e s t i n g "Jpassage that sheds some l i g h t on the l a t e r i d e n t i f i c a t i o n of the two ch a r a c t e r s : . . . c ' e t a i t comme s i j e d i a l o g u a i s avec quelque fantome, ou peut-e t r e avec mon propre fantome — car peut-^tre ne p a r l a i t - i l pas, n ' a v a i t - i l meme pas besoin de p a r l e r , immobile p a i s i b l e et t a c i t u r n e a. cote de c e t t e flamme immobile e l l e a u s s i , et non pas deux v o i x a l t e r n a n t mais peut-etre une se u l e , ou peut-etre aucune, peut-etre l e s i l e n c e . . . (p. 151) In r e c a l l i n g h i s Spanish adventure, the n a r r a t o r , who now f e e l s somewhat s c o r n f u l of t h i s y o u t h f u l escapade, cannot but t h i n k o f . i t w i t h the mockery accorded i t , he imagines, by h i s uncle, who has become an i n t e r n a l i z e d judge and c r i t i c now inseparable from h i s own o l d e r s e l f . Thus the con-v e r s a t i o n does not need to have taken place i n r e a l i t y , f o r the nephew can only too e a s i l y imagine the judgement of t h i s "fantome" who i s now part of hi m s e l f . In the idea that the two vo i c e s have become one, interchangeable, we f i n d the f i r s t i n d i c a t i o n of the i d e n t i f i c a t i o n of uncle and nephew that prepares t h e i r i n t e r c h a n g e a b i l i t y i n the two l a t e r sequences and i n the tex t of La B a t a i l l e de Pharsale, where the procedure i s f u r t h e r e x p l o i t e d . In the sequence j u s t described, there i s no u n c e r t a i n t y as to whose experience i s being described, because of the second person n a r r a t i o n , even though the uncle i s r e l a t i n g things that only the nephew can have seen. But t h i s i s not the case i n the two l a t e r sequences. In the f i r s t — the scene i n the a r t i s t ' s s t u d i o — i t i s only towards the f i n a l p a r t of the sequence that u n c e r t a i n t y a r i s e s , when the t h i r d person d e s c r i p t i o n of the photograph 201 a b r u p t l y gives way to a f i r s t person account of p r e c i s e l y the same scene. Throughout Chapter 9, which i s e n t i r e l y devoted to the n a r r a t o r ' s con-templation of the faded snapshot and h i s attempt to imagine the circum-stances surrounding i t s t a k i n g , the f i g u r e of the studious young man i s i d e n t i f i e d as Charles and r e f e r r e d to i n the t h i r d person. I t i s only i n the tenth chapter, where t h i s sequence i s now interwoven w i t h a scene i n the present, that the n a r r a t i o n switches to f i r s t person. The i n i t i a l appearance of the " j e " i s i n parenthesis (p. 287), which perhaps s i g n a l s the changed s t a t u s of the sequence, though at f i r s t the parenthesis adds to the confusion by making i t seem l i k e another sequence a l t o g e t h e r . The content makes i t immediately c l e a r however, that they are one and the same, except that what was, or seemed to be, an imaginative r e c o n s t r u c t i o n of a scene, i s now presented as a personal memory. The photograph has come to l i f e . From then on, the n a r r a t i o n of the sequence i s l a r g e l y f i r s t person, though . , . , . 10 c e r t a i n passages are mixed or indeterminate. The t r a n s i t i o n from t h i r d to f i r s t person, from imagined to remembered scene, has been prepared by the growing i n t e n s i t y of the n a r r a t o r ' s r e c o n s t r u c t i o n of events. In the midst of the s p e c u l a t i v e s e r i e s — •:.'-. et monte-peut-etre en passant:. . .. (p. 272) . . . bougeant peut-etre i n s t i n c t i v e m e n t l e f a u t e u i l d 'osier . . . (p. 273) Ou peut- e t r e , apres t o u t , e t a i t - i l coutumier de ces rgeances, peut-e t r e a - t - i l f a i t i r r u p t i o n sans s'etonner n i s'excuser, peut-etre e t a i t - c e dans l e s habitudes de l a maison . . . (p. 275) there i s a passage of pure inner monologue: e v e n t a i l de p l i s rassembles par l a t e t e du c l o u r o u i l l e lourde queue d'etalon..noir, peigriee parmi les. ramages de roses e t e i n t e s , plage,' amas eonfcas' "nacre -noir . i v o i r e , . coiide .'dans' l a " ! f l a s q u e mollesse de co u s s i n o l i v e eclabousse d'ombre v e r t pbmme mais,impossible de v o i r l a peau • legerement--rugueuse .- -. ^ • ..,. . . (p. 274) 202 I t i s s i g n i f i c a n t that the t e x t i s f i l l e d w i t h colour here, although the photograph i s b l a c k and white. The passage c l e a r l y p r e f i g u r e s the switch to a f i r s t person account i n the next chapter. The i m p l i c a t i o n of the switch to f i r s t person n a r r a t i o n i s e i t h e r that Charles himself i s now the n a r r a t o r , or that the n a r r a t o r has so s t r o n g l y i d e n t i f i e d w i t h h i s uncle as to be i m a g i n a t i v e l y experiencing the scene i n the s t u d i o as though he were there, or that the experience, though c l e a r l y a t t r i b u t e d to Charles i n the previous chapter, was r e a l l y that of the n a r r a t o r himself a l l along and that he has now dropped the subterfuge. None of these explanations i s r e a l l y s a t i s f a c t o r y , as we s h a l l see. While the s t u d i o sequence occupies a whole chapter before any obvious indeterminacy of reference occurs, the second sequence (the couple con-f r o n t i n g the r i f t i n t h e i r marriage) very q u i c k l y b l u r s the i d e n t i t y of the s u b j e c t s . I t i s aided i n t h i s process by', the u n c e r t a i n t y now e s t a b l i s h e d by the e a r l i e r sequence. The second sequence, f i r s t introduced towards the end of the eleventh chapter, begins i n the t h i r d person and f o l l o w s upon some remarks about Charles, h i s w i f e and the model (p. 351). I t i s the dialogue between the couple at the end of the chapter, n a t u r a l l y i n the f i r s t person, which prepares the switch to f i r s t person n a r r a t i o n i n the next chapter (p. 369). What i s c l e a r l y the same scene w i t