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Alienation and the search for self in the "nouveau roman" of France and of Quebec Harger, Virginia Ann 1973

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ALIENATION AND THE SEARCH FOR SELF IN THE -NOUVEAU ROMAN" OF FRANCE AND OF QUEBEC by V i r g i n i a Ann Harger B.A., Uni v e r s i t y of Auckland, N.Z., I96I M.A. (Honours), University of Auckland, N.Z., 1962 Diploma i n Honours (M.A.), University of Auckland, N.Z., I963 • A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY i n the Department of French We accept t h i s thesis as conforming to the required standard THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA In presenting t h i s thesis i n p a r t i a l fulfilment of the requirements for the Library s h a l l make i t freely available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensive copying of t h i s thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the Head of my Department or by his representatives. I t i s understood that copying or publication of t h i s thesis for f i n a n c i a l gain s h a l l not be allowed without my written permission. an advanced degree at the University of B r i t i s h Columbia, I agree that Department The University of B r i t i s h Columbia Vancouver 8, Canada Advison Professor Gerard Tougas ABSTRACT This thesis discusses the problem of the i n d i v i d u a l and his r e l a t i o n s h i p to society as revealed i n the works of six writers. A l l these authors u t i l i z e the form of the "nouveau roman" to express the thought patterns of the i n d i v i d u a l i n a medium and s t y l e they consider relevant to the subject matter. The protagonist's problem i s that of twentieth century Man. His a l i e n a t i o n from himself and from others, his feelings of anguish, despair and confusion are those of Man i n a society i n which the i n d i v i d u a l i s often at a l o s s to f i n d any point of reference as to h i s own existence and where he reaches the point of questioning his own worth as a human being. L i v i n g i n a s i t u a t i o n where he i s i n close physical con- tac t with thousands, the next problem facing the i n d i v i d u a l , but c l o s e l y connected to his other problem i s that of achiev- ing some form of communication with another person. Aware of hi s own solitude and need fo r others as well as the r e c i p r o c a l needs of other people, he i s also aware of the opposites to these conditions and r e j e c t s others f o r t h e i r lack of aware- ness. His present state of being i s the a n t i t h e s i s of a de- sired one and t h i s desired state of being where he knows him- s e l f and others forms the basis for the quest of the "nouveau roman" protagonist. His quest i s the subject of t h i s t h e s i s . S t a r t i n g with readings of the background c r i t i c a l works and proceeding through studies of the texts themselves the - i i i - o r i g i n a l concept of Man as an important element of the "nouveau roman" was c r y s t a l l i z e d and narrowed down to a treatment of the problem of the i n d i v i d u a l and his re l a t i o n s h i p to s o c i e t y . Af- te r examination of relevant c r i t i c a l material of the p a r t i c u l a r works and discussion of the novels with f i v e of the six authors involved^" theories and ideas formulated i n the preparatory stage were able to be put into p r a c t i c e . Apart from these studies* i t i s necessary i n a thesis of t h i s nature to re l a t e the theme to a wider f i e l d of l i t e r a t u r e t philosophy and c u l t u r e . This i s achieved mainly i n the i n t r o - duction and f i r s t chapter. The reasons f o r doing t h i s l i e i n the f a c t that these authors are a l l using t h e i r protagonists to express one side of t h e i r own p a r t i c u l a r philosophies on Man i n general. The importance of the content rather than merely the form of the "nouveau roman" has been brought out and f u l l y discussed i n novels by six authors whose works can be considered as r e - presentative of the "nouveau roman" and of modern l i t e r a t u r e i n two francophonic but d i f f e r i n g c u l t u r e s . Although both group reveal the same anguish and despair as to the present condition of Man, the resolution of t h e i r problems, though not actualized i n e i t h e r group, nevertheless points out the differences between the two c u l t u r e s . The French "nouveau roman" presents an i n t e l - 1. Ducharme was not a v a i l a b l e at the time. l e c t u a l i z e d version of the problem together with an i d e a l i z e d philosophy. The French Canadian novel on the other hand i s very c l o s e l y a l l i e d to the actual problems of French Canadian so c i e t y . Despair and anguish are not p h i l o s o p h i c a l questions but r e a l i t y to these dispossessed people and any r e s o l u t i o n f o r the l a t t e r group w i l l have to be a t o t a l r e s o l u t i o n of t h e i r s o c i e t y . - v - TABLE OF CONTENTS I. INTRODUCTION 1 I I . INTRODUCTION TO THE PROBLEM OF ALIENATION 10 Philosophical Background 10 Monologue Inter i e u r 13 Man and the Modern World 17 The Problem i n General as Presented by the Authors...21 The Authors' Concept of Man and Society 27 Nathalie Sarraute 27 Michel Butor 33 Robbe-Grillet.... 35 Introduction to the Nouveau Roman i n French Canada (Quebec) 4-1 Bessette. 50 Jean Basile 53 Re jean Ducharme 5^ Footnote References 69 I I I . THE INDIVIDUAL'S STRUGGLE FOR SELF WITHIN SOCIETY 7^ Nathalie Sarraute 76 Tropismes. 80 P o r t r a i t d'un inconnu .85 Martereau 89 Le Planetarium • .....92 Les F r u i t s d'or ...........95 Entre l a vie et l a mort < 97 Michel Butor 100 Passage de Milan. 102 vi L'Emploi du temps 104 La Modification 112 Degres 117 Robbe-Grillet 119 Les Gommes 120 Le Voyeur 127 * La. Jalousie 130 Dans le labyrinthe 133 La. Maison de rendez-vous 13^ Pro.jet pour une revolution a New York 139 Quebec 143 Bessette 144 L' Incubation 145 Jean Basile 152 Re j ea.n Ducharme 177 Footnote References 203 IV. RESOLUTION 214 Nathalie Sarraute 214 Michel Butor 225 Robbe-Grillet 239 Gerard Bessette 254 Jean Basile 263 Re j ean Ducharme 279 Footnote References .296 CONCLUSIONS 203 BIBLIOGRAPHY 320 CHAPTER I INTRODUCTION "Ce que propose "Part d*aujourd*hui au l e c t e u r , au spectateur, c'est, en tout cas, une fagon de vivre^dans l e monde present, et de p a r t i c i p e r 21 l a creation permanente du monde de demain." 1 The above quotation indicates the importance of the "nouveau roman" and of modern a r t i n a l l i t s forms. The form of the "nouveau roman", l i k e that of much of modern a r t , i s pertinent to the present—indeed i t i s the only- s t y l e that the authors i n question consider suitable to con- vey ideas they present. Although not "engage"" i n a narrow sense, such novels tend to r e l a t e to a much wider u n i v e r s a l f i e l d centered on an attempt to expla i n , and perhaps also resolve the condition of Man. They are part of "an e n t i r e generation of writers bent on evoking man's d i r e c t experience of a world bounded by h i s own horizon". 2 Ever since the appearance of the "nouveau roman" i n modern l i t e r a t u r e , stress has been placed on i t s s t y l e , rather than on i t s content. Most c r i t i c s of the new novel neglected, u n t i l r e c e n t l y , the f a c t , stressed time and again by the more far-sighted as well as by the authors themselves, that the two are an inseparable combination. I t i s the pur- pose of t h i s t h e s i s to examine the content of the "nouveau roman" and more s p e c i f i c a l l y the problem of a l i e n a t i o n . Although the theme of a l i e n a t i o n i s not new, i t seems - 2 - more relevant to the twentieth century than to other ages. Man i n t h i s era has no foundation of r e l i g i o n on which to base a f a i l i n g optimism i n h i s own condition and must look elsewhere. In an examination of t h i s l i t e r a t u r e , the writer's p a r t i c u l a r s t y l e , shown by h i s i n t e r p r e t a t i o n of events through the mind's eye of the protagonist, lends i t s e l f to consideration of problems situated within the mind of a l l men. This very personal s t y l e i s the expression of the alienated mind i n search of i t s e l f i n past, present and f u t u r e . The seeming incoherence of the written form i s the inconsistency of the i n d i v i d u a l attempting to piece together hi s own existence. I t i s contended that the "nouveau roman" presents one of the more v a l i d means of discussing t h i s problem. The authors' concern with form r e l a t e s to t h e i r e f f o r t s to accurately por- tray the consciousness of the i n d i v i d u a l . The purpose of t h i s study i s to present and analyze the problem and i t s r e - so l u t i o n as i t occurs i n the l i t e r a t u r e s of the cultures of France and of QuSbec. From each of these cultures three au- thors have been chosen. Sarraute, Butor and Robbe-Grillet are representative of the "nouveau roman" i n France. The three QuSblcois authors chosen are Bessette, Basile and Ducharme. The choice of three authors permits not only of comparison between the two cultures but of a c l o s e r i n t r a - c u l t u r a l ex- amination of p a r a l l e l and divergent aspects within the two - 3 - c u l t u r e s . This choice i s moreover determined by the f a c t that each of the three authors uses as h i s point of r e f e r - ence past, present or f u t u r e . These three d i f f e r e n t d i v i - sions of time, occuring within each group, bring into r e l i e f the differences i n a t t i t u d e s between the two c u l t u r e s . Since f o r each of the French authors, a QuSbScois au- thor can be presented i n relevant comparison, i t would seem appropriate to use such a structure to investigate p a r a l l e l a t t i t u d e s i n both l i t e r a t u r e s . Age of the writers and the generation they addressed themselves to when i n i t i a t i n g t h e i r w r i t i n g careers impose an a d d i t i o n a l s t r u c t u r a l consideration. I t should also be indicated that a l i e n a t i o n i s not necessar- i l y l i nked with nationalism as f a r as the QuebScois authors are concerned. Of the three French Canadian authors chosen, one i s very n a t i o n a l i s t i c , one l e s s so, and the t h i r d , Bes- s e t t e , reveals no r e a l tendencies to nationalism at a l l . Hence the choice of the three authors reveals that a l i e n a - t i o n , which to the French authors i s to a c e r t a i n extent an i n t e l l e c t u a l i z e d problem, i s to a l l three French Canadians a very personal problem, whether t h i s problem i s transformed into one of nationalism i n extreme form, as i t i s by Ducharme, i n a l e s s e r form, as i n Basile*s novels, or scarcely at a l l , as i s the case with Bessette. The struggle f o r i d e n t i t y i n a l l three French Canadian authors i s one revealed i n the form of t h e i r novels as well as i n the content. The development - k - or transformation of the need f o r a personal i d e n t i t y into that of a nation's i d e n t i t y becomes f a r more i n t e r e s t i n g when i t i s understood that the nationalism of the Que'be'cois i s only one form of the a l i e n a t i o n they f e e l and"attempt to express i n t h e i r novels. I t must also be stressed that although there are many chronological p a r a l l e l s , i t i s the differences and s i m i l a r i t i e s between a l l s i x authors that make the abstractions of a cen t r a l theme d i f f i c u l t but worthwhile. Nathalie Sarraute and GeVard Bessette both have a b i o l o g i c a l concept of Man. However con- trasted d e t a i l s are of p a r t i c u l a r interest.. Michel Butor and Jean Basile d i f f e r i n depiction of t h e i r respective protagon- i s t s , yet i n both cases these same protagonists attempt to r e a l i z e , through a r t , the soluti o n to t h e i r search f o r s e l f . In the case of both, there i s a stress on the past as a r e - ference point f o r l i v i n g i n the present. A l a i n Robbe-Grillet and Re" jean Ducharme enact worlds of fantasy, imagination and madness which belong to neither past nor present but perhaps to a n e c e s s a r i l y imaginary f u t u r e . In so f a r as a comparison of the l i t e r a t u r e s of France and Qulbec i s i n order, that of France, by the f a c t of i t s p r o v i s i o n of an o r i g i n a t i o n f o r the "nouveau roman", seems a l o g i c a l point f o r i n i t i a t i n g the comparison. Beyond t h i s the r e l a t i o n s h i p of the s o c i o l o g i c a l and h i s t o r i c a l perspec- t i v e i n the two l i t e r a t u r e s with respect to present p o l i t i c a l - 5 - circumstances adds an a d d i t i o n a l dimension of i n t e r e s t . Success and f a i l u r e i n resolution of c o n f l i c t s within the protagonists and i n society i n general, i n a world where Man i s e s s e n t i a l l y alone, w i l l be analysed i n each novel. The authors are attempting to portray the world as they see i t , f e e l i n g the necessity of expression i n what to them i s a new world. This expression takes the form of the "nouveau roman". Thus i n t r e a t i n g the subject matter of the "nouveau roman" rather than i t s form, dismissing that form as s e l f - evident, except i n so f a r as treatment of form i s pertinent to d e t a i l s of the content, the thesis topic as a study on the i n d i v i d u a l f i n d s j u s t i f i c a t i o n i n a society which i s constantly t r y i n g to f i n d an answer. The majority of terms used i n t h i s study are taken from the vocabulary of e x i s t e n t i a l i s m , which has played a large part not only i n forming the ph i l o s o p h i c a l background of the "nouveau roman", but i n much of Western Twentieth Century thought. To the student of modern l i t e r a t u r e , such terms as " a l i e n a t i o n " and "despair" or, i n French, "authenticite", "lSche" and " l e mal" are a l l f a m i l i a r . Where the French terms are used, i t i s because they are more often associated with the ideas inherent i n Sa r t r i a n e x i s t e n t i a l i s m and hence are more suited to the p a r t i c u l a r problems being discussed. The idea of the "search f o r s e l f " as an answer to a l i e n a t i o n comes 3 from the t i t l e of a book written by Wylie Sypher, a t i t l e - 6 - which accurately expresses Man's paradoxical searching f o r himself and a meaning to h i s own