h the same couple becomes a l t e r n a t e l y " e l l e et l u i " and " e l l e et moi". The sequence i s h i g h l y fragmented and interwoven w i t h other f o c a l episodes — the s t a t i o n p a r t i n g scene, f o r i n s t a n c e , which i s c l e a r l y e s t a b l i s h e d i n the t e x t as the n a r r a t o r ' s experience — i n a way that can only increase the i n d e t e r -minacy ra t h e r than c l a r i f y i n g the question. E v e n t u a l l y the scene becomes muted, as the couple l y i n g i n the darkened room — " l e s deux g i s a n t s " •— are a s s i m i l a t e d to the s c u l p t e d e f f i g i e s on a tomb (pp. 377-378) and the n a r r a t i o n becomes impersonal and purely d e s c r i p t i v e , though I t continues to 203 be interwoven w i t h the s t a t i o n p a r t i n g and other s i g n i f i c a n t scenes. In i t s f i n a l appearance (p. 383), i t r e v e r t s to f i r s t person n a r r a t i o n and i s followed by an e x t r a c t from the l e t t e r Charles wrote to h i s s i s t e r on v i s i t i n g h i s w i f e ' s grave — almost a word f o r word quotation of the o r i g i n a l passage i n the f o u r t h chapter (pp. 131, 132), but without quo-t a t i o n marks so that the " j e " could e a s i l y stand f o r e i t h e r man, e s p e c i a l l y as i t i s juxtaposed w i t h a d e s c r i p t i o n of Helene's breasts beneath her flower-patterned summer dress. The f i n a l appearance of the sequence thus l i n k s the two women i n death, one more of the ambiguous references from which the reader may i n f e r that HelSne i s dead. There i s no way of s o l v i n g the puzzle. I t i s l o g i c a l l y impossible f o r the two men to have shared the same experience -— an a f f a i r w i t h the same eighteen year o l d model — given that i n Charles' case the a f f a i r would have taken place when the n a r r a t o r was s t i l l a s m a l l c h i l d . Yet i n the t h i r d person sequences, i t i s c l e a r l y h i s experience, w h i l e the f i r s t person sequences, r e i n f o r c e d by the interweaving of scenes connected w i t h the n a r r a t o r , give i t a l l the appearances of being the l a t t e r ' s personal experience. What are we to make of t h i s confusion ? Can i t be explained i n r e a l i s t terms ? For Jean Ricardou, i t i s d e f i n i t e l y an a n t i - r e a l i s t , procedure, a prime example of "discoherence", more apparent even than that of La_Route des Flandres: Dans l a p l u p a r t des l i v r e s de Simon, 1'incoherence apparente est toujours t r a v a i l l e e par des d i s p o s i t i f s a r t i c u l a i r e s q u i tendent vers une coherence, mais c e t t e coherence est elle-meme toujours t r a v a i l l e e par l e s manoeuvres de l a discoherence. Seulement, l e s rapports des t r o i s a c t i v i t e s . s e transforment. Dans La Route des Flandres, par exemple, l e rapport coherence-incoherence domine s i b i e n que l a d i s -coherence r e s t e un peu en sourdine. Dans H i s t o i r e , l a discoherence se f a i t plus s e n s i b l e en r a i s o n notamment de 1 ' i r r e d u c t i b l e dedoublement n a r r a t i f . 11 204 I do not a l t o g e t h e r agree w i t h Ricardou's judgement here. The sources of "discoherence" i n La Route are both v a r i e d and numerous, as we say e a r l i e r , and i n my view, more v i s i b l e to the reader than Ricardou seems to t h i n k . In the case of H i s t o i r e , however, the "discoherence" i s l i m i t e d to the s i n g l e device of the double n a r r a t i o n , which, d i s t u r b i n g as i t may be to r e a l i s t coherence, i s nowhere near as e x t e n s i v e l y used as are corresponding pro-cedures i n La Route. In the f i r s t p l a c e , the switches between t h i r d and f i r s t person n a r r a t i o n are l i m i t e d to two sequences and to the l a s t three of the twelve chapters. I t i s t r u e , of course, that r e t r o s p e c t i v e l y , once the i d e n t i t y of the subject of these sequences i s open to doubt, other p a r t s of the t e x t may f a l l i n t o the same indeterminacy. Yet rereading does not seem to bear t h i s out. In the other sequences r e l a t i n g to the n a r r a t o r and Helene, i t i s impossible to confuse them w i t h the uncle and h i s w i f e . The scene i n the Greek museum, f o r i n s t a n c e , which Is e q u a l l y concerned w i t h the break-down of t h e i r marriage, does not lend i t s e l f to any indeterminacy, f r a g -mented as i t i s . We know from the long dialogue i n which the n a r r a t o r announces to Corinne h i s forthcoming marriage w i t h Helene and t h e i r planned honeymoon i n Greece (pp. 112-113) that the couple i n the museum, s i l e n t a f t e r a q u a r r e l , are the n a r r a t o r and h i s w i f e , and indeed, her name appears i n the t e x t (p. 122). The two or three e r o t i c passages i n the same chapter might perhaps c a r r y a c e r t a i n indeterminacy i n that the woman they describe i s not named or i d e n t i f i e d , and t h e i r connection w i t h L a t i n e r o t i c t e x t s might l i n k them w i t h e i t h e r the n a r r a t o r or h i s uncle, s i n c e I f i t i s the boy who b r e a t h l e s s l y t r a n s l a t e s them (p. 108), i t i s to the uncle that the book belongs. But again, s i n c e the f i r s t such passage f o l l o w s immediately upon the announcement of the n a r r a t o r ' s marriage, the reader n a t u r a l l y i d e n t i f i e s the woman as Helene and nothing i n the passages themselves 205 c o n t r a d i c t s t h a t . She i s named i n the second occurrence of the s t a t i o n p a r t i n g scene (p. 322), so that t h i s too i s i d e n t i f i e d w i t h the younger couple and only w i t h them. . In none of these other sequences i s there any pronominal switch or other indeterminacy of reference. Only i n the l e t t e r w r i t t e n by Charles to h i s s i s t e r (pp. 129-130, 131, 132-133, 134), d e s c r i b i n g h i s f e e l i n g s as he stands beside h i s w i f e ' s grave, i s there any r e a l u n c e r t a i n t y , f o r though the l e t t e r i s s p e c i f i c a l l y i d e n t i f i e d as h i s and i s found among the postcard c o l l e c t i o n by the n a r r a t o r (p. 129), the use of the f i r s t person i n i t and, even more, the l a c k of any change of s t y l e , makes i t p o t e n t i a l l y a s s i m i l a b l e to the experience of the n a r r a t o r himself — though we never know f o r c e r t a i n that h i s w i f e has a l s o d i e d . No other episode i n the novel presents the same indeterminacy as the two "double" sequences, nor could any other experience i n i t be a t t r i b u t e d to the uncle as w e l l as the nephew. This i n i t s e l f i s s i g n i f i c a n t , f o r the pronominal switches are l i m i t e d to those two sequences i n which the n a r r a t o r t r i e s to imagine what l a y behind the m a r i t a l unhappiness of h i s uncle and aunt, which seems to have l e d to her s u i c i d e . * The f a c t that the memories of h i s w i f e which haunt the n a r r a t o r are subject to constant censorship and evasion and accompanied by almost i n t o l e r a b l e anguish, make i t p s y c h o l o g i c a l l y p l a u s i b l e that he should p r o j e c t h i s own experience onto h i s uncle u n t i l the two are i n e x t r i c a b l y bound together. The process of imaginative i d e n t i -f i c a t i o n w i t h another that seems to take place i n the b r i n g i n g - t o - l i f e of the s t u d i o snapshot has been suggested as e a r l y as Le Vent, w i t h the n a r r a t o r ' s r e i t e r a t e d comment as he l i s t e n s to Montis' s t o r y : " i l me semblait * This i s the i m p l i c a t i o n of the scene towards the end of the book, i n which Charles r e a c t s v i o l e n t l y to the discovery that the adolescent Corinne i s t a k i n g s l e e p i n g p i l l s , (pp. 392-400) 206 l e v i v r e mieux que lui-meme". A s i m i l a r process, takes place i n a l l the pro t a g o n i s t s — Louise as she examines the photograph of Marie In L^Herbe, Georges i n r e l a t i o n to the two Reixachs, ancestor and descendant, the student i n Le Palace as he l i s t e n s to the I t a l i a n ' s s t o r y — each i n some way f e e l s him or h e r s e l f l i v i n g the scene, an experience which perhaps has i t s o r i g i n i n the n o v e l i s t ' s own use of f a m i l y documents and other m a t e r i a l as s t i m u l i f o r the c r e a t i o n of f i c t i o n . The l i n k i n g of uncle and nephew that takes place In H i s t o i r e i s a f u r t h e r expression of the theme of the double which recurs throughout Simon's c e n t r a l p e r i o d , from L'Herbe where Louise Is the successor of Marie, even s y m b o l i c a l l y dying w i t h the o l d woman through the " p e t i t e mort" of orgasm, to La Route w i t h the overlapping and at times i n d i s t i n g u i s h a b l e h i s t o r i e s of Reixach and the ancestor, Which prepare the way f o r the super-i m p o s i t i o n of the-uncle's s t o r y upon the nephew's i n H i s t o i r e , w i t h i t s suggestion, as i n La Route, of f a m i l y h i s t o r y t r a g i c a l l y r e peating i t s e l f : Oui c'est une t r a d i t i o n de f a m i l l e chez nous Je veux d i r e l e veuvage Une de ces maladies de femes vous savez Congenitale comme on d i t Oui Transmissible aux hommes du c l a n par v o i e u t e r i n e . . . (p. 69) With i n t h i s context, the "dedoublement n a r r a t i f " can be seen as a l i t e r a l expression of the theme of the double i m p l i c i t i n the novel from very e a r l y on. I t i s a f u r t h e r development of the palimpsest e f f e c t of c e r t a i n p a r ts of La Route, where the t e x t could be read doubly, w i t h the f i g u r e of the ancestor momentarily fused w i t h that of h i s descendant. In H i s t o i r e the e f f e c t i s even more s t r i k i n g s i n c e i t a f f e c t s the " I " of n a r r a t i o n , but i t serves a s i m i l a r thematic purpose. This does not solve the problem of the source of the n a r r a t i o n i n . these sequences, however, si n c e i t i s i r r e s o l v a b l e . G iv e n the l i m i t e d extent of the pronominal switches and the f a c t that none of the other 207 experiences narrated are a t t r i b u t a b l e to the uncle, i t seems, implausible to 12 suggest that the novel has two narrators. Simon's own;statement that he was uncertain himself whether uncle or nephew was the narrator, and that the uncle may have imagined a nephew, seems more l i k e a defence against 13 interviewers over-eager to i d e n t i f y the novel as disguised autobiography. For the notion that the " I " of the e n t i r e novel should r e a l l y be the uncle projecting himself onto an imaginary nephew and only a c c i d e n t a l l y speaking i n h i s own voice seems not only le s s p l a u s i b l e than the converse (the nephew projecting himself into h i s uncle's experience but speaking i n h i s own voice throughout the r e s t of the novel), but also l e s s s a t i s f y i n g psychologically and a r t i s t i c a l l y . Simon's other explanation — that the nephew, unwilling to admit to c e r t a i n experiences, a t t r i b u t e s them to h i s uncle but then forgets the subterfuge and reverts to a personal account — i s quite p l a u s i b l e i n a confessional novel or monologue, but less so i n a stream of consciousness work which aims at producing the i l l u s i o n of a private inner world with no l i s t e n e r assumed. Whichever i n t e r p r e t a t i o n of the switches between.first and t h i r d person i s favoured, the indeterminacy of reference cannot be completely resolved and the "discoherence" i t produces must be acknowledged. Nonetheless, t h i s "discoherence" i s not a l l - p e r v a s i v e , even i n a retrospective reading. For the f i r s t three-quarters of the novel, the reader i s aware of one con-sciousness to whom a l l the memories, experiences and perceptions of the text are a t t r i b u t a b l e . When uncertainty as to the i d e n t i t y of the narrator does a r i s e i n the tenth chapter, the impact of a l l that has preceded tends to outweigh the e f f e c t of the "discoherence", even though i t i s recognized as problematic. The r e a l i s t force of the rest leads to an a s s i m i l a t i o n of the indeterminacy into a psychological process, that of i d e n t i f i c a t i o n and projection, which the r e s t of the text has amply prepared and motivated. 