existence i n a world where he f e e l s alone, and y e t , by h i s condition, a man amongst men cannot be so* The second chapter introduces the authors* own arguments i n support of the relevance of the content of t h e i r novels as well as an examination of i n d i v i d u a l concepts of the a r t i s t i c process, and of Man and society i n general. This i s preceded by a short h i s t o r i c a l and s o c i o l o g i c a l background p l a c i n g the "nouveau roman" i n perspective to the r e s t of modern l i t - e rature. I t begins with the development of twentieth century p h i l o s o p h i c a l thought up to and including the "nouveau roman" where t h i s i s relevant to the thesis subject. Form and s t y l e are shown as being pertinent to the subject matter of the novels, a f a c t o r stressed by the authors. Subsequently the notion of "Man" i s discussed, r e l a t i n g the problem more spe- c i f i c a l l y to the i n d i v i d u a l within the "nouveau roman".. This brings up the question of Man and s o c i e t y , which i s the basic problem treated i n the t h e s i s . A discussion follows of the p a r t i c u l a r concepts of Man within society as revealed by the si x authors. In between the sections on the French and the French Canadian authors' concepts of Man and society there i s an introduction to the Que'be'cois authors, bringing into r e l i e f the differences i n approach to the subject matter of the the- s i s and emphasizing the f a c t that the a l i e n a t i o n , somewhat i n t e l l e c t u a l i z e d on the French s i d e , i s a f a r more personal experience f o r the French Canadian authors, n a t i o n a l i s t i c a l l y i n c l i n e d or otherwise. The t h i r d chapter i s concerned with the i n d i v i d u a l ' s struggle f o r s e l f within s o c i e t y . At t h i s stage the pro- tagonist i s s t i l l hopeful of a t t a i n i n g the au t h e n t i c i t y he i s seeking e i t h e r within society or outside i t . I f he hopes to a t t a i n i t within society he attempts t h i s through other i n d i - viduals l i k e himself. When t h i s proves f r u i t l e s s or too d i f f i c u l t to persevere i n , he w i l l turn his search to the outside. The attempts at recovery of the authentic s e l f take many and varied forms. Within society they can be nonviolent (Sarraute) or v i o l e n t (Robbe-Grillet). I f that society i s then rejected as without values, there are subsequent e f f o r t s to f i n d the l o s t values elsewhere, i n childhood and adolescence f o r Ducharme and B a s i l e , or sometimes, as p a r t i c u l a r l y the case with Butor, i n some form of a r t . A r e j e c t i o n of present society implies e i t h e r a recreation of that society or a cre - a t i o n of a t o t a l l y new one, t o t a l despair (as i n the case of Bessette), or a separate existence based on a past, r e a l or imaginary. In a l l s i x authors, a l l these elements are, to a ce r t a i n extent, interwoven, although, as ind i c a t e d , c e r t a i n tendencies assume p r i o r i t y according to the i n d i v i d u a l author. - 8 - The need of the protagonist f o r others, h i s desire to e s t a b l i s h some form of communication and his attempts at f i n d i n g i n oth- ers the necessary elements to help him i n h i s quest f o r authen- t i c i t y are fundamental i n these "nouveaux romans" and the s t a r t i n g point to which a l l other themes are connected. Where there i s a l i n e a r development i n thought the works are treated c h r o n o l o g i c a l l y . When, however, they are best examined as a s t r u c t u r a l u n i t , then they are treated as such. The f i n a l chapter i n the development of the thesis handles the re s o l u t i o n of the problems facing the protagonists, which i n turn becomes a possible r e s o l u t i o n f o r Man i n general with respect to o v e r a l l concepts developed within the t h e s i s . Throughout the French authors there i s a suggestion of optimism. Although there i s no immediate r e s o l u t i o n , there i s nevertheless a b e l i e f i n the basic nature of Man being fundamentally worthy of attainment. This basic authentic s e l f , although at present hidden, may be uncovered i n the f u t u r e . The e f f o r t necessary to do t h i s i s worthwhile. For the Que- b l c o i s authors, however, whatever au t h e n t i c i t y existed did so i n the past and i s henceforth i r r e t r i e v a b l e . Their lack of a r e s o l u t i o n a r i s e s from deep personal pessimism, cynicism and despair, completely counteracting the ascending optimism of the French authors. This makes the comparison between the two l i t e r a t u r e s a l l the more i n t e r e s t i n g . The discussion and conclusions of the f i n a l sections bring together the vast quantity of material within the t h e s i s . The c e n t r a l theme of a l i e n a t i o n and desire f o r communication i s nevertheless the nucleus on which a l l the other themes and ideas are dependent. Nationalism or the lack of i t , l o v e , a r t , sadism, cynicism, optimism and des- p a i r are a l l expressions of the i n d i v i d u a l ' s basic a l i e n a - t i o n from himself and others and of h i s simultaneous desire and need f o r others and f o r h i s s e l f . A l l these themes are again presented i n summary form i n the concluding pages as they appear throughout the s i x n o v e l i s t s ' works, revealing that with the seeming d i s p a r i t i e s of these s i x authors there are nevertheless bases f o r comparison which go beyond a mere comparison of s t y l e . - 9a - FOOTNOTE REFERENCES 1. A. Robbe-Grillet, "Du realisme a l a r e a l i t e " , Pour un Nouveau Roman, (P a r i s , Eds de Minuit, I963), page 143. 2. V i c t o r Brombert, The I n t e l l e c t u a l Herot Studies i n the French Novel, (New York, L i p p i n c o t t , I960), page 208. 3. Wylie Sypher, Loss of the S e l f i n Modern Lit e r a t u r e and A r t , (New York, Random House, 1962). CHAPTER II INTRODUCTION TO THE PROBLEM OF ALIENATION I. PHILOSOPHICAL BACKGROUND The "nouveau roman" represents one of the l a t e s t stages i n the development of both l i t e r a t u r e and philosophy i n the twentieth century. I t i s an expression of a r t which i s f a r more c l o s e l y a l l i e d to the workings of the human mind than were novels of preceding generations. What the "nouveaux romanciers" are seeking to set down i n written form are the thought patterns of the i n d i v i d u a l . This outlook on l i t e r a - ture i s mainly influenced by two concepts on which are based not only the "nouveau roman", but the whole of Western thought. These are, f i r s t , the p h i l o s o p h i c a l ideas of Hegel, developed l a t e r by Husserl, and, secondly, the time and consciousness theories or discoveries of Henri Bergson. Time and space are judged by the human mind and not by clock or mapi "Et ce temps mental est bien c e l u i qui nous i n t e r e s s e , avec ses Strangetes, ses trous, ses obsessions, ses regions obscures, p u i s q u * i l est c e l u i de nos passions, c e l u i de notre v i e " . 1 These new "ways of thinking" did not influence just the sub- ject matter of l i t e r a t u r e , but the form i t s e l f , which i s why there i s d i f f i c u l t y i n separating form and content i n a l l forms of modern a r t . "Phenomenologically" speaking the two are s e l f - completing. Thus, what the "nouveaux iromanciers" r e f l e c t i n t h e i r work i s the world they l i v e i n . 11 - Hegel's phenomenology, with the inherent idea that a l l things imply an opposite and that any conception of syn- thesis i s only able to e x i s t as a whole containing both the thesi s and a n t i t h e s i s , i s basic to the conception of the "nouveau roman" and i n p a r t i c u l a r that of Butor and Robbe- G r i l l e t . I t i s the function of the human mind to put toge- ther information i n order to a r r i v e at some meaning and to 2 f i n d the unity p o t e n t i a l i n d i v e r s i t y . In t h i s way the "nouveau roman" serves the same purpose as would Hegel's human mind, since i t does depict a world where an object (the "story") i s described by a subject (the main character). The "nouveau roman" i s the perpetual approximation of "sub- j e c t " and "object". Butor's novels, f o r example, aim at r e - constructing an experience retained by the memory and at a r r i v i n g at the s i g n i f i c a n c e of t h i s experience by describing i t as f u l l y as possible—the process i t s e l f taking time and e f f o r t (L*Emploi du temps. La M o d i f i c a t i o n ) . S i m i l a r l y , Robbe-Grillet, by evoking the same object or incident repeat- edly, s t r i v e s to a r r i v e at i t s meaning to the mind of the i n d i v i d u a l . To Butor the novel i s the "domaine phenomenolo- gique par excellence".-' Not r e l i a n t on an external truth to support i t , as does an a r t i c l e i n a newspaper, i t e x i s t s i n i t s e l f and yet i s the i d e a l place to study r e a l i t y as i t appears or can appear. The phenomenological approach ha.s been used throughout the century, consciously or unconsciously (Sartre popularized i t to a large extent i n Europe), with i t s 12 - main concept of depicting the world as i t i s but illuminated by consciousness—that of Man—and depicting consciousness i t s e l f i n the act of perceiving and i n t e r p r e t i n g the world. This study is - an attempt at g i v i n g a meaning to the world the protagonist l i v e s i n but from which he f e e l s a l i e n a t e d . Since consciousness and time are two of the main elements it of the "nouveau roman**, Henri Bergson's ideas are of great importance because of t h e i r obvious influence on modern French l i t e r a t u r e , as well as on the whole modern concept of time. Like the "nouveaux romanciers", Bergson was not concerned so much with Man's quest f o r freedom as with Man's d i f f i c u l t y i n f i n d i n g where the authentic s e l f r e s i d e s . This immediate- l y brings Sartre and the e x i s t e n t i a l i s t s to mind. Indeed the "nouveaux romanciers** are a l l d i s c i p l e s of S a r t r e , but with- out h i s more l i m i t e d form of "engagement**. To f i n d t h i s au- thentic s e l f , Bergson r e a l i z e d one had to be aware of i t s existence i n time, within the flow of time, and enduring through or within change. Therefore i t i s the hidden, buried l i f e , i n a c c e s s i b l e to reason, a consciousness almost uncon- scious i n the Freudian sense, with no evident i d e n t i t y but only d i r e c t i o n or duration, i n which i s to be found the "au- thentic s e l f " . Sartre's concept of the e x i s t e n t i a l " S t r e " , i r o n i c a l l y and paradoxically complete only at the end of i t s being, f i t s i n with t h i s i n t e r p r e t a t i o n of Man. Thus the r e a l s e l f must be sought i n the s h i f t i n g currents of our most - 13 - immediate consciousness. In other words, as Wylie Sypher says, "The contemporary wr i t e r must of necessity present the s i g n i f i c a n c e of what i s u t t e r l y h a b i t u a l " . B e r g s o n , i n Matiere et memoire,^ points out that f o r Man, matter i s h a l f - way between i t s actual r e a l i t y and the representation we make of i t . I t i s an image—but one that e x i s t s of and i n i t s e l f . This whole conception of what things and r e a l i t y are, i s best i l l u s t r a t e d by Robbe-Grillet and brought out i n h i s c o l l e c t i o n of essays e n t i t l e d Pour un Nouveau Romant "Or l e monde n'est n i s i g n i f i a n t , n i absurde. II EST tout simplement...Autour de nous, d e f i a n t - l a meute de nos a d j e c t i f s animistes ou ma- nagers, l e s choses SONT LA".? As f o r memory, Bergson notes that i t i s p r a c t i c a l l y inseparable from perception, bringing the past into the present. I t i s from memory and imagination that the "nouveaux romanciers" t r y to construct the self t Pour Svoquer l e passe" sous forme d'image, i l faut savoir attacher du p r i x a 1 ° i n u t i l e , i l faut vou- l o i r rSver. L'homme seul est capable d'un e f f o r t de ce genre." The "nouveau roman" with i t s attention to d e t a i l , i t s often dream-like q u a l i t y , and i t s use of memory, a l l empha- s i z i n g Man and h i s search f o r s e l f , r e f l e c t the desire com- mon to a l l men, where to recover possession of oneself i s the ultimate g o a l . I I . MONOLOGUE INTERIEUR The i d e a l form i n which to express these concepts of - U - mind and consciousness i s the "stream of consciousness 1 * or " i n t e r i o r monologue". In English l i t e r a t u r e there i s a sub- t l e difference between the two terms* The former came to the attention of the reading public i n the 1920*s with the tormented novels of V i r g i n i a Woolf, where there i s a l i t e r a l streaming of images from deep i n the subconscious or i n the unconscious, sometimes giving the impression of a mind that i s not completely i n control.9 In contrast, although the " i n t e r i o r monologue" form of w r i t i n g was most i n vogue around World War I I , one of the e a r l i e s t examples of i t i s found i n Edouard Dujardin's Les Lauriers sont couple (188?). Dujar- din*s d e f i n i t i o n of the i n t e r i o r monologue i s h e l p f u l i n d i s - t i n guishing i t from stream of consciousness writing*. Le discours sans auditeur et non prononce, par lequ e l un personnage exprime sa pensle l a plus intime, l a plus proche de l * i n c o n s c i e n t , ant6- rieurement a toute organisation logique, c'est- a - d i r e , en son etat naissant, par l e moyen de phrases d i r e c t e s , r l d u i t au minimum s y n t a x i a l , 1 0 de fagon fi. donner 1*impression du tout-venant. Hence the " i n t e r i o r monologue" i s a monologue i n the true sense. In James Joyce's Ulysses, both forms are found. Stephen*s t a l k i n g to himself f i t s into the category of "mon- ologue i n t l r i e u r " while the images and thoughts which come rushing from Molly's ur. conscious are best described as "stream of consciousness". In French l i t e r a t u r e , however, both are usu a l l y referred to as "monologue i n t l r i e u r " . Generally, the " i n t e r i o r monologue" i n the "nouveau roman" r e f e r s to a stream - 15 - of consciousness state of mind, which demands i t s own formal patterns i n order to create the impression i t does—an im- pression often hypnotic, sometimes i n t e n t i o n a l l y (Butor's La M o d i f i c a t i o n ) , sometimes not. The minute descriptions of sensations and impressions, the simultaneity e f f e c t and use of mirage-like images approximating the mental processes i n written form, are the necessary supports f o r t h i s "monologue i n t e r i e u r " mechanism. H In the "monologue i n t e r i e u r " used by the "nouveaux r o - manciers" there i s another element not to be found i n writers such as Dujardin or even Proust. This i s the element of br u t a l realism inherited d i r e c t l y from the U.S.A. The i n t e r i o r monologue was f o r Faulkner and Dos Passos, as was the dialogue f o r Caldwell, Hemingway, and Steinbeck, the only legitimate form i n which to present, as r e a l i s t i c a l l y as p o s s i b l e , the b r u t a l i t y of the world of Man i n the twentieth century. On the other hand, to the majority of European writers of that era i t was more a "recherche esthetique". In the works of Nathalie Sarraute, the " f i r s t " of the "nouveaux romanciers", chronological time gives way to an almost s p a t i a l i z e d time where past, present, and even future lose t h e i r boundaries. This continuous present i s that of the human consciousness expressed i n the i n t e r i o r monologue/ stream of consciousness form. This i s referred to by Sarraute as "sous-conversation"—a term most suitable to express what - 16 - the author describes a s i Un foisonnement innombrable de sensations, d'images, de sentiments, de souvenirs, d 9 impulsions, de p e t i t s actes larves qu'aucun langage i n t l r i e u r n'exprime, qui se bousculent aux portes de l a conscience, s'as- semblent en groupes compacts et surgissent, tout a 1 coup, se d l f o n t a u s s i t 8 t , se combinent autrement et rlapparaissent sous une nouvelle forme, tandis que continue a* se d l r o u l e r en nous, p a r e i l au ruban qui s°lehappa en crepitant de l a fente d'un t l l l s c r i p t e u r , l e f l o t ininterrompu des mots.12 Although the i n t e r i o r monologue i n a p a r t i c u l a r form i s a l s o part of Butor*s novels, he r e a l i z e s that t h i s p a r t i c u l a r pattern of w r i t i n g i s s e l f - l i m i t i n g . He believes a notion l i k e that of "sous-conversation" i s a l i t t l e b etter i n that i t j u s t i f i e s departure from the eternal present of the older forms of i n t e r i o r monologue, but i s s t i l l not the i d e a l * Speaking of Kierkegaard's Eta-pes sur l e chemin de l a v i e , Butor explains to a large extent h i s own form of narrative* "La n a r r a t i o n n'est plus une l i g n e , mais une surface dans l a q u e l l e nous is o l o n s un c e r t a i n nombre de l i g n e s , de p o i n t s , ou de gronpements remarquables**."*"-^ To express t h i s i n words his own novels are quite s t r u c t u r a l l y unique, each i n turn more complicated, u n t i l i n the l a s t one—Degres—like the dying teacher one may ask who i s r e a l l y speaking. Butor, becoming too involved i n the complications of the mammoth task he set himself, has recently forsaken the novel and r e - turned to h i s f i r s t i n t e r e s t—po e t r y . I l l MAN AND THE MODERN WORLD In modern l i t e r a t u r e , the c l a s s i c a l notion of •'Man" with i t s idea of a fixed i n t e g r a l p e r s o n a l i t y , i s abandoned by most n o v e l i s t s as i s the n a t u r a l i s t i c concept of "Man" ruled only by impulses and i n s t i n c t s (see footnote 11). Instead of cen- t e r i n g on a man, the modern novel tends to record the meta- ph y s i c a l quest of Man—Man i n search of himself, h i s own i d - e n t i t y . Whether t h i s man i s a true " a r t i s t " or an "outsider" he i s usually of bourgeois o r i g i n , but unable to adapt to the world he l i v e s i n . Senancour's Obermann (reminiscent of Shaw's Superman) i s a sen s i t i v e anti-hero, not the romantic hero, but a man i n search of his own i d e n t i t y , just as i s Harry H a l l e r , the Steppenwolf of Hermann Hesse (1927). In f a c t , Harry H a l l e r i s i n many ways the exemplification of modern man—a " l o s t creature i n a world of machines and d i s t r u s t " . In him Hesse shows "the whole despair of a thinker, of one who knows the f u l l worth and meaning of Man's l i f e " , or whose "sickness of the s o u l . . . i s not the e c c e n t r i c i t y of a single i n d i v i d u a l 14 but the sickness of the times themselves". Just as Harry H a l l e r expresses the s p i r i t u a l and moral d i s t r e s s coupled with the extreme loneliness of a man or Man i n what Hesse considers a declining c u l t u r e , so Robert Musil i n Der Mann Ohne E i g e n s c h a f t e n , ^ f i r s t known i n France i n 1957* presents the true anti-hero, a man without any p a r t i c u l a r - 18 - q u a l i t i e s , as the t i t l e i n d i c a t e s , or pr o p e r t i e s , who l i v e s not i n an active condition of r e v o l t but rather i n  M l e refus**. The world i s presented i n an "anti-romanesque" o p t i c . Like Camus* Meursault, Musil's character l i v e s through **romanesque** moments without even r e a l i z i n g i t . The romantic a r t i s t of the nineteenth century therefore becomes the modern outsider whose personal quest makes of his l i f e h i s work. This quest has inherent i n i t the concept of a mythology of Man, and the mythological element i s found time and again i n the "nouveau roman", either openly so or vaguely hinted a t . Robbe-Grillet goes to great lengths to develop the Oedipus myth i n Les Gommeŝ '*'̂  The Theseus myth 17 appears openly i n Butor*s L*Emploi du temps. l e s s obviously 18 i n Robbe-Grillet*s Dans l e lab y r i n t h e . Symbolism such as that of Tarot i s also to be found i n p a r t i c u l a r throughout the novels of Robbe-Grillet, but th i s only serves to reinforce the idea of a l l being dependent on the mind of Man f o r i t s i n t e r p r e t a t i o n . The "refus" of these protagonists i s a r e f u s a l of d e c e i t . As pointed out by Jean Bloch-Michel, the n o v e l i s t s who present t h i s "refus" write i n the present of the i n d i c a t i v e , uncertain of what w i l l bei "Le nouveau roman est l e contraire de 1*im- posture l i t t e r a i r e » i l est l a l i t t e r a t u r e de 1* imposture*?. ̂ This point i s reinforced i n Sarraute*s L'Ere du Soupqon • - 1 9 - Like her* these writers "soupgonnent que tout est faux, l a j u s t i c e , notre connaissance psychologique des Stres, l e pou- 20 v o i r du langage". Up t i l l the "nouveau roman" the r e a l world had not coincided with the fablessof l i t e r a t u r e , hut f o r these "fabl e s " the modern novel and i n p a r t i c u l a r the "nouveau roman" substitute " l e monde de l a contestation, du 2 1 refus, de l a negation". What the n o v e l i s t s refuse i s not meaning but pre-determined meaning. This new form of a r t i s a r t i n i t s deepest s e n s e — f o r Man's sake. Instead of psy- cho l o g i c a l a n a l y s i s , a "story", and other entertainment de- v i c e s , these n o v e l i s t s seek r e a l i t y and an understanding of t h e i r own s i t u a t i o n i n the world. Le roman est redevenu une education et p e u t - i t r e plus que jamais, e s t - i l maintenant vivant et n l c e s s a i r e puisque c'est i. travers l u i qu'un homme essaie de retrouver l e monde, un moraliste, un sens, et tout e c r i v a i n l a l i t t e r a t u r e . Before continuing with the authors' own ideas on t h e i r works, the following schematic chronology of works discussed i n t h i s background to the second chapter i s presented to a i d i n summarizing the various influences as to form and theme i n the new novel. The diagram i t s e l f i s adapted and modified from one given by R. M. Alberes i n Metamorphoses du roman (Paris, 1 9 6 6 ) 0 FORM AND THEME IN THE NOVEL USE OF INTERIOR MONOLOGUE* 180^8 Senancour, Obermann 186^• Dostoyevsky, GrTme~ - 20 - and Punishment 1895t Gide, Paludes 1913-22J Proust, A l a Recherche du temps perdu Joyce, Ulysses 1922t 1925 • 1927« 19281 Gide, Les Faux-mon- nayeurs Hesse, Steppenwolf Aldous Huxley, Coun- terpoint 1930-32i M u s i l , f i r s t part of Der Mann ohne Eigenschaften 1933' I936t French Translation of Kafka's Per Process (Le ProcSs) Aldous Huxley, Eyeless i n Gaza 195-+* Butor, Passage de Milan** 1959t Robbe-Grillet, Dans l e l a b y r i n t h e * * , i9601 I9631 1965' Bessette, Le L i b r a i r e * * Sarraute, Les F r u i t s d *or** 1887» Dujardin, Les Lauriers sont coupes 19l2i Kafka, Der Bau (and other short s t o r i e s ) I922i Joyce, Ulysses 1925t Dos Passos, Manhattan Transfer 1925i V. Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway I9291 Faulkner, The Sound and the Fury 1930-36! Dos Passos, 42nd P a r a l l e l , 1919, e t c . 1931t V. Woolf, The Waves Robbe-Grillet, La Mai- non de Rendez-vous**, *** 1938» Sarraute, Tropismes** 1938t Beckett, Murphy 1942i Camus, L'Etranger 19451 S a r t r e , Le Sursis 1948t Sarraute, P o r t r a i t d'un inconnu** 1951t Beckett, Mollov 1953t Robbe-Grillet, Les Gommes** 1957t Robbe-Grillet, La Jalousie** I957i Butor. La Modification** 19591 Robbe-Grillet, Dans l e labyrinthe 1959t Sarraute, Le Planetarium** I9601 Butor, Degres** 1964t B a s i l e , La Jument des Mongols** (Canada) I9651 Bessette, L'Incubation** (Canada) 21 - 1966* Ducharme, L'Avalge des avales** (Canada) 1967* Ducharme, Le Nez qui vogue** (Canada) 1968* Ducharme, L'Oceantume** 19701 B a s i l e , Les Voyages d*Irkoutsk»* (Canada) 1971« Bessette, Le Cycle** (Canada) •As well as basic theme, these works also used i n t e r i o r monologue form. **Refers to works analysed i n t h i s t h e s i s . •••Depends upon actual i n t e r p r e t a t i o n . These could be seen as mere " s t o r i e s " or, on the other hand, can be treated as the depiction of what the mind of a protagonist sees. IV. THE PROBLEM IN GENERAL AS PRESENTED BY THE AUTHORS The problem of the i n d i v i d u a l within s o c i e t y , and, i n p a r t i c u l a r , within the society of the twentieth century, i s based on Man's a l i e n a t i o n from himself and from others. He i s unable to go beyond the subjective s e l f i n order to see what r e a l i t y i s , and a l t e r n a t e l y or simultaneously needs and r e j e c t s others as they i n turn need and r e j e c t him, a l l ob- v i o u s l y sharing the same "angoisse" to a greater or l e s s e r extent, depending on t h e i r own state of a u t h e n t i c i t y . As was mentioned i n the i n t r o d u c t i o n , i t i s often stated that the form of the "nouveau roman" i s more important than i t s content. In a l l three of the French authors* t h e o r e t i c a l w r i t i n g s , 2 ^ there i s an insistence on the form of t h e i r w r i t i n g being the expression of today, as much as i s the content. At t h i s point a c l o s e r look at what these authors do say i s appro- 1970* Robbe-Grillet, Pro.iet pour une r l v o l u t i o n a" New York**, *** - 22 p r i a t e , since they are t a l k i n g not jus t about t h e i r own novel but about the "nouveau roman" i n general. In her c o l l e c t i o n of essays published under the t i t l e of L*Ere du soupson, Nathalie Sarraute s t a t e s , "La plupart des i d l e s exprimees dans ces a r t i c l e s constituent certaines bases e s s e n t i e l l e s de ce qu'on appelle aujourd'hui l e 'nouveau roman* M . 2 ^ As i n the other authors the form tased has been developed as a ve h i c l e f o r the ideas expressed. Sarraute*s own s t y l e i s eminently suited to expressing the f l e e t i n g movements d i f f i c u l t to discern and which she des ignates as "tropismes", and which underlie a l l the actions of the i n d i v i d u a l s she presents to us i n her novels and "por- t r a i t s " . She allows h e r s e l f to dream of a technique which would permit the reader to be more aware of what i s hidden beneath the surface of what he i s reading at the same time bestowing on the reader the a b i l i t y to do the same thing i n r e a l l i f e * This he would do by r e j e c t i n g the t r a d i t i o n a l forms o f psychological a n a l y s i s which succeed only i n cloud- i n g the t r u t h , by wanting to force her reader to experience a new order of senations,. i n the same way as do the other new n o v e l i s t s . The i d e a l author of Nathalie Sarraute i s a r e a l - i s t i n the true sense of the word, one who t r i e s i n a l l hon- esty and s i n c e r i t y to grasp and portray what he sees as r e a l - i t y . To t h i s a u t h o r / r e a l i s t , s t y l e i s an instrument having no other value than that o f revealing t h i s portion of r e a l i t y - 23 - " l e s t y l e ne pouvant I t r e beau qu'a l a fagon dont est beau l e geste de l*athl5te« d'autant plus beau q u ' i l est mieux adaptl 25 a sa f i n " . The aim i s to grasp an aspect of r e a l i t y not yet envisaged by others and to f i n d the form best suited to con- vey i t . As f o r Michel Butor, i n h i s essays co l l e c t e d under Reper- t o i r e I and as well as i n various interviews and lectures he has given, the r e a l i t y described i s once more that suited to the form the novel takes. He puts f o r t h the same arguments on form as those of Sarraute and Robbe-Grilleti "L'invent!on formelle dans l e roman, bien l o i n de s*opposer au rlalisrae comme 1*imagine trop souvent une c r i t i q u e a courte vue est l a 26 condition sine qua non d'un rSalisme plus poussl". Realism, formalism and symbolism are a l l i n d i s s o l u b l y united i n the n o v e l . With the use of a new form a new means of attack i s found to force the r e a l to reveal i t s e l f . Robbe-Grillet, although renowned f o r h i s apparent contra- d i c t i o n s i n what he has to say on h i s own novels and other works, con s i s t e n t l y affirms the same basic argument! that the s t y l e or form used i s merely an instrument to convey what the w r i t e r i s expressing. He refuses older forms i n a world where these are no longer appropriate, so that consequently i n h i s "nouveau roman", II y a done d'abord refus du vocabulaire analo- gique et de l'huraanisme t r a d i t i o n n e l , refus en mime temps de l'idee de tragedie, et de toute - zh - autre i d l e conduisant a l a croyance en une nature rofonde et s u p l r i e u r e , de 1*homme ou des choses et des deux ensemble), refus enfin de tout ordre p r l l t a b l i . 