208 I f the indeterminate s t a t u s of the n a r r a t i o n i n : t h e s e sequences can be seen i n part as an a n t i - r e a l i s t device undermining the i l l u s i o n of the stream of consciousness, i t can e q u a l l y be viewed, i n the context of the theme of the double, as a n a r r a t i v e procedure of considerable p s y c h o l o g i c a l s i g n i f i c a n c e and o r i g i n a l i t y . To make such a c l a i m i s not to a s s i m i l a t e H i s t o i r e to the ranks of the conventional n o v e l , but simply to acknowledge the presence of d i f f e r e n t and perhaps c o n f l i c t i n g elements i n i t s make-up, f o r i t i s n e i t h e r a c o n s i s t e n t rendering of the n a r r a t o r ' s stream of consciousness nor a pure t e x t devoid of any r e p r e s e n t a t i o n a l elements, but a complex blend of both these strands of modern f i c t i o n . IV. Patterns of fragmentation i n the composition of " H i s t o i r e " The composition of the novel d i s p l a y s the same e c l e c t i c tendency. Longer than e i t h e r La Route des Flandres or Le Palace., and composed of more numerous n a r r a t i v e elements than e i t h e r , H i s t o i r e i s even more f r a g -mented than the two preceding novels. But although t h i s fragmentation plays more of a p s y c h o l o g i c a l r o l e than i n e i t h e r of the o t h e r s , i t a l s o c o n t r i -butes to an o r i g i n a l i t y of composition which i s by no means l i m i t e d to rendering the f l u x of consciousness and which represents a f u r t h e r step i n Simon's e x p l o r a t i o n of the p o s s i b i l i t i e s of fragmented s t r u c t u r e . The n a r r a t i v e i s set w i t h i n the b a s i c a l l y s t r a i g h t f o r w a r d c h r o n o l o g i c a l frame of a day i n the n a r r a t o r ' s l i f e , though the n a r r a t i o n of t h i s day runs only from the second to the eleventh chapter, the f i r s t and f i n a l chapters making no s p e c i f i c reference to i t . That i t i s a frame nonetheless, and not merely one among many fragmentary elements, i s c l e a r from the way i n which other elements are contained w i t h i n i t or i n s p i r e d by i t s i n c i d e n t s , as, f o r i n s t a n c e , when the s i g h t of a group of drunken s o l d i e r s i n a cafe t r i g g e r s memories of m i l i t a r y s e r v i c e , or c h i l d r e n l e a v i n g school at noon awaken r e c o l l e c t i o n s of i l l i c i t childhood reading. C h r o n o l o g i c a l though 209 fragmented, the frame i s the most developed piece of n a r r a t i v e i n the book, occupying a l a r g e r part of the t e x t than any other i n d i v i d u a l episode. I t i s the most predominant sequence i n chapters 8, 10 and 11 and occupies a major place i n chapter 3. I t provides -— to use an image j u s t i f i e d by the more i r r e g u l a r patterns are woven, some strands disappearing f o r long s t r e t c h e s , others a more constant element of the design, but a l l present even when i n v i s i b l e , l i k e the threads of a woven c l o t h , because of the network of echoes and a s s o c i a t i o n s which, as i n La_R_oute, connect a l l elements of the t e x t . At C e r i s y i n 1971, Claude Simon gave the f o l l o w i n g account of the composition of H i s t o i r e : . . . l a composition d ' H i s t o i r e p o u r r a i t §tre schematisee sous l a forme de p l u s i e u r s sinusoldes de longueur d'ondes v a r i a b l e s q u i courent t a n t o t au-dessus, t a n t o t au-dessous ( i n v i s i b l e s a l o r s ) d'une l i g n e continue AA', apparaissant, d i s p a r a i s s a n t , se confondant, se Coupant, i n t e r f e r a n t ou se separant, l a l i g n e etant en r e a l i t e une courbe de _ t r e s grand rayon, un c e r c l e q ui r e v i e n t a son point de depart ( l e narrateur etendu sur son l i t ) cependant que l e s periodes d ' o s c i l l a t i o n des d i v e r s e s sinusoldes r a c c o u r c i s s e n t de plus en p l u s , l e u r s c r e t e s a l t e r n a n t et se succedant a un rythme de- plus en plus p r e c i p i t e . Simon's d e s c r i p t i o n of the novel's s t r u c t u r e confirms the r o l e of the n a r r a t o r ' s day as frame. Once again he s t r e s s e s , as he d i d f o r La Route, the c o n t i n u i n g presence of a l l the elements i n the t e x t even when temporarily o r i g i n s of the word ' t e x t ' — the warp of the composition i n t o which other A i n v i s i b l e . 210 The appearances of. each element may range from a sequence of s e v e r a l pages to a mere phrase l i k e " l a c s de larmes". U n l i k e the n a r r a t i v e switches of La Route, many of which occur d e c e p t i v e l y i n the middle of a sentence unmarked by any t y p o g r a p h i c a l or even s y n t a c t i c change, those of H i s t o i r e f o r the most part are c l e a r l y i n d i c a t e d by the t r a n s i t i o n to a new-l i n e and i n d e n t a t i o n , which as Roubichou p o i n t s out, gives H i s t o i r e a c h a r a c t e r i s t i c a l l y fragmented appearance: c'est surtout 1'emploi massif de 1'alinea (a l a fois. passage a l a l i g n e et masse s p a t i a l e d ' e l e m e n t s t e x t u e l s ) q u i represente l e mieux c e t t e fragmentation physique et v i s u e l l e du duscours. 15 The fragmentation of H i s t o i r e , f a r more so than that of the preceding nov e l s , i s v i s i b l e and concrete. The e f f e c t i s to make.the t e x t seem more l i k e a montage of fragments than a n a r r a t i v e , e s p e c i a l l y w i t h the i n c o r p o r a t i o n i n t o c e r t a i n chapters of quotations from other t e x t s , i n a way that resembles the use of extraneous m a t e r i a l s i n the a r t form of c o l l a g e . The r a t e of fragmentation v a r i e s , as Simon's own diagrams make c l e a r . The l e a s t fragmented chapter i s the n i n t h , which concentrates on a s i n g l e n a r r a t i v e t o p i c (the n a r r a t o r ' s s c r u t i n y of the s t u d i o photograph). Though i t i s not fragmented l i k e the other chapters by the interweaving of numerous elements, i t i s s t i l l fragmented none the l e s s by the way i n which i t describes i n minute d e t a i l i n d i v i d u a l aspects or moments of the scene, l i k e examining enlarged reproductions of d e t a i l i n s t e a d of a whole work of a r t . The most fragmented chapters are the f o u r t h , e i g h t h , eleventh and t w e l f t h , i n p a r t i c u l a r the l a t t e r , which i s the most fragmented of a l l . * * The f a r l a r g e r number of n a r r a t i v e elements and t h e i r greater fragmented-ness, as w e l l as the greater length of the book, u n f o r t u n a t e l y make i t too d i f f i c u l t to schematize the composition as a whole i n the way i t was done fo r the preceding novels. The schemata from which I worked i n a n a l y s i n g the s t r u c t u r e depend on a-w wide range of colours to d i f f e r e n t i a t e the various elements, and such colour diagrams are r e g r e t t a b l y too d i f f i c u l t to reproduce. 211 The s t r u c t u r a l p a t t e r n already observed i n La Route and Le Palace of an Interweaving of two sequences (a/b/a/b) i s s t i l l much i n evidence i n H i s t o i r e . While i t i s used, as i n the preceding works, to juxtapose t h e m a t i c a l l y r e l a t e d sequences or fragments, i n H i s t o i r e i t o f t e n has the f u n c t i o n of suggesting p s y c h o l o g i c a l processes, as i n the passage where the lake fantasy i s interwoven w i t h the image of Helene's t e a r - f i l l e d eyes. Eq u a l l y c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of the novel's composition i s the j u x t a p o s i t i o n of a l a r g e number of short fragments, disconnected i n terms of n a r r a t i v e c o n t i n u i t y but l i n k e d by i n t e r n a l a s s o c i a t i o n s . The bundles of postcards i n the chest of drawers, no longer i n the sequence i n which they were received or sent, or even i n any k i n d of grouping of place or s u b j e c t , can be seen as an image of t h i s p a r t i c u l a r k i n d of j u x t a p o s i t i o n , that groups a number of short blocks of words ( d e s c r i p t i o n s , memories, observations, quotations) i n an apparently p e l l - m e l l succession. The interweaving of two or more sequences and the j u x t a p o s i t i o n of short disconnected fragments, i n t e r s p e r s e d w i t h longer blocks of extended n a r r a t i v e , together make up the c h a r a c t e r i s t i c compositional p a t t e r n of H i s t o i r e . Some of the p s y c h o l o g i c a l f u n c t i o n s they serve have already been suggested: the sudden emergence of a memory evoked by means of the d i s -connected fragment,' and the coexistence of simultaneous mental phenomena conveyed through the interweaving of d i f f e r e n t sequences. But the v a r i e t y of other f u n c t i o n s , thematic and formal, that they f u l f i l w i l l become more apparent from the f o l l o w i n g examination of two extended s e c t i o n s of the t e x t : the cafe scene from the eleventh chapter and the whole of the f o u r t h chapter, chosen because they o f f e r an I n t e r e s t i n g c o n t r a s t between the r e a l i s t and the n o n - r e a l i s t uses of fragmented composition i n t h i s work. 212 V. N a r r a t i v e fragmentation and the rendering of consciousness. The interweaving of the frame w i t h other sequences or short fragments i s a means of conveying the c o n s t a n t l y s h i f t i n g focus of consciousness, i n which awareness of the present i s mingled w i t h thoughts of the past. What t h i s interweaving achieves on the l a r g e r l e v e l of composition i s r e i n f o r c e d w i t h i n sequences by the use of words and images that echo other sequences, i n d i c a t i n g u n d e r l y i n g preoccupations or unconscious connections. Language and composition thus combine to evoke the way i n which the mind moves almost unaware from one t h i n g to the next, guided by a mixture of e x t e r n a l s t i m u l i and i n t e r n a l a s s o c i a t i o n . The p u b l i c scenes, i n the r e s t a u r a n t , cafe and other places where the n a r r a t o r i s c o n s t a n t l y d i s t r a c t e d by h i s surroundings, provide p a r t i c u l a r l y obvious instances of t h i s . In the s e c t i o n of t e x t framed by h i s supper i n a cafe (pp. 333-351), the name of the cafe i t s e l f , as w e l l as the presence of a group of s o l d i e r s and t h e i r n oisy conversation, s t a r t the n a r r a t o r on a t r a i n of thought which begins w i t h r e c o l l e c t i o n s of a bar he frequented during h i s m i l i t a r y s e r v i c e : . . . c e t t e guinguette comment s ' a p p e l a i t - e l l e F r a s c a t i un peu en dehors de :1a v i l l e . sur l a route de Nancy . . . (p. 335) These memories begin i n a stream of consciousness passage interwoven w i t h the s o l d i e r s ' dialogue and separated from i t by suspension p o i n t s and i n -de n t a t i o n . The process of reminiscence i s h i g h l i g h t e d and analyzed on the f o l l o w i n g page: '.. f r a c a s a u s s i dans F r a s c a t i Et a l o r s sans doute a cause de l a consonance i t a l i e n n e du mot 1'image stereotypee non de s o l d a t s en uniforme de l a derni&re guerre mais l e s s i l h o u e t t e s . . . des zouaves p o n t i f i c a u x que j e pouvais v o i r dans une des rosaces quadrilobees de ce v i t r a i l de l a c h a p e l l e . . . (p. 336) The name of the "guinguette" thus leads away from m i l i t a r y s e r v i c e back to 213 schooldays and the classmate Lambert, glimpsed