2 * 7 The "nouveau roman" i s the expression of t h i s i n both form and content, i t s purpose to form or create a new r e l a t i o n s h i p between Man and the world. Thus the n o v e l i s t i s also creating a new Man. For the reader and f o r the author, who should i d e a l l y not be "engage" i n any narrow sense, p o l i t i c a l l y or otherwise, the purpose of t h i s w r i t i n g i s not to give him a world s e l f - s u f f i c i e n t and ready made, but to allow him to p a r t i c i p a t e i n the creation of the world and perhaps h i s own l i f e . He has the " p o s s i b i l i t l de s e r v i r un jour p e u t - l t r e a quelque 28 chose—peut-Stre mime a l a r e v o l u t i o n " . The world i s i n need of r e - i n v e n t i o n—this world where the i n d i v i d u a l has become a number i n a machine, where the hero or anti-hero, of the more recent w r i t e r s , as of Kafka, has l i t t l e i n common with the Balzacian hero. Flaubert's stable coherent universe has also disappeared* "Notre monde, aujourd'hui, est moins sflr de lui-mSme, plus modeste peut-Stre p u i s q u ' i l regarde a u - d e l a " . ^ Thus the world they describe i s not an objective neuter one, but the exact opposite. With the passing of the t r a d i t i o n a l concept of Man and the t r a d i t i o n a l form goes also the cer t a i n t y and innocence inherent i n the simple " s t o r y " , impossible i n the world of - 25 - today. The only reason a reader has d i f f i c u l t y with the form of the "nouveau roman" i s that he has been conditioned to reading t r a d i t i o n a l novels. A l s o , since these authors are depicting the world as i t i s , they are describing a world i n which Man has d i f f i c u l t y f i n d i n g himself, because a l l the old constructions and norms have disappeared. As f a r as Robbe- G r i l l e t i s concerned, these novels are written with the words and sentences of anybody of today. Although the c r i t i c i s m frequently made of the "nouveau roman" and i n p a r t i c u l a r of that of Robbe-Grillet, i s that i t neglects Man, t h i s can be e a s i l y dismissed. Quotations from Robbe-Grillet lend personal strength to t h i s r e f u t a t i o n . I t i s not so important to stress t h i s element i n Sarraute*s work, since her whole theory of Man as a being reacting with varying t r o p i s t i c movements l i e s at the base of her w r i t i n g s , nor i n Butor f o r whom the mythological quest of one man be- comes that of a l l men, and hence of s o c i e t y . Society i s as l i m i t e d or unlimited as the i n d i v i d u a l protagonist*s mind allows. For Robbe-Grillet, l i t e r a t u r e simply exposes the s i t u a t i o n of Man and the universe with which he i s i n contact! "Le nouveau roman ne s ' i n t l r e s s e qu'a l*horame et a sa s i t u a - t i o n dans l e monde".-^ As f o r so-called o b j e c t i v i t y , Robbe- G r i l l e t ' s best c r i t i c i s m of t h i s i s found i n h i s f i r s t pub- l i s h e d n ovel, Les Gommes, where he says, "On s a i t que l'auteur ne rapporte tous ces discours oiseux que par souci d'objecti- - 26 - v i t S t et malgrS l e souci q u ' i l prend de l a presenter avec un Sgal dStachement i l est c l a i r que l a s u i t e , au c o n t r a i r e , l u i t i e n t au c o e u r " . M a n has, as Robbe-Grillet i n s i s t s , been given f i r s t p l a c e , and the subjective r o l e of the reader has become greater than i t ever was i n the past» Dans nos l i v r e s , au c o n t r a i r e , c'est un HOMME qui v o i t , qui sent, qui imagine, un homme situe dans l'espace et l e temps, conditionne" par ses passions, un homme comme vous et moi. Et l e l i v r e ne rapporte r i e n d'autre que son experience, l i m i t e e , i n c e r t a i n e . C'est un homme d ' i c i , un homme de maintenant, qui est son propre narra- teur enf i n . Therefore when t h i s author talks of " o b j e c t i v i t e " he i s not t a l k i n g of the opposite to s u b j e c t i v i t y , but of a state of mind turned onto the object or focused on i t . The new novel i s aiming at t o t a l s u b j e c t i v i t y , and his novels are, he says, more subjective than those of Balzac. Indeed he states that t h i s s u b j e c t i v i t y i s i n f a c t the e s s e n t i a l c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of the "nouveau roman"• Nathalie Sarraute*s characters are, f o r the most p a r t , anonymous, since as she h e r s e l f explains anonymity i s the best way of presenting the p a r t i c u l a r movements which are present i n everybody and are able to occur at any moment. Some of Robbe-Grillet*s characters have names, while others are anon- ymous i n the same way most people i n a street are anonymous to us. These are a f t e r a l l novels depicting the mind of i n d i v i d u a l s . Just as we know almost nothing about the hundreds of people we see, so, i n the "nouveau roman", most of the - 2? - characters are without name or past, only e x i s t i n g by the bonds created through t h e i r gestures, voices, and t h e i r own imagination. V THE AUTHORS* CONCEPT OF MAN AND SOCIETY Nathalie Sarraute» S i t u a t i o n a l l y , i n both s t y l e and content, Sarraute*s works l i e between the novels of Proust and those of the other "nouveaux romanciers". In her essays on the novel i n L'Ere du Soupcon, she pre- sents the ideas exemplified i n her works. One of the most important of these i s that of "tropismes"—a b i o l o g i c a l l y ac- ceptable term f o r varied reactions to external or i n t e r n a l stimuli—and t h e i r e f f e c t s upon i n d i v i d u a l s i n general, or i n p a r t i c u l a r , upon those i n d i v i d u a l s who are aware of these movements i n both themselves, and others. Aptly enough, her f i r s t work has f o r i t s t i t l e Tropismes, both theme and con- tent of her work. She has continued to develop t h i s concept throughout her other works. To explain what these "tropismes" are at t h i s point i s important to the l a t e r discussion of the i n d i v i d u a l i n her novels. These movements are an expression of the r e a l i t y they e x i s t i n and are part o f i "Ce sont des mouvements i n - defin i s s a b l e s f qui g l i s s e n t trSs rapidement aux l i m i t e s de - 28 - notre conscience; i l s sont a 1'origine de nos gestes, de nos paroles, des sentiments que nous manifestons, que nous croyons eprouver et q u * i l est possible de d l f i n i r . I l s me paraissaient et me paraissent encore constituer l a source s e c r l t e de notre 33 existence". When she began w r i t i n g Tropismes i n 1932, she was attempting to express what she had already f e l t i n reading Dostoyevsky, and what had been merely touched upon by Proust as f a r as the inner l i f e of Man was concerned. Thus the r e a l i t y described by Nathalie Sarraute i s b a s i c - a l l y b i o l o g i c a l , but Man, with h i s conscience and language being not an ordinary animal, the tropisms described are more subtle and complex than those perceptible i n other beings. As i s the case i n the simpler animal world, tropisms themselves are dependent on t h e i r e c o l o g i c a l environment—constituting i n the Sarraute novels, the s o c i a l milieu or on other beings, to-create the stimulus necessary to provoke the r e a c t i o n . Therefore from the f i r s t , Man, as such, i s dependent on both things and other men f o r h i s very existence. He cannot e x i s t alone. As a b i o l o g i c a l being that i s s c i e n t i f i c a l l y impossi- b l e . I f Man with h i s imagination i s unable to f i n d himself a r e a l partner i n the i n t e r p l a y dramas so necessary to h i s e x i s - tence, then he invents one, taking t h i s partner e i t h e r from hi s past experience or from h i s dreams. To f i n d the authentic s e l f i s to f i n d what l i e s beneath the surface of Man. To do t h i s one must accept that a l l men - 29 - are b a s i c a l l y the same. I f the i n d i v i d u a l i s intent enough on doing t h i s , he should succeed. I t i s p a r t i c u l a r l y i n the d a i l y communication or non- communication that are revealed the hidden truths the pro- tagonists seek. Thus there i s a constant play between the s u p e r f i c i a l and those underlying elements which, i f they come to the surface, could destroy everything s u p e r f i c i a l and with i t the f a l s e s e c u r i t y protecting so many i n s o c i e t y . Conveyed by words more than by a c t i o n s , these things are themselves dangerous when used i n games played by the members of the established s o c i e t y . Since people are b a s i c a l l y the same, they are able to cause reactions i n each other and sometimes to see the authen- t i c s e l f hidden behind the fagade of day to day action and conversation. Once again the paradox of Man i s brought out. As the authentic outsider i s needed by and needs inauthentic s o c i e t y , so d a i l y inauthentic conversation i s the means by which the authentic can be guessed a t . To r e a l l y see others i s the a b i l i t y to go beyond the s e l f into a v e r i t a b l e commun- i c a t i o n . Thus, beyond mere Man i s the re s t of existence and b a s i c a l l y the re l a t i o n s h i p Man establishes with respect to "things", reveals the inner psychology of Man. As i s the case with the other new n o v e l i s t s , Nathalie Sarraute would l i k e to see Man free from t i e s he has created himself, to the ob- je c t s around him. These t i e s r e s u l t from Man's fear of the - 30 - unknown. Wishing to make the unknown world a safer p l a c e , more secure, he destroys i t s r e a l i t y , making of things, i n h i s "pananthropique" r e l a t i o n s h i p to them, mere r e f l e c t i o n s of h i s own mind, refusing to face what he i s f e a r f u l l y avoid- ing and thus creating h i s own p r i s o n . "Angoisse" i n the S a r t r i a n sense i s part of t h i s r e l a - t i o n s h i p , with the r e f u s a l of the majority of people to see t h e i r own s i t u a t i o n as a mere l i n k i n an i n f i n i t e chain. When the person f e e l s he has no grasp on the external world, l i k e Roquentin does when he i s overcome by nausea, so the Sarrautian character has t h i s "impression de f l u i d i t y , de vertige qui ac- compagne l a sensation presque physique que tout vous Ichappe" f o r " l e mouvement reprlsente tout ce sur quoi 1*homme n'a pas de p r i s e , l ' i m m o b i l i t l est ce qui r e s i s t e a l ' i n f l u e n c e humaine, 34 f a i s a n t obstacle". The f i r s t sensation i s i l l u s t r a t e d i n P o r t r a i t d'un inconnu when the narrator i s t a l k i n g about the so-called dangerous moments where one gets an impression of f a l l i n g or giddiness and one becomes aware of " l e frSlement anonyme et f r o i d du temps, l a chute incessante des instants".3 5 With nothing to grasp hold of at these moments, people search and f e e l about them haphazardly t r y i n g to f i n d something to grasp onto, something which w i l l give them some c e r t a i n t y and s e c u r i t y . As does Alain' s aunt i n Le P l a n e t a r i u m , t h e y f i n d i n the objects they take hold o f , the necessary protection against a strange and menacing universe. These objects act - 31 - as a protective screen. In t h e i r b e l i e f that c o n t r o l over the material world w i l l give them power they f e e l l a c k i n g , people lose t h i s very power by binding themselves so c l o s e l y to objects that they themselves become d o l l - l i k e , quasi-ob- j e c t s . Seen through the eyes of others they appear dominated and passive. Those who from the very f e a r of becoming nothing, have sought i n things the s e c u r i t y and s o l i d i t y they are un- able to f i n d i n themselves, i n t h e i r r e f u s a l to see or even look beyond the c l i c h e s and p l a t i t u d e s of t h e i r d a i l y l i v e s , by using external objects as receptacles f o r t h e i r own emo- t i o n s , have contributed to the v i c i o u s c i r c l e which dehuman- iz e s Man and takes away from things t h e i r very r e a l i t y . In the same way as a control over the material world r e - presents s e c u r i t y to the i n d i v i d u a l , so the process of becoming an object oneself, i s a l o s s not only of control but i s i n some sense death. I t i s not only h i s own s e c u r i t y which i s constantly menaced, but that of what he created or leaves be- hind as a testimonial of h i s own essence and creative powers* hence the importance of the work of a r t as an e n t i t y i n i t s e l f 37 i n Nathalie Sarraute*s works, yet at the same time r e f l e c t i n g the same paradox of existence as Man. This a t t i t u d e to the creative product i s also seen i n Butor and i n B a s i l e . Again as w i l l be shown i n Robbe-Grillet, the i d e a l r e - l a t i o n s h i p between Man and objects would be to f e e l there are - 32 - no emotional t i e s , and, again, to be able to use or manipu- l a t e things at w i l l . Instead the majority of characters have a completely subjective impression of the object under con- s i d e r a t i o n . Objects obtain a sort of magic power. Becoming ends i n themselves, " i l s correspondent a une s a i s i e Imotion- e l l e du r e e l " . - 3 8  With objects thus "humanized", the i n d i v i - dual can become ensnared i n t h i s trap of h i s own making. This need to f i n d s e c u r i t y through objects i s r e f l e c t e d i n the desperation i f t h i s object i s found to have a flaw or " f a i l l e " . Just as the Robbe-Grillet protagonists see t h e i r mental or p h y s i c a l flaw r e f l e c t e d i n the flaws they search f o r to the point of obsession, f i n d i n g them i n the external world, so the desire of the Sarraute characters to o b l i t e r a t e any such flaw expresses t h e i r own f e a r of death and inner flaws. The old man i n P o r t r a i t d'un inconnu i s so obsessed by the flaw he finds i n the bathroom that he becomes almost maniacal i n h i s desire to o b l i t e r a t e i t . The aunt i n Le P l a n l - tarium, reacts i n the same way to a flaw i n the wood of the p a i n f u l l y acquired door she p r i z e s . Like the woman constantly t r y i n g to r e p a i r her makeup everything must be i n order. In P o r t r a i t d'un inconnu, as i n the l a t e r novels of both Sarraute and the other "new" n o v e l i s t s , the search f o r meaning, a u t h e n t i c i t y , and communication i n the society and world of which the protagonist i s a p a r t , ressembles the minute i n t r o - spection t y p i c a l of the "roman p o l i c i e r " . The c e n t r a l s t y l e of the "nouveau roman" bears many ressemblances to the detec- - 33 - t i v e n o v e l— i r o n i c a l l y , i n that the actual search though r e - vealing many c l u e s , ends i n as much confusion or more, as i t began with. This i s p a r t i c u l a r l y s t r i k i n g i n the Robbe-Gril- l e t novels where i t assumes the proportion of a game. His f i r s t— L e s Gommes—is almost a parody of the "roman p o l i c i e r " , w h i l s t a l l h i s novels, to a greater or l e s s e r extent, provide seemingly l o g i c a l explanations of events, which, however, the reader cannot accept. Butor goes so f a r as to explain what the "roman p o l i c i e r " i s i n L'Emploi du tempsi " l e r e c i t est f a i t a contre-courant p u i s q u ' i l commence par l e crime, abou- tissement de tous l e s drames que l e detective d o i t retrouver peu 3. peu, ce qui est a bien des egards plus naturel que de raconter sans jamais revenir en a r r i & r e , d'abord l e premier jour de l ' h i s t o i r e , puis l e second, et seulement apr&s l e s jours suivants dans l'ordre du calendrier".39 i n the same way Revel, the protagonist of t h i s Butor novel, t r i e s to un- r a v e l the mystery of h i s days i n Bleston i n the form of the diary he keeps. Butor takes h i s search and f i n d i n g of clues even further i n that he has h i s d e t e c t i v e - l i k e protagonist uncover the whole mythological past of mankind. Michel Butort More l y r i c a l and a l i t t l e more conventional—at f i r s t reading—in form than the other new n o v e l i s t s , i n theme and con- t e n t , with the possible exception of h i s f i r s t novel Passage de Milan, Butor expresses from a s l i g h t l y d i f f e r e n t angle the - 34 - same general theme of modern man's a l i e n a t i o n from the world around him, from others and, more t r a g i c a l l y , from himself. For Butor, the creative act i t s e l f not only expresses r e a l i t y , but i s indeed another segment of r e a l i t y . The novel, f o r him, l i k e a dream, points the way to answers to questions posed by everyday r e a l i t y . At the same time, becoming ever more involved, from a merely conventional and f a i r l y contrived space/time r e l a t i o n s h i p i n the f i r s t novel, Butor w i l l f i n a l l y proceed to the complicated description of the space/time/ knowledge (or content) r e l a t i o n s h i p s i n his l a s t novel Degrls. However the main purpose of the author's writing i s the same as i t i s f o r the characters i n his novels' "pour me de- barrasser de ces regions de l a conscience qui me troublent, qui m'inqui&tent, qui m'empSchent de dormir, qui frappent a 41 l a porte de ma t&te". He i s not wr i t i n g novels to s e l l them but to give a meaning to h i s l i f e and thereby, he hopes, to others'. P o l i t i c a l i n the widest sense and not i n any narrow sense, since they deal with Man and society (the basis f o r any p o l i t i c a l conception of Man) with the aim of a r r i v i n g at a possible answer to the problems facing the i n d i v i d u a l i n society t h e i r function i s also s o c i a l . In i t s a b i l i t y to apprehend r e a l i t y , the novel permits the reader and w r i t e r to a t t a i n a c e r t a i n s t a b i l i t y i n a turbulent world. By a cur- i o u s , s u r r e a l i s t i c juxtaposition of the b a n a l i t i e s and common- place incidents of d a i l y l i f e , which o r d i n a r i l y pass by unno- - 35 - t i c e d , the novel makes one aware of the f u l l n e s s of t h i s l i f e . The purpose of writ i n g i s to reveal as i n a d i a r y , written f o r oneself, what has been formerly hidden. I t i s by means of the novel, that Butor believes as do Robbe- G r i l l e t and Basile that r e a l i t y as a whole can become con- scious of i t s e l f and from t h i s c r i t i c i s e and transform i t - self—Man being n e c e s s a r i l y part of t h i s t o t a l r e a l i t y . Although not e x p l i c i t l y s t a t i n g t h i s except i n the case of Jean Basile through h i s protagonist Jonathon whose whole l i f e i s given over to the creative process f o r t h i s very purpose, the Quebecois writers hold the same views i n t h e i r works. To Butor, who began with poetry and has since r e - turned to i t , the n o v e l i s t and poet are often one and the same. The poet's i n s p i r a t i o n i s also the world he l i v e s i n , with the poet himself a p r i v i l e g e d moment able to express i n words the changing world. As with these novels, poetry i s v a riously i n t e r p r e t a b l e . Yet, paradoxically, he who de- votes h i s l i f e to a r t , and i n t h i s instance, w r i t i n g , must s u f f e r c e r t a i n consequences. Robbe-Grillet» In h i s essays c o l l e c t e d i n Pour un Nouveau Roman, Robbe- G r i l l e t sets out ideas on the p o s s i b i l i t i e s facing modern man. These ideas are f a r more r e a l i s t i c i n t h e i r approach to a sol u t i o n to Man's a l i e n a t i o n than were those of Sarraute and Butor. Yet though these ideas are so c l e a r l y and l o g i c a l l y - 36 - presented i n the essays, i t i s the un r e a l i t y awakened by the mind of the protagonist which overshadows a l l else i n Robbe- G r i l l e t ' s novels. The author may state o p t i m i s t i c a l l y and humourously that his purpose i n presenting the eroticism i n his novels ( i n p a r t i c u l a r his l a t e s t one, Projet pour une revolution a New York  c ) and f i l m s , i s to free Man of his ob- session with t h i s very aspect of human l i f e . Nevertheless t h i s sado-masochism d i s t o r t i n g the mind and r e a l i t y of the in d i v i d u a l s u f f e r i n g under i t i s a theme constant i n his works.  M Le theme de l a legon du jour p a r a i t etre * l a cou- leu r rouge' envisage comme soluti o n radicale a l ' i r r e d u c t i b l e antagonisme entre l e n o i r et l e blanc". In the f i r s t novels, the emphasis i s on Man and his r e - la t i o n s h i p to external objects, i n so f a r as these have a bearing on his own obsessions. Finding a support f o r his emotions or obsessions i n the objects around him, as do the Sarrautian characters, the Robbe-Grillet protagonist makes use of the world external to himself to a l l e v i a t e h i s own •sickness of the so u l ' p r o j e c t i n g onto things, f e e l i n g s and at t r i b u t e s they do not possess and which are i n fac t his own. In the world objects e x i s t . The i d e a l i s f o r Man to put these •things* i n t h e i r correct perspective. I f Man i s no longer bound by things or by t h e i r pre-determined meaningi "poser l e s objets comme purement exterieurs et s u p e r f i c i e l s , ce n*est pas comme on l ' a d i t— n i e r l'homraet mais c'est repousser - 37 - I'idee 'pananthropique* contenue dans l'humanisme t r a d i t i o n - n e l , comme probablement dans tout humanisme. Ce n'est, en f i n de compte, que conduire dans ses consequences logiques l a , kit. revendication de ma l i b e r t e " . With t h i s outlook, to consider the idea of tragedy as e x i s t i n g i n the external world i s to accept i t s existence, which i s exactly what Robbe-Grillet wants Man to avoid. I f one does not seek refuge i n objects then one i s free of de- pendency on them as support f o r emotion. The i d e a l l y free man who has no such 'metaphysical pact' with things and the external w o r l d — a pact made f o r him by others who preceded him--realizes he can thus escape servitude and fear, or w i l l be able to one day. Thus with the same basic attitude as Nathalie Sarraute to Man's servitude to objects, and with the idea of breaking these metaphorical chains, Robbe-Grillet goes one step f u r - ther i n the possible future l i b e r a t i o n of Man. This author never loses sight of Man's r e l a t i o n s h i p to things and people. Like Sarraute*s t r o p i s t i c a l l y activated people, Man f o r Robbe- G r i l l e t i s a s e r i e s of reactions to the various s t i m u l i , but with the p o s s i b i l i t y of c o n t r o l l i n g his own reactions to free himself. On the other hand, however, he i s not refusing a l l contact with the world e x t e r i o r to himself. He must simply learn to use i t f o r mere material ends. I t i s perhaps as the converted s c i e n t i s t that Robbe-Grillet i s so well-suited to - 38 - see man's rel a t i o n s h i p to a world where there i s neither God nor other external refuge. As Jean A l t e r states i n "La Us V i s i o n du monde d*Alain Robbe-Grillet", the s c i e n t i s t i s one of the few able to describe objects without imposing ex- tern a l values on them, without i n t e r p r e t i n g them. Hence i t i s i n the presence of the world that i t s r e a l i t y l i e s , not i n i t s " s i g n i f i c a t i o n " , and the best way of looking at the world i s " o p t i c a l l y " as t h i s i s the l e a s t l i k e l y way to misinterpret what i s r e g i s t e r e d . Therefore Robbe-Grillet denies giving properties to things, since t h i s would create a bond making Man dependent on things. He also r e j e c t s the idea of the 'absurd' which, according to him, leads to t r a - gedy through i t s implication of lack of communion, again im- pl y i n g a w i l l on the part of things. I f things simply e x i s t and Man i s free to use them at w i l l , then Man i s f r e e . Although his obsessed protagonists are the opposite to the i d e a l l y free man, they are on the way to achieving t h i s freedom through a mental c a t h a r s i s . This i s best understood by what the author says i n Pro.jet pour une revolution a New York, as well as i n various interviews he has given on t h i s novel ("La lecture est une c a t h a r s i s , l e spectacle une purga- % 46 t i o n " ) . The theme of the novel i t s e l f i s violence, treated to an extent not often encountered i n h i s other works. I t i s the author's expressed hope of removing the mythical meaning attached to such u n t i l nowi "Le crime est indispensable a l a - 39 ~ revolution"..."le v i o l , l'assassinat, l'incendie sont les trois actes mataphoriques qui libereront les nSgres, les proletariats en loques et les travailleurs intellectuals de leur esclavage, en mime temps l a bourgeoisie de ses complexes secrets".^ Since Man of today i s af r a i d , according to Robbe-Grillet, to dispel this fear i t i s necessary to face i t— t o take i t to the point where the elements of this fear become a game. Unlike the other two French novelists, Robbe-Grillet 9 s novels and in par- ti c u l a r this last one, are tinged with a black humour. This humour i s also found in the Queblcois writers. The *jeu* as- pect i s more serious than i t might seem at f i r s t glance, with i t s property of stimulating the imagination. For Robbe-Grillet i t i s not just the humour which i s important, but the naked light i t throws on human myths, which rids Man of the un- speakable and secret within himself. Without any moralizing masks, this brings his own fears into the open, preventing him from being destroyed by myths of his own making. Robbe-Grillet seems to be echoing to a large extent Butor*s protagonists when he says that the best way to dominate the •angoisse* and 'despair* f e l t by Man in the world i s through writing about them and, in particular, about those elements which are the most frightening. Such a treatment can create distance between the man and what he feels. The ways of crea- ting this distance are numerous. To do this Robbe-Grillet i s looking for a new way "de parler ce monde, qui me permette d'y - 40 - « « 48 vivre autrement qu'en a l i e n ! " . He i s at t h i s point very close to the 'parler' of the Quebecois Rejean Ducharme, with the 'new' world i t also represents. As Robbe-Grillet says **1*organisation de ces images reste l'espace ou s'exerce toujours ma l i b e r t e " . Thus h i s o r i g i n a l i n t e n t i o n of fo r c i n g Man to face r e a l - i t y as i t IS i s s t i l l pertinent. What he had to say i n Pour un Nouveau Roman i s merely developed further i n Pro .jet -pour une revolution a New York. Reality f o r him i s here and now. I t i s not the hidden s i g n i f i c a n c e that i s important but the s o l i d concrete and material presence of the world, and beyond what Man sees or can perceive with h i s senses nothing else e x i s t s . At t h i s stage of h i s affirmation of existence there i s a strong ressemblance to Meursault's recognition of what r e a l i t y i s . Any explanation of things i s superfluous, or, worse, leads to tragedy. There i s nothing inside things. Man the spectator i s the only witness. There i s not God— jus t the "voyeur". Man's aim should be to avoid communion with the world and f o r t h i s reason metaphorical descriptions are also to be avoided, implying as they do response and f e e l i n g i n things where there i s i n r e a l i t y nothing. Hence f a r from being novels about things, the Robbe-Gril- l e t novels present the description of things or events as interpreted by a c e r t a i n i n d i v i d u a l . Each i n d i v i d u a l i s , i n the Robbe-Grillet sense, a "voyeur". I t i s through t h i s i n d i - - d i - vidual and what he sees, or believes he sees, or imagines he sees that the reader must in t e r p r e t these novels«  M L'homme y est present a chaque page, a chaque l i g n e , a chaque mot. Mime s i l'on y trouve beaucoup d'objets et d e c r i t s avec minu- t i e , i l y a toujours d'abord l e regard qui l e s v o i t , l a pen- see qui l e s r e v o l t , l a passion qui l e s deforme**.^ 0 This world of imagination i s a deeply personal and i n d i - v i d u a l one, many aspects of which ressemble the tortured no- vels of Franz Kafka, from whom Robbe-Grillet*s characters have inherited a great d e a l . The re l a t i o n s h i p of the Kafka protagonist with the world i s d i r e c t and immediate. Thus the world of Kafka and of Robbe-Grillet i s the same " t e l que l'oriente MON POINT DE VUE| je n'en connaltrai jamais d'autre. La s u b j e c t i v i t e r e l a t i v e de mon regard me sert precisement a DEFINIR MA SITUATION DANS LE MONDE. J'evite simplement de concourir moi-mime, a f a i r e de cette s i t u a t i o n une servitude**.