e a r l i e r i n the chapter as candidate at a p o l i t i c a l meeting. From Lambert as schoolboy, the t e x t moves to the memory of a l a t e r meeting w i t h him,during the pe r i o d of m i l i t a r y s e r v i c e , a sequence i n t e r r u p t e d by the b r i e f e s t of returns to the present i n the form of a s i n g l e sentence, separated from the r e s t by i n d e n t a t i o n and suspension p o i n t s again. I t i s the headline ELLE SE JETTE D'UN QUATRIIiME ETAGE PAR LA FENFIRE, p r i n t e d upside down to suggest the n a r r a t o r i s reading i t i n someone el s e ' s copy of the newspaper, i n which he has a l s o read the headline e a r l i e r i n the day. I t s recurrence here suggests h i s u n d e r l y i n g preoccupation w i t h death and s u i c i d e , which w i l l reappear i n the t e x t l a t e r i n the scene. The next r e t u r n to the present, s t i l l i n the course of the Lambert anecdote, i s the sound of d i s t a n t applause coming from the p o l i t i c a l meeting (p. 338). I t emerges i n mid-sentence unmarked by any form of punctuation, w i t h the i r o n i c e f f e c t of the pompous young Lambert already, as i t were, hearing the p l a u d i t s he hopes to r e c e i v e as a p o l i t i c a l l eader. The memory of the "guinguette" and the sexual encounters of the per i o d of the n a r r a t o r ' s m i l i t a r y s e r v i c e then i n t e r v e n e , again interwoven w i t h the drunken dialogue of the s o l d i e r s i n the cafe (pp. 338-341), the two sequences separated by suspension p o i n t s and i n d e n t a t i o n . The presence of the s o l d i e r s i n f l u e n c e s the process of r e c o l l e c t i o n : the red hands of the c o n s c r i p t fumbling w i t h h i s f l y on the way to the washroom c l e a r l y i n s p i r e s the sexual image that f o l l o w s , of c o n s c r i p t s coupling w i t h g i r l s met on the dance f l o o r of the "guinguette" — . . . l e u r s t e t e s rougeaudes l e u r s mains rougeaudes et sans doute au moment de T'accouplement un membre enorme rougeaud gonfle pour l e s s a i l l i r . . . (p. 341) 214 The d e s c r i p t i o n of the s o l d i e r s ' g i r l s , evokes thoughts of Corinne and her sexual experiences, i n a passage of b r i e f fragments of dialogue from an exchange of taunts between her and her b r o t h e r . I t leads to an e r o t i c fantasy centred around Corinne and the jockey I g l S s i a — "Imaginant quelque chose de faunesque . . ."..which, moves, without any break or punctuation, i n t o a memory of making love to an unnamed g i r l during the p e r i o d of m i l i t a r y s e r v i c e , one of the longer fragments i n the s e r i e s (pp. 342-344). Again by means of an e r o t i c connection, (the g i r l keeping her coat ready to cover her naked body i f someone should come), the t e x t moves to a des-c r i p t i o n of the a r t i s t ' s model wearing only a man's j a c k e t between nude posing s e s s i o n s . This leads w i t h o u t . t r a n s i t i o n to a d e s c r i p t i o n of Charles beside h i s w i f e ' s grave as the c o f f i n i s lowered i n t o i t . Both these passages are i n the t h i r d person, though the indeterminacy of the sequence i n v o l v i n g the model i s r e f l e c t e d here i n the " j e " of the o b s e s s i v e l y r e c u r r i n g phrase " j e v o u d r a i s . . . " , by now synonomous w i t h the n a r r a t o r ' s attempt to block out p a i n f u l memories, which follows'immediately upon the d e s c r i p t i o n of the grave, without break or t r a n s i t i o n (p. 345). A f r a g -mentary paragraph f o l l o w s , evoking, graves, archeology and museums, i n words that echo e a r l i e r passages connected w i t h the Greek honeymoon of the n a r r a t o r and h i s w i f e , n a r r a t e d , l i k e the scene of Charles at h i s w i f e ' s grave, i n 16 the f o u r t h chapter. The fragment culminates i n the phrase — . . . l e s peignes l e s b i j o u x de bronze grumeleux et v e r t s l e s agrafes l e s boucles heureux c e l u i q u i denouera t a (p. 345) The r e t u r n to the present that f o l l o w s r e v e a l s the t e x t u a l mechanisms that generate new elements, f o r the next fragment begins w i t h the .word COIFFURE, o s t e n s i b l y read on the shop-window.opposite the c a f e , but c l e a r l y produced by the a s s o c i a t i o n s of "peignes", "boucles" and "denouer" i n the preceding fragment. 215 The d e s c r i p t i o n of r e f l e c t i o n s i n the cafe window that ensues seems to represent an attempt to escape p a i n f u l memories by c o n c e n t r a t i o n on something e x t e r n a l . But, s i g n i f i c a n t l y , the r e f l e c t e d images of the customers are l i k e ghosts or deaths' heads: . . . se detachant sur l ' e c r a n de l a n u i t comme s ' i l s f l o t t a i e n t , imponderables, dans l ' a i r , en fragments e p a r p i l l e s sur une l a m e l l e , une p e l l i c u l e v e r n i e de ten&bres, et sans plus de r e a l i t e n i d'epaisseur que des fantomes, sans regards, sauf deux cavernes marron a l a place des yeux . . . (p. 346) The n a r r a t o r ' s u n d e r l y i n g preoccupation w i t h death colours a l l h i s per-ceptions . The sandwich i n h i s hand and the white spongy aspect of the bread s t a r t another memory sequence, t h i s time of the hunchback e a t i n g bread i n the Spanish C i v i l War episode, already f a m i l i a r from the seventh chapter. But then h i s mind comes back to the never absent source^of anguish and the need to escape i t : De mon l i t j e p o u r r a i l e v o i r b l a f a r d se r e f l e t a n t sur l e s f e u i l l e s v e r n i e s se c o l o r a n t peu a peu l e s oiseaux c r i a r d s fous dechirants quel l a c j e voudrais g l i s s a n t sur l e r e f l e t renverse immobile des montagnes enneigees ses roues a. aubes b a t t a n t l'eau rapetissant emportant l e s sons d'harmonicas l e s v o i x d'enfants j e voudrais... (p. 350) The scene ends at t h i s p o i n t , w i t h him paying and l e a v i n g the cafe. This