^ VI INTRODUCTION TO THE NOUVEAU ROMAN IN FRENCH CANADA (QUEBEC) M Que l'echec est frlquent au Quebec! Que l e suicide est frequent dans nos lettres*''-' 2 Less able to look at t h e i r s i t u a t i o n 'objectively* i n the sense of extending what they are writ i n g about beyond the immediate context of t h e i r personal involvement, the Que- becois w r i t e r s , as was mentioned are c l o s e l y t i e d to the past - 42 - and present of t h e i r nation and s i t u a t i o n . Yet obviously what they describe, since i t i s again a de s c r i p t i o n of Man, goes beyond the immediate context of Quebec, as i s implied i n the quotation r e f e r r i n g to Bessette, but equally a p p l i c a - ble to the other two Quebecois w r i t e r s . "L'originalite* de Bessette, c'est de savoir i s o l e r ce fond e s s e n t i e l de notre subconscient c o l l e c t i f de fagon 3. nous f a i r e revivre dans CO ses romans une abstraction de nous-mimes". In order to understand a l i t t l e the differences which e x i s t between the "nouveau roman" of French Canada and that of France as well as the reason f o r these d i f f e r e n c e s , i t i s necessary to discuss the present temper of t h i s part of Can- ada and i t s people, i n so f a r as i t has a bearing on the au- thors treated i n t h i s t h e s i s , as well as comparing the authors of the two c u l t u r e s . Bessette, f i r s t of a l l , not merely i n age, but also be- cause of h i s b i o l o g i c a l outlook, as well as i n the depiction of h i s protagonist i n age and s o c i a l s i t u a t i o n , f i t s i n with Sarraute and Butor. Although Basile's protagonists seem to belong to a younger generation than those of Butor, there are several bases f o r comparison with Butor's i n d i v i d u a l s . Both n o v e l i s t s ' protag- onists l i v e i n the past while b e l i e v i n g t h e i r l i v e s are f u l l y •present'. Since Basile's three 'J's' are unable to come to - 43 - terms with the present, r e l y i n g upon the a r t i s t i c creation of Jonathan f o r t h e i r immortality and s e l f - j u s t i f i c a t i o n , they must face the same consequences of s u b s t i t u t i n g "art* f o r l i f e , as do Butor*s protagonists. F i n a l l y , the youngest w r i t e r , Rejean Ducharme* i s c l o s e s t to Robbe-Grillet^ 2 * i n depiction of characters. In t h e i r IMAG- INATION, i f not i n r e a l i t y , they are outside society as i t ex- i s t s . Like Robbe-Grillet*s characters, schizophrenic, obsessed and paranoiac i n d i v i d u a l s , the Ducharme creations l i v e i n a t o - t a l l y a l i e n world. To the Robbe-Grillet and Ducharme protagon- i s t s there seems no c l e a r l i n e of demarcation between r e a l i t y and imagination. Their mind fantasies are such that the two are inseparable. The only f i n a l difference i s that the Dueharme chi l d r e n are c h i l d r e n f a c i n g adulthood while the Robbe-Grillet protagonists await something beyond the present s o c i e t y . In general the modern French Canadian novel expresses the a l i e n a t i o n and search f o r s e l f expressed i n the new no- v e l s in' France. These two themes are, by t h e i r nature, to a large extent even more applicable to the French Canadians who are b a s i c a l l y a dispossessed people. With t h e i r f e e l i n g s of g u i l t and i n f e r i o r i t y , as well as t h e i r deep desire to as- s e r t themselves, they need thwart form to r e l e a s e , show, and attempt to f i n d , a s o l u t i o n to t h e i r own anguish. S t r u c t u r a l l y , the French Canadian new novel obviously owes a great deal to i t s French predecessors, and i n p a r t i c u l a r to Robbe-Grillet and Butor. However both Bessette and Basile tend to emphasize t h e i r being influenced by American authors, such as Dos Passos i n the case of Bessette, Faulkner f o r Bas- i l e . B asile rather f e r o c i o u s l y disclaims a l l French influence —at l e a s t d i r e c t—a consequence of the desire to escape French models and assert h i s own independence. This i s a f e e l i n g shared by many of the Qulbecois, who p r a c t i c e a coun- t e r - r e j e c t i o n of the mother culture which often f a i l s to r e - cognize the merits of i t s Canadian o f f s p r i n g . On the other hand there i s an obvious a f f i n i t y of mind with the ever p r e - sent American c i v i l i z a t i o n , whose economic s u p e r i o r i t y lends even more force to the already e x i s t i n g bilingual!sm and dependency. The American influence i s f a r greater on the French Canadians than i t could be on the French, f o r whom i t has been diffused across continents by the i n d i v i d u a l American authors of the f i r s t h a l f of the century. For the Qulbecois i t i s part of t h e i r own time and continent. As there i s , to an extent, a r e f u s a l of the French i n - fluence on t h e i r works, so i t can be seen that i n t h e i r novels, the English Canadian f a c t o r i s almost non-existent. For the most part i t i s ignored, whether the main action takes place i n a French province where there i s s t i l l a large sector of English-speaking Canadians, or elsewhere as i n L"Incubation-^ of Bessette or i n the novels of Rejean Ducharme. I t i s as i f - 45 - i n t h e i r desire to assert themselves, they refuse to see the obvious, l i v i n g i n an hermetically sealed world populated only by themselves and t h e i r l i k e . Just as unreal i s t h e i r almost f a i r y - t a l e - l i k e avoidance of violence, i n contrast to the actual violence within Qulbec i t s e l f . These same t r a i t s are seen i n the French "nouveau roman". Any violence that does occur i s a very personal one. Not only i s there no s o c i o - p o l i t i c a l "engagement* i n the narrow sense of one na- tion's p o l i t i c s or sociology, but actual events external to the p r i v a t e world of the i n d i v i d u a l , not d i r e c t l y a f f e c t i n g him, have no place i n the mind-world of the novels, apart from a vague mention here and there of such events as the Vietnam war which might occur i n the mind of any i n d i v i d u a l i n h i s day-to-day l i f e . This i s not to say that death and tragedy are not present, but i t i s a tragedy of the i n d i v i - dual and of the s e l f . Indeed, unlike the characters of the French "nouveau roman", those of the French Canadian novel treated do not seem representative of a group, and rather than forming a homogenous whole—a society—seem together to be a conglomeration of d i f f e r e n t i n d i v i d u a l s . In the same way the family unit does not e x i s t as i t does i n Sarraute*s or Butor*s novels, and there i s i n these French Canadian new novels no r e a l c r i t i c i s m—a s there was i n e a r l i e r French Canadian novels —o f the family as a u n i t . . . i n f a c t i n most of the novels the characters seem to be members of a very atypical family, a c t u a l orphans, or "orphans' or t h e i r own choosing-. The ex- - 46 - ceptions to t h i s are Bessette's two novels. In L'Incubation t h i s c r i t i c i s i n g the family unit i s not i n the foreground. In h i s l a t e s t published novel however, the family i s c r i t i - c i s e d , but more as a unit of society f a t a l i s t i c a l l y deter- mined by Man of the past and from which Man of the present i s unable to escape. Brought up i n a Church-dominated s o c i e t y , with the consequent socio-economic i m p l i c a t i o n s , where the p r i e s t not only represents the Church on earth, but also f u l - f i l l s the p o s i t i o n of the s p i r i t u a l father i n the rather am- biguous French Canadian family where the r e a l father i s usu- a l l y absent or of r e l a t i v e unimportance, and where the mother i s both all-powerful as matriarch and the s u f f e r i n g martyr v i c t i m i n the r o l e forced on her by that very Church, the r e - je c t i o n of Church and family leads to the 'orphan' s i t u a t i o n . Thus there i s no " c r i s e de f o i H  i n the consequent break-away from the Church, since the l a t t e r ' s importance i s l e s s r e l i - gious than s o c i a l . Neither i s there any r e v o l u t i o n , but r a - ther a r e v o l t against the e x i s t i n g i n s t i t u t i o n s , t h i s r e v o l t being expressed i n the form of r e f u s a l or r e j e c t i o n . This same at t i t u d e i s c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of the "nouveau roman" of France. However i n the French "new novels", with the excep- t i o n of Pro.iet pour une revolution a New York, the r e v o l t i s that of the i n d i v i d u a l against his own milieu and the impos- s i b i l i t y of h i s r e c o n c i l i n g h i s i n d i v i d u a l i t y with the mores and demands of the society of which he i s a p a r t . In the Que'be'cois novel on the other hand, t h i s r e v o l t r e f l e c t s the - 47 - the basic anguish of a minority group with i t s own set of values within a larger group almost t o t a l l y incomprehending of the smaller group's needs. Obviously i n a society based on the i n d i v i d u a l ' s ac- ceptance of his own g u i l t , due to his r e l i g i o u s , p o l i t i c a l and economical s i t u a t i o n , a new set of values must be found and a new code of morality set up i n order to r i d him of t h i s g u i l t and f i n d and assert the r e a l s e l f . In the French new novel, the majority of the protagonists are a c t u a l l y 'out- side r s ' i n a society foreign to them, giving them the pos- s i b i l i t y of a new perspective, of seeing themselves as a l i e n , whereas the French Canadian protagonists are t r a g i c a l l y 'out- si d e r s ' within t h e i r own society. One of the f i r s t reactions to t h e i r s i t u a t i o n i s found i n the desire to escape, to get away from a l l e x i s t i n g i n - fluences and s t a r t afresh somewhere else. This theme i s constantly present—has indeed permeated a l l of French Can- adian l i t e r a t u r e — w h e t h e r i t i s escape i n space to another country, or' i n time expressed i n the nostalgic desire to become once again an 'ancien Canadien'. This l a t t e r i s par- t i c u l a r l y evident when the i n d i v i d u a l s are faced with the i s o - l a t i n g l o n e l iness of the metropolis they l i v e i n . However they are constantly frustrated by the knowledge that f l i g h t i s not enough. Deeply p a t r i o t i c , they r e a l i z e that to find themselves, they must reconstitute themselves by accepting - 48 - t h e i r b i r t h r i g h t , modifying i t i f p o s s i b l e , or l i v i n g within i t without being affected by i t and thus to a ce r t a i n extent r e j e c t i n g i t . Sometimes the only resolution i s that of the young i n t e l l e c t u a l hero t y p i c a l of the new novel i n French Canada, who refuses the p s e u d o - i n t e l l e c t u a l i t y of young po- l i t i c a l r evolutionaries to work f o r the"future of his own w r i t i n g s . The idea i s not too f a r removed from that of the French new n o v e l i s t s . Usually a j o u r n a l i s t and/or w r i t e r of novels, t h i s a r t i s t outsider incarnates the ambition f o r s o c i a l emancipation. I t i s indeed by the act of writing—• as exemplified by the word coined by Godbout i n Salut Galar- neau--*vecrire*, that t h i s young or not so young hero can destroy and reconstruct the society he l i v e s i n . Without any p o l i t i c a l 'engagement* he i s nevertheless a constant de- monstrator and contestant. Again his involvement i s that of the other new n o v e l i s t s . I f i t i s not p o l i t i c a l i n the nar- row sense, i t i s so i n a much wider one. Hence t h i s l i t e r a t u r e i s one of r e a l despair and dispos- session. F i l l e d with a strange pessimism, i t i s marked quite often by a b i t t e r , black humour seen only i n Robbe-Grillet on the French s i d e . Not only i s t h i s dispossession r e f l e c t e d i n the denial of past bonds, but also i n the i n a b i l i t y of the French Canadian to r e a l l y communicate with h i s fellow beings. This desire to communicate has resulted i n the establishment within the French Canadian society i t s e l f of an hermetic l a n - guage—joual—based, unfortunately, on the two languages - 49 - spoken i n Quebec and thus, to a large extent, s e l f - d e f e a t i n g . On the other hand t h i s same tendency i s seen i n the young wri t e r Ducharme^ with h i s b e a u t i f u l , poetic and quite extra- ordinary neologisms, manifesting a new self-possession not found i n older writers whose very s t y l e seems cramped by t h e i r l i m i t a t i o n s based on t h e i r own fear of disapproval. By f a r the most important form of communication i s love and i t s expression, whether physical or otherwise. Love be- tween man and woman i s an important theme i n the modern novel i n Quebec. Strangely enough the e r o t i c s a d i s t i c imaginings of Robbe-Grillet r e f l e c t dramatically the other side of the a l i e n a t i o n f e l t by modern man and p a r t i c u l a r l y i n t h i s i n - stance, the French Canadian. Ps y c h o l o g i c a l l y , the subjugated, g u i l t - r i d d e n i n d i v i d u a l i s incapable of loving either himself o r , by extension, others. "Love", when i t does e x i s t i n these novels, consists e i t h e r of b r u t a l physical contact with no r e a l •communication', or of a love r e l a t i o n s h i p developed with a foreigner, not a member of the actual s o c i e t y . This r e l a t i o n s h i p usually occurs as the r e s u l t of a voyage—in other words away from the influence that make of the i n d i v i - dual what he i s and more often than not, l i k e the voyage which must end, r e s u l t s i n tragedy. S i m i l a r l y i n the French new novel of Butor, the i n a b i l i t y of the i n d i v i d u a l to know and l i v e i n r e a l i t y i s r e f l e c t e d i n h i s f a i l u r e i n l o v e . However the attempt i s there as i s the - 50 attempt at repossession not only of oneself but of one's world ~ a quest that i s not one i n d i v i d u a l ' s or one nation's, but the quest of Man i n general. I t i s here that the Prench Can- adian novel has reached i t s maturity. Bessette t As i s the case with the other Qulblcois authors of the "nouveau roman" and unlike the French authors, Bessette has published no r e a l t h e o r e t i c a l plan or explanation f o r h i s work, (although he i s well-known as a c r i t i c h i m s e l f ) , per- haps because i t i s to such a large extent a form of s e l f - e x - p r e ssion. However, together with the French n o v e l i s t s , he i n - s i s t s on the oneness of the a u t h o r / i n d i v i d u a l . Like Butor he leaves the i n t e r p r e t a t i o n of h i s works to the reader and c r i t i c . To Bessette, i t i s not merely the one alienated i n d i v i d u a l who i s t r a g i c , but a l l mankind. In t h i s way, l i k e Sarraute, a l l men have a common 'fond* and again, l i k e the French w r i t e r , Bessette presents a b a s i c a l l y b i o l o g i c a l concept of Man. Ac- cording to Bessette, Man should never, as he puts i t , have • v e r t i c a l i z e d * himself. As a consequence he i s constantly t r y i n g to r e a t t a i n the ' h o r i z o n t a l ' . Sleep and the sexual a c t , expressed i n the purely p h y s i c a l g r a t i f i c a t i o n of Jodoin 57 and h i s landlady i n Le L i b r a i r e , or i n the more complex r e l a t i o n s h i p of Gordon and Nla i n L'Incubation, can be i n t e r - preted at one l e v e l as the same basic desire i n Man to get - 51 - back to the ho r i z o n t a l p o s i t i o n  M un male une femelle cherchant a f r a t e r n i s e r a s*unir s*imaginant parce q u ' i l s sont des b i - p&des des verticaux parce que l e u r ancStres au cours d*une f a n t a i s i e d'une mauvaise p l a i s a n t e r i e de 1*Evolution ont peu a peu deplace" l e u r axe v e r t e b r a l " . ^ This Bessettian a t t i t u d e to Man and to the pathos of human destiny i s r e f l e c t e d i n a t o t a l lack of enthusiasm f o r Nature or the p h y s i c a l world. More p a r t i c u l a r l y , i t i s r e - vealed as disgust f o r the nature of Man who, by h i s very c i v i - l i z a t i o n , has become not only p h y s i c a l l y repulsive but also inadapted to the l i f e he must l e a d . The desire f o r the horiz o n t a l has another side to i t — a desire f o r escape and o b l i v i o n . The physical aspect of love represents the same d e s i r e . The l a t t e r i s coupled with the search f o r communication with another being. In f a c t , love i s treated i n t h i s novel as another element i n the f a t a l forces that control the l i f e of Man. But the r e l a t i o n s h i p portrayed seems very often a blend of love and hate. In Le Cycle the quest f o r love turns quickly to hatred and des- p a i r . The love portrayed i n t h i s n o vel, i f not simply a phy- s i c a l union necessary to produce o f f s p r i n g , a necessary i n - gredient of a l l that 'menage* represents, i s too contaminated by past experiences to free the i n d i v i d u a l and allow him to gain what he seeks—the r e l a t i o n s h i p s he establishes with others. In a society where the c a p i t a l s i n i s that of the - 52 - • f l e s h * , t h i s love/hate sentiment i s prominent i n the same way as i n the novels of Robbe-Grillet with t h e i r p o r t r a y a l of the obsessed mind. The desperate drive f e l t by Robbe- G r i l l e t * s b a s i c a l l y schizoid people to e s t a b l i s h contact with another being and t h e i r resultant sadism/masochism simultaneously separating them from the society they cannot be part of while o f f e r i n g them hope of something elsewhere, seems strangely coherent i n the French Canadian world of g u i l t and s u f f o c a t i o n . Bessette uses the form of the "nouveau roman" to express the a l c o h o l i c rambling with i t s mixed up chronology and extra- ordinary word creations, of a c u l t i v a t e d but confused mind i n an anything but a r t i f i c i a l way. As w i l l also be seen i n the works of Ducharme and B a s i l e , once more the form i s i d e a l l y suited to and inseparable from the content. In Le Cycle* the form again i s pertinent to the content. Le Cycle t r a v e l s through the mind of f i v e French Canadians whose amblings and obsessions more than adequately portray the pettiness and despair of t h e i r l i v e s . S o c i a l c r i t i c i s m i s very strong. Apart from c r i t i c i s m of such human catastrophes with a l l t h e i r inherent s t u p i d i t y and i l l o g i c a l i t y as war, strong c r i t i c i s m i s l e v e l l e d against the small, narrow-minded 59 p r o v i n c i a l towns of Canada,  7  and Canada i t s e l f with i t s attempts at b i l i n g u a l i s m , which, to Bessette—as to the "SS- *not f u l l y treated i n t h i s thesis due to the i m p o s s i b i l i t y of i n t e g r a t i n g i t completely at t h i s date. - 53 - p a r a t i s t e s " — i s a fraud by i t s very nature. In the same way he c r i t i c i z e s so many Canadians, French or English, with t h e i r sheep-like tendencies and fear of committing themselves, so well exemplified i n Maggie's family i n L'Incubation: " r a l s o n - nablement b i l i n g u i s t e s b i c u l t u r a l l s t e s prudemment anti-amiricains precautionneusement a 1'arriere-garde de 1 * avant-garde tragique- 60 ment ecarteles entre 1»ENSIGN et l a f e u i l l e " . Thus i n L'Incubation and i n Le Cycle the basic theme of the outsider i n society i s more widely applied to a l l I n d i v i - duals i n a given society and t h e i r a l i e n a t i o n to themselves and each other. Once again i t i s impossible to separate r e a l i t y from imagination. Since a l l In the f i r s t novel Is seen through the mind of Lagarde—inebriated, confused, yet fr i g h t e n i n g l y l u c i d — o n e must accept the i n t e r p r e t a t i o n of t h i s narrator. B a s i c a l l y his mind i s the same tortured mind of the dispossessed Sarrautian, Butor, or Robbe-Grillet character. Jean B a s l l e : "Nous sommes des createurs de mondes et des inven- teurs de mythes qu'un jour nous detruirons nous- memes dans un moment de las s i t u d e ou de rage; nous epuisons a vi v r e comme nous l e faisons notre reserve de grands sentiments; nous sommes fondamentalement des etres r e l i g i e u x et nous ne pourrions v i v r e sans dogmes et sans r i t e s ; sous l e s apparences de l a f u t l l i t e , qui peut pretendre que nous ne sommes pas s e r i e u x M . 6 l Born i n 1932 of Russian parents, r a i s e d as was Bessette - 5 4 - by the J e s u i t s , though not i n Canada, Jean Basile considers himself one hundred percent Canadian. As such, he r e j e c t s the notion that h i s novels are 'French*, i n s i s t i n g that they are rather part of the t o t a l North American culture, both the bad and good aspects of which appear i n his books. They are e s s e n t i a l elements i n the l i v e s and milieu of the young— though not too young—French Canadians he portrays. Again, as with Bessette, i n a manner t y p i c a l of current American l i t e r a t u r e and cinema, tragedy and comedy are c l o s e l y linked, often with no noticeable t r a n s i t i o n between the two. Whether t h i s comic element, as seen f o r example i n Le Grand 62 Khan takes the form of Jonathan's black humour i n h i s porno- graphic description of Montreal J with i t s inadequate mayor, 6 4 or h i s actual picking-up and subsequent beating of a g i r l , h i s mocking of himself or h i s fellow Canadians, t h i s type of humour i s a feature of modern French Canadian l i t e r a t u r e . Such mocking at others, as f o r example at the t y p i c a l French Cana- dian housewife, who dreams of winning a t r i p to a f a r - o f f warm c l i m a t e , o r Judith's mocking description of the young^ work- horse French Canadians who, l i k e young savages, copy the fas- hion dictates of other countries to r i d i c u l o u s extremes, reveals a desire on the part of these young protagonists to depart from the norms of t h e i r society, to gain f o r themselves a d i g n i t y t h e i r fellow country-men.lack, and to create rather than imitate. - 55 - There i s also the cynicism and sarcasm i n scenes such as the one following Jonathan's a r r e s t a f t e r h i s mock b a t t l e with J u d i t h , i n which he noted that people such as Adolphe, one of Judith's young l o v e r s , who i s p l o t t i n g against king and country, should be a r r e s t e d , rather than he, Jonathan, e s s e n t i a l l y innocent. The incomprehension of society i n general i s r e f l e c t e d i n characters t y p i f i e d by Jlremie's se- c r e t a r y , Anne, with her complete misinterpretation of events, or indeed i n J l r l r a i e himself, who at moments of t r a g i c import i s unable to cast aside h i s narcissism and to f e e l f o r others. Within these novels, humour i s never anything but s u p e r f i c i a l - l y amusing, serving to hide f a r deeper f e e l i n g s of f r u s t r a t i o n and condemnation of s e l f and others. Any t h e o r e t i c a l ideas regarding h i s own novels apart from h i s seemingly d e l i b e r a t e l y contradictory avertissement i n h i s f i r s t "nouveau roman", La Jument des Mongols, are to be found i n the second novel i n the t r i l o g y , Le Grand Khan. This novel- within-the-novel r e v e l a t i o n , also used by Robbe-Grillet, con- tains a distorted mirror image of Basile*s own work. The book i s also v a r i o u s l y interpreted by JSremie and J u d i t h . Their comments on i t reveal i n s i g h t into themselves. With i t s "nouveau roman" s t y l e , long sentences, seemingly anodine de- t a i l s i n r e a l i t y f u l l of s i g n i f i c a n c e , and the lack of impor- tance given to b i g events, as J l r l m i e says* " s o i t pudeur de- vant l e tragique, s o i t i n d i f f l r e n c e , meme l e plus grave te - 56 - l a i s s e f r o i d et occasionne a ses personnages des reactions c u r i e u s e s M » ^ i t represents an 'apology* f o r Basile*s work. J l r S m i e continues h i s analysis and c r i t i c i s m s t a t i n g that he considers the best q u a l i t y i n the book to bei **Une certaine facon de nous emouvoir par des choses qui ne sont pas t r i s t e s en elles-mSmes, mais qui supposent un c e r t a i n caractere chez 68 tes heros". His novels are supposed to form part of a four-part s t r u c t u r e , each of which deals i n turn with one of the four main themes of l i f e i l o v e , creation ( i n the a r t i s t i c sense), childhood and death. In a c t u a l i t y a l l these themes are i n t e r - woven i n the three novels completed, with love and a r t i s t i c creation being the p r i n c i p a l themes throughout, while the o r i g i n a l conception of four novels has been condensed int o three. As Basile i n s i s t s , the novels are s e l f - s u f f i c i e n t , yet they are more e a s i l y discussed as a u n i t . La Jument des Mongols recounts the story of Armande's pregnancy, her attempt at abortion and her subsequent death. Le Grand Khan t e l l s of Jonathan's e f f o r t s to write and publish his novel, while the 69 t h i r d Les Voyages d'Irkoutsk i s a hallucinatory ' t r i p * where a l l three are attempting to gain what has been l o s t i n the unreal world they have created f o r themselves. These are, how- ever, only s u p e r f i c i a l d i v i s i o n s , since the themes run con- tinuously throughout a l l three novels. What does divide them more d i s t i n c t l y i s the point of view from which they are nar- - 57 - rated. Each of the three protagonists seem to be three sides of a complex personality. Thus the f i r s t novel i s related by Jeremie, the second by Jonathan and the t h i r d and l a s t by Judith. This technique i s i n t e r e s t i n g i n that i t allows the va r i a t i o n s of inte r p r e t a t i o n s of events according to the person i n t e r p r e t i n g . Although various themes and events are therefore developed or modified throughout the books, the characters themselves, with t h e i r i n t e r r e l a t i o n s h i p s and the r e l a t i o n s h i p to the society they l i v e i n and remain outside of are the most im- portant element, as they are i n a l l the "nouveaux romans". Re .jean Ducharme i "Un l i v r e est un monde, un monde f a i t , un monde avec un commencement et une f i n . Chaque page d'un l i v r e est une v i l l e . Chaque ligne est une rue. Chaque mot est une demeure"..."Tout ce que je demande a un l i v r e , c'est de m'inspirer a i n s i de l'energie et du courage, de me dire a i n s i q u ' i l y a plus de vie que je peux en prendre, de me rappeler a i n s i l'urgence d ' a g i r " . " 0 The language used by Ducharme i s notable f o r i t s extra- ordinary vocabulary, a great deal of which i s s c i e n t i f i c and, more s p e c i f i c a l l y , b i o l o g i c a l , but even more so f o r the neo- logisms, e i t h e r compounds of already e x i s t i n g words or pure inventions. Whether these are the 'berenicien* of Berenice Einberg? 1 or those p a r t i c u l a r languages invented by the other protagonists, a l l , however, have the same inte n t i o n of i s o l a - t i n g t h e i r inventors from those around them, to make them - 58 - s e l f - s u f f i c i e n t * There are other d e l i b e r a t e l y a l i e n a t i n g acts such as s t e a l i n g and kidnapping used by the protagon- i s t s f o r t h i s same purpose and as an act of defiance. This language invention also takes the form of inventing names f o r themselves, again forming t h e i r own hermetic w o r l d — that of Tate f o r M i l l e M i l l e s and Chateaugue (again not t h e i r r e a l names), Cherchell f o r lode, and Asie Azothe, and a num- ber f o r Berenice and Constance Clore. This bestowing of s p e c i a l names on each other resembles the r e l a t i o n s h i p of the l i t t l e prince and the fox i n St-Exupery's Le P e t i t Prince i n which meaning i s given to the i n d i v i d u a l i n a world where that i n d i v i d u a l has become a mere number. Reason being the language of adults, t h i s non-logical, hermetic language i s eminently suited to the children protagonists. I t has many elements i n common which the 'joual' of the young Quebecois. Yet even words, the only means by which any expression i s r e a l l y possible are at the same time that which brings on despair. According to Ducharme words themselves are super- fluous but necessary, sometimes givi n g themselves an i l l u s o r y importance making us think things have changed when nothing r e a l l y does. These days the word i s taken too often f o r the thing. They are mirages which act as 'images*.''2 Like La Joconde they are not the r e a l thing, and are merely a t o o l — something forgotten by many people. Thus words l i k e things, meant f o r Man's use, have gradually gained power over Man. What counts i s what one means to say, not the words used to - 59 - say i t . This self-created world of t h e i r own language or of silence i s one opposed to the world of those who are 'achetes',^ and i n Canada, i t i s a r e f u s a l of domination by the U.S. or by any other force, e i t h e r i n culture or language, a r e f u s a l which