summary has not even attempted to do j u s t i c e to the complex network of a s s o c i a t i o n s surrounding a l l these n a r r a t i v e elements, but merely to suggest the p s y c h o l o g i c a l f u n c t i o n of the scene's composition, i t s rendering of the n a r r a t o r ' s d r i f t i n g thoughts as he s i t s i n the cafe. The interweaving of the frame w i t h the other sequences m i r r o r s h i s f l u c t u a t i n g awareness of h i s surroundings; i t i s n a t u r a l l y most acute at the beginning w h i l e he l i s t e n s to the s o l d i e r s ' c onversation, but becomes i n t e r m i t t e n t as he r e c a l l s memories of m i l i t a r y s e r v i c e , and vanishes e n t i r e l y as h i s thoughts i n t e n s i f y w i t h the e r o t i c memories, only to r e t u r n a b r u p t l y as he attempts to erase 216 the mental image of the c o f f i n being lowered i n t o the grave. These pages are among the most p s y c h o l o g i c a l l y r e a l i s t i n the novel and there i s no doubt whatever that the fragmentation of the n a r r a t i v e serves a p s y c h o l o g i c a l f u n c t i o n here. The n a r r a t i o n i s e n t i r e l y i n the stream of consciousness mode and though the t e x t u a l mechanisms that i n s p i r e c e r t a i n t r a n s i t i o n s or produce p a r t i c u l a r elements are apparent, that does not d e t r a c t from i t s e f f e c t . I f the e n t i r e novel were i n t h i s v e i n , i t would provide a p e r f e c t example of Rousset's "roman de l a memoire". To balance that impression, t h e r e f o r e , we must look c l o s e l y at another chapter where the fragmentation of the t e x t serves other and very d i f f e r e n t ends. VI. The t e x t as c o l l a g e : anatomy.of a chapter The f o u r t h chapter, one of the most fragmented i n the n o v e l , i s a l s o one of the most i n t e r e s t i n g and o r i g i n a l from a compositional p e r s p e c t i v e . S i g n i f i c a n t l y , i t i s one w i t h few returns to the frame, which only appears i n i t s f i r s t h a l f (between pages 95 and 115), i i t s broken sequences adding up to l e s s than four pages i n t o t a l out of the chapter's t h i r t y - s i x pages. For the r o l e of fragmentation here i s not to evoke the mingling of past and present i n the n a r r a t o r ' s consciousness, but r a t h e r to create a k i n d of c o l l a g e of t e x t s on the themes of Eros, death, and H i s t o r y . Apart from the b r i e f passages on the present ( c o n c l u s i o n of the scene i n the bank and d e s c r i p t i o n of the n a r r a t o r ' s walk through town at noon), the n a r r a t i v e elements centre around four f o c a l f i g u r e s : Helene (the v i s i t to a Greek museum on t h e i r honeymoon, and a tender love-scene where, i n s p i r e d by memories of L a t i n e r o t i c t e x t s , he asks her to shave her p u b i s ) ; Corinne (the conversation i n which he t e l l s her of h i s forthcoming marriage, and the cherry-gathering scene); Lambert (with whom he swaps h i s uncle's copy of The Golden Ass f o r the book on the Russian R e v o l u t i o n ) ; 217 and Charles (the L a t i n homework scene, and the l e t t e r d e s c r i b i n g h i s w i f e ' s death). These fragmentary n a r r a t i v e elements are interwoven w i t h a s e r i e s of quotations from v a r i o u s books from the n a r r a t o r ' s adolescence and des-c r i p t i o n s of t h e i r i l l u s t r a t i o n s , i n a d d i t i o n to the usual postcards w i t h t h e i r messages and captions. The longest of these fragments does not exceed four pages, but most are roughly h a l f a page i n l e n g t h , making t h i s one of the most discontinuous p a r t s of the book. Many pages of t h i s chapter are among the most s t r i k i n g l y fragmented i n appearance of the e n t i r e n o v e l : quotations from other t e x t s i n i t a l i c s (pp. 108, 111, 118, 119-120, 121, 122 and 127-128); l i s t s of L a t i n words or phrases accompanied by t h e i r French t r a n s l a t i o n , which occupy only part of a l i n e of t e x t (pp. 108-109, 119 and 128); short l i n e s of dialogue (pp. 112-113, 122, 124, 126-127 and 128-129); words or phrases i n c a p i t a l s that stand out from the r e s t . These v i s u a l e f f e c t s , i n p a r t i c u l a r the use of i t a l i c s or c a p i t a l s f o r quotations, give c e r t a i n pages a patchwork appearance, h i g h l i g h t i n g the fragmentation of the t e x t . The d i s c o n t i n u i t y and b r e v i t y of the n a r r a t i v e elements, coupled w i t h the i n c o r p o r a t i o n of such a l a r g e number of extraneous elements — not only the quotations, but a l s o the d e s c r i p t i o n s * o f postcards and p i c t u r e s of every s o r t , from the b a s - r e l i e f s of the Greek museum to the comic s t r i p i n the morning paper — turn the t e x t i n t o an assemblage of fragments. The chapter has c l e a r l y departed from the r e p r e s e n t a t i o n of the n a r r a t o r ' s stream of consciousness, though c e r t a i n of the fragments that compose i t are s t i l l i n that mode. But now they are reduced to being elements of a composition r a t h e r than i t s mainspring. The composition may be described as a c o l l a g e , a term which Simon has himself a p p l i e d to i t , though i n a somewhat r e s t r i c t e d sense. Speaking 218 to Claude DuVerlie i n 1973, he s a i d : You are a l s o f a m i l i a r w i t h what a r t i s t s c a l l c o n s t r u c t i o n s or c o l l a g e s . Picasso invented the genre and he has been followed by such out-standing f i g u r e s as Schwitters and Rauschenberg. L a t e l y l i t e r a t u r e has a l s o produced c o l l a g e s or what we c a l l " i n t e r t e x t u a l i t y " . I experimented w i t h t h i s i n H i s t o i r e and l a t e r again i n Pharsale. 17 I t i s not only through " i n t e r t e x t u a l i t y " (the i n s e r t i o n of quotations from other t e x t s ) that p a r t s of the novel resemble a c o l l a g e , however. For w h i l e the e s s e n t i a l f e a t u r e of c o l l a g e i s the i n c o r p o r a t i o n of extraneous m a t e r i a l s , i t s composition i s no l e s s s i g n i f i c a n t : i n keeping w i t h I t s Cubist o r i g i n s , i t i s one of the most fragmented of art-forms, s i n c e i t i s composed of a c t u a l fragments, brought together to create a new e n t i t y . I t i s the extreme d i s c o n t i n u i t y of the t e x t , evident i n i t s v i s u a l appearance, j u s t as much as the use of quotation, that turns the f o u r t h chapter i n t o an assemblage of fragments, a t e x t u a l c o l l a g e . There i s nothing p a r t i c u l a r l y new, of course, i n the use of quotations from other sources: Dos Passos e x p l o i t e d i t e x t e n s i v e l y i n the "Newsreel" s e c t i o n s . o f U.S.A., f o r i n s t a n c e , but w i t h the d i f f e r e n c e that there i t was i n the s e r v i c e of a c e r t a i n s o c i a l and h i s t o r i c a l r e a l i s m , to evoke the background of h i s c h a r a c t e r s ' l i v e s , whereas i n the new novel i t i s more l i k e l y to be used as a stimulus or source from which to generate new elements of the t e x t . This i s one of the ways i n which Simon uses the 18 quotations from V a l e r y and Proust that appear i n La B a t a i l l e de Pharsale. The e f f e c t of quotations from c l a s s i c sources i s to draw a t t e n t i o n to the w r i t e r ' s r e l a t i o n to l i t e r a r y t r a d i t i o n , i n somewhat the same way as Rauschenberg's i n c l u s i o n of reproductions of well-known p a i n t i n g s i n Charlene provides a set of references to the h i s t o r y of a r t , which act as a f o i l f o r the a r t i s t ' s own e n t e r p r i s e , whether they are used i n a s p i r i t of homage or iconoclasm. Whatever the character of the m a t e r i a l s used i n c o l l a g e , i t i s a provocative genre, drawing a t t e n t i o n to i t s mode of production instead of concealing i t beneath a surface of i l l u s i o n , and thereby r a i s i n g fundamental questions as to the nature of a r t . The incorporation of other materials destroys i l l u s i o n i s m , drawing attention to the canvas as f l a t surface and not a window onto an imaginary world. S i m i l a r l y , the i n s e r t i o n of other texts draws attention to the novel as text, undermining the i l l u s i o n of r e a l i t y . The " i n t e r t e x t u a l i t y " of H i s t o i r e i s not completely a n t i - r e a l i s t .tn... e f f e c t , however, since a l l the quotations are from works that .are presented as s i g n i f i c a n t elements i n the narrator's development or experience: the book on the Russian Revolution lent by h i s more sophisticated schoolmate i n exchange for the loan of the L a t i n e r o t i c text, The Golden Ass, stolen from h i s uncle's l i b r a r y , both of which are equally i l l i c i t reading, representing the narrator's f i r s t steps away from the orthodoxy of h i s Catholic education; the other L a t i n texts translated for homework; the extracts from a museum guide, linked to h i s honeymoon i n Greece. Only the geological passage (p. 120) i s not c l e a r l y accounted for by the narrator's biography, though i t may well be a school book too. But i f a l l these texts can pass as memories, nonetheless, by the conspicuousness of t h e i r i n s e r t i o n , they draw attention to the text as composition rather than representation of consciousness. Their s i g n i f i c a n c e i s s t i l l to some degree psychological, however, since they are elements i n the composite p o r t r a i t of the influences that have moulded the narrator's personality, that " h i s t o i r e d'une s e n s i b i l i t e " which Simon said he wanted the novel to be. The secondary implications of the novel's t i t l e — " H i s t o i r e " as History — are also much i n evidence i n t h i s collage, with i t s evocation of ancient world through quotations from L a t i n texts and the Greek museum catalogue, and of the modern era through the postcards and the quotations 220 from the book on the Russian Revolution. The image of History that emerges from the collage i s a pessimistic one, despite the vigorous d e s c r i p t i o n of the ancient world, for i t i s the death of c i v i l i z a t i o n s and the r e p e t i t i o n s of History that the text harps on, from i t s f i r s t evocation of the ruins of Mycenae (p. 103) to i t s modern equivalent, the ruins of Verdun depicted i n the c o l l e c t i o n of postcards: . . . l e meme et unique paysage a 1'aspect uniforme de decharge publique, herisse non de pattes de chevaux morts mais de poutres cassees, de f e r r a i l l e s , d'echardes, et chaotique . . . (p. 105) Mentioned among the i l l u s t r a t i o n s r e c a l l e d from the h i s t o r y book are the Tres RichesiHeures, with t h e i r b r i l l i a n t images of courtly l i f e , but inv a r i a b l y i t i s the darker aspect that p r e v a i l s i n the narrator's memory, l i k e that of the l a s t p i c t ure i n the book: et encore cette photographie d'un champ de b a t a i l l e p r i s e d Tavion (pas l a te r r e , l e damier des pres, des labours, des bois: une etendue crouteuse, pustuleuse, comme une maladie du s o l m§me, une lepre, . . . . . . qui i l l u s t r a i t une des dernieres pages du manuel d'Histoire, comme s i c e l l e - c i (1'Histoire) s ' a r r e t a i t l a , comme s i l a longue s u i t e des chapitres avec leurs resumes en caracteres gras a apprendre par coeur, l a longue s u i t e des images qui les i l l u s t r a i e n t n'avaient ete e c r i t e s , sculptees, peintes, gravees, qu'en vue de cette seule f i n , ce seul aboutissement, cette apotheose: l e s etendues g r i s a t r e s , mornes, informes, sans traces humaines . . . (pp. 105-106) This image of devastation i s r e c a l l e d throughout the chapter i n other s i m i l a r scenes and by the r e p e t i t i o n of "apotheose" i n the English phrase "apotheosis and millenium without end" twice used i r o n i c a l l