includes France, the country which betrayed i t s own people i n t h e i r time of need, and a scorn f o r those French Canadians who, fo r g e t t i n g t h i s , attempt to emulate France and the French. Ducharme's tirade i s directed against Man's destruction of Nature, symbolized as i n Basile's novels by the caged and denatured trees of Montreal, f i t t i n g i n with denatured modern Man. Nature i n general and trees i n p a r t i c u l a r are free from the d i s s a t i s f a c t i o n f e l t by Man, who i s a parasite l a c k i n g i n everything to make him s e l f - s u f f i c i e n t . Unlike Man, a tree i s s e l f - s u f f i c i e n t and hence does not s u f f e r . In a passage reminiscent of Robbe-Grillet, M i l l e M i l l e s says "Les choses ne sont n i b e l l e s n i l a i d e s j i l n'y a r i e n de beau, r i e n de l a i d . On projette ses sentiments sur l e s choses et e l l e s nous le s renvoient a l a facon de mi r o i r s " . Things f e e l no hatred. Their eyes are turned inwards where a l l i s beauti- f u l , not asking f o r s a t i s f a c t i o n as does Man. Man has also created i n e q u a l i t y . Faire Faire t e l l s lode "Les d r o i t s d'un seul devraient litre egaux a ceux de m i l l e ; car i l n'en v i t et n'en meurt qu'un par corps"..."Quand quatre mi l l e enfants a l a f o i s perdent l a vie ou l ' o r g u e i l , un seul perd vraiment - 60 - l a vie ou 1 ' o r g u e i l " . . . " i l n'y a qu'une vraie superior!te» l a s u p e r i o r i t e de c e l u i qu'on est sur tous l e s autres, l a superi o r i t e de ce qu'on est sur ce qu'on n'est pas, l a su- 7 *5 p e r i o r i t e de ce qui est sur ce qui n'est pas". One i s alone i n the world, a s i t u a t i o n that leads to pessimism, and yet out of t h i s can be created a philosophy of optimism, as i s attempted by the Ducharme protagonists, even i f i t does seem a desperate optimism. lode t e l l s her brother that i f one i s alone, instead of complicating one's existence through fearing anybody or anything, one need not be a f r a i d of anybody. Solitude i s a state brought out i n people's eyes. One can see others' souls i n t h e i r eyes and i t i s only through eyes that one can r e a l l y choose whom to love or hate. I t i s eyes that have brought Man out of the darkness, allowed him to see other men and even to imagine he i s not alone, and yet he has also seen other men die. Without eyes Man would be better o f f . One sees oneself i n others' eyes as i f i n a deforming mirror. I f one cannot look elsewhere one has to look inside oneself, since "LES YEUX ONT FAIM FOLLEMENT SANS CESSE. QUAND ILS NE TROUVENT RIEN DE BON A MANGER DEHORS, ILS SE TOURNENT VERS L'INTER- IEUR ET SE METTENT A MANGER L'AME".76 Solitude, i n turn, brings on the fear of becoming depen- dent on others and then l o s i n g them. This i n the Ducharme i n d i v i d u a l r e s u l t s i n a wish f o r the death of the loved - 61 - one i n order to control that l o s s . The deaths that occur i n the novels ( r e a l or imaginary) are d i r e c t l y or i n d i r e c t l y caused i n part by the protagonist. As lode says "Je marche devant l a mort, je l a precede comme 1'ec l a i r l e tonnerre. Quand ce qui f a i t pleurer viendra, mes yeux seront sees"... "Tenir seule, avec r i e n . J ' a i hate que Asie Azothe meure pour litre seule, seule comme on est dans l a n u i t quand on * 77 est couch! seul dans sa chambre". In the same way she only l i k e s sad f a i r y s t o r i e s , p a r t i c u l a r l y sad love s t o r i e s , since they warm and feed the fe e l i n g s she already has i n her. I f the tragedy i s there there i s an end to the p o s s i b i l i t y of s u f f e r i n g . Suicide i s also a way to v i c t o r y , as i s destruc- t i o n of beauty a way of c o n t r o l l i n g that very beauty. Phy- s i c a l pain overcome i s the same thing, r e f l e c t e d i n a seeming- l y deliberate masochism. Yet, as the Ducharme protagonists point out, Man i s the only animal capable of putting the axe to h i s own motor. Recognizing that he cannot l i v e completely alone, nor remain i n the state of c h i l d p u r i t y he f e e l s i s the only authentic form of existence, M i l l e M i l l e s decides suicide i s the only solution f o r himself and Chateaugue. Yet at the same time he recognizes t h i s i s the end and i s a f r a i d to die before 'understanding* i s a t t a i n e d . The death thus chosen i s an imperative one wi l l e d by himself. I f one chooses death then one goes beyond death and becomes f r e e— an approach somewhat l i k e Meursault's acceptance of death. Thus d i g n i t y i s a t t a i n e d , an a t t r i b u t e Man does not otherwise - 62- have. Nature, embodied i n such as the ocean, has i t , but unlike Man, things, i n Nature, cannot choose to destroy themselves. Conversely M i l l e M i l l e s r e a l i z e s death i s no- thing but an end to boredom and pla t i t u d e and anything that does happen, nece s s a r i l y happens before death. The v i c t o r y thus gained by the Ducharme protagonist i s one against what they c a l l the 'Titan* ^ ^—" L'univers, l u i , est commande par un t i t a n qui essaie de me f a i r e a v oir peur, qui veut que je roe soumette a l u i " and t h i s deity o r force i s a c r u e l one. "II y a quelqu'un qui s'amuse 3. me tor t u r e r , quelqu'un qui ne me donne quelquefois l a main que pour m'en- traJner plus profondement dans l e s tenebres et l e f r o i d . Chaque f o i s que 1'eblouissement d'espoir est f i n i , l e monde que je traverse est plus f r o i d , plus noir".® 0 At other times the protagonist r e j e c t s the idea of such a great all-powerful J u p i t e r , g u i l t y of a l l Man's misfortunes* "Je ne c r o i s pas q u ' i l y a i t de grand coupable. Je c r o i s q u ' i l n'y a que des volontaires, des volontaires plus ou moins conscients". . . " I I y a beaucoup d'appeles et beaucoup d'elus. Peu refusent carrement d ' i t r e volontaires (peu se suicident) et peu sont volontairement volontaires". Torn between the desire f o r s e l f - s u f f i c i e n c y and the need f o r others they also r e a l i z e any person i s the i n t e r p r e t a t i o n you give of them. The person you love i s i n r e a l i t y several people, the idea you have of that person conceived and incar- - 63 - nated within your own soul. Berenice i n L'Avalee des A v a i l s f e e l s her brother C h r i s t i a n does not * e x i s t * . She has created him and she l i k e everybody i s irremediably alone. There are as many Ch r i s t i a n s as there are people who invent him. Chris- es 2 t i a n himself i s alone i n the "pays appele C h r i s t i a n " , and thus she h e r s e l f i s also alone. From t h i s she proceeds to an extraordinary p o s i t i v i s m . I f she i s completely alone and there i s no one or nothing other than what she invents under the sun then she i s of necessity the creator and possessor of the sun and of the universe. Therefore from a deep pes- simism comes an aff i r m a t i o n of s e l f and the power of that s e l f to create, through the imagination, i t s own world. Even t h i s , however, i s regarded by the protagonist with pessimism at times. A world created by oneself i s devoid of surprises and, i n a search f o r the s e l f within such a world, one can only a r r i v e at zero. On the other hand the Ducharme protag- onist has only contempt f o r the ordinary dry philosopher who ft "\ does not experience " l e d e l i r e " , the f e e l i n g which i s a r e s o l u t i o n of solitude and fear, provoked by w i l l and imagin- a t i o n and leading to deliverance and conquest. Since nothing i s sure, c e r t a i n t y can only be reached with the help of the imagination. Thus the protagonist invents h i s own world. "Le seul moyen de s'appartenir est de comprendre. Les seules mains capable de s a i s i r l a vie sont a 1 * i n t l r i e u r de l a tete. M* Rejecting the influence of people over them, things s t i l l 8 *" have a power over the protagonist, but things are "aimables" - 64 - and one should not l e t things pass by. In a philosophy again reminiscent of Le P e t i t Prince of Saint-Exupery, Berenice as- serts that you must take things as they present themselves to you, make them yours because only i f you need something are you a l i v e . A form of comprehension of Man's state i s reached by the Ducharme i n d i v i d u a l , but i t i s one of Man's solitude and des- p a i r as i t i s f o r Bessette.. From f e e l i n g s of his own s o l i - tude, he proceeds to that of "ennui" and of " l e mai". This "mai" i s above a l l a condition of " a d u l t e r i e " and of the mo- dern age. I t i s a sickness of the soul f o r which there i s only one remedy» "seuls l e s litres humains qui ont renonce une f o i s pour toutes a vivre dans l e doux n o i r des yeux f e r - mes pourront s*adapter quand, l a terre etant devenu surpeuplee, i l faudra a l l e r vivre dans l a lumiere" accepting the "nlant" as t h e i r only assurance and means of r e s t . For t h i s "lumiere" i s the only element that i s not poisonous to Man. As M i l l e M i l l e s says "mon mai est a base de manque de lumiere, de manque d' i n t e l l i g e n c e du monde, a base de confusion et d'ob- s c u r i t e " . ^ 7 Most people are unaware of the existence of t h i s atmosphere of "mai" just as f i s h do not see the water they swim i n . M i l l e M i l l e s sees h i s "mai" i n the form of a cap- tured eagle housed i n h i s own e n t r a i l s or sees himself as t h i s eagle lodged i n the in t e s t i n e s of the world. This "mai" i s not the s i n of the Church but the "mai" of modern Man, - 65 - found i n the despair echoing throughout modern l i t e r a t u r e , a sickness which prevents people loving one another or them- selves i n t h e i r preoccupation with i t . To become an adult i s to enter t h i s kingdom of " l e mai". Everything i s f u t i l e when faced with i t . The adult defends himself from i t with hatred and n o s t a l g i a . Children with sad faces are "victimes 88 du mai a retardement". The worst aspect of i t i s the re- a l i s a t i o n that i t i s a universal malady, that you are not alone i n s u f f e r i n g i t and that i t i s not a merely temporary state. The protagonists i n the f i g h t against i t resent any d i s t r a c t i o n , yet these very d i s t r a c t i o n s are symptoms of encroaching adulthood and of t h i s sickness. To r i d them- selves of i t men need the help of other men and yet i t i s a product of Man himself. Man i s alone and his very aggres- siveness a r i s e s from t h i s solitude and reinforces i t . No communication i s possible between men. Each wants to be understood but wants to know nothing, yet Man alone i n the void i s a t o t a l i m p o s s i b i l i t y . The world i s made up of things and men, and men cannot e x i s t without other men. Therefore Man i s a reaction to Man and not a void. The despair of the Ducharme protagonist expresses the despair of the t o t a l para- dox of Man i n the universe. "Vous ne savez pas ce que vous manquez, 8 hommes, s i vous n'avez pas l a vu l g a r i t e des hommes, l'avar i c e d'ame des hommes, l a p e t i t e cruaute des hommes, l a grossi&re sensualite des hommes, l e grand ennui et l ' i n g r a t e solitude des hommes."®9 - 66 - Against t h i s "mal", there r i s e s up within the Ducharme c h i l d , the eagle-like free soul not recognized by those of l e s s e r merit. This free soul r e a l i z e s or convinces himself that he i s stronger than others, but has to prove i t to those others. This deep inner being reveals i t s e l f to the protagonist at moments of u t t e r s o l i t u d e . The protagonist t e l l s him or h e r s e l f that i n the void inhabited by the pro- tagonist at these moments l i e s the "eagles"* true domain where once entered i n v u l n e r a b i l i t y i s a t t a i n e d . This inner "eagle" which cannot get out, creates within the protagonist i n t e r n a l turmoil. This eagle demands courage and p u r i t y . M i l l e M i l l e s suggests that i n f a c t a l l men would prefer to follow the r i g h t paths—those of courage and purity—even i f they are the most d i f f i c u l t , i n preference to being cow- ards. "Le p i r e c*est d'Stre Lache devant s o i , d*etre lS.che seul dans sa chambre"..."Qui n'aimerait pas mourir jeune, en * QO pleine vigueur et en pleine purete". The suffocating em- prisoned being needs to be released and the most obvious means to t h i s i s through s u i c i d e , a means of regaining the f i r m a i r of p u r i t y . Unlike those who have within them "carrots" and "onions" which take root, he with the eagle can only s u f f e r since eagles do not take root but take to the sky. They are a soul too big f o r the chest they inhabit and they are f i r s t f e l t by the protagonist as a strange weight, an i n e x p l i c a b l e , unbearable, pressure within. - 6? - To give t h e i r eagle the a i r necessary to breathe, the protagonists f e e l they must conquer and dominate, and t h i s they must do before adulthood reaches them and makes them arrogant and impiously f o r g e t f u l of t h e i r true place i n the universe. Thus they work at forming themselves now, since once one has formed oneself one knows oneself, making oneself responsible f o r each of one's own acts, l i v i n g against what one's nature has condemned one to be. External happiness and sadness means nothing because both alternate i n l i f e any- way. The b a t t l e once begun, a l l r i s k s must be taken since v i c t o r y i s too dear not to do so, i t s outcome too c l e a r . Easy things are not worth the trouble. Though one has only one face one can choose many d i f f e r e n t grimaces. The natural things f o r humans i s to surpass themselves. With the desire to conquer comes also the wish to destroy f o r i t i s only through destruction that one can prove one r e a l l y possesses something—another reason also f o r w i l l i n g the death of those they love. To be understood by others i s not t h e i r concern. A l l they want i s to remain pure, a c h i l d while t h i s childhood i s f a s t s l i p p i n g away. L i f e i t s e l f i s not yet made. One must l i v e as one would l i k e to l i v e , not give i n , and above a l l f i g h t . H0n n a i t l i v r e au hasard et c'est en se creant qu'on » » 91 se d e l i v r e , en creant sa v i e " , l i k e a sculptor from nothing. Everything M i l l e M i l l e s has he has torn from others, from the fog i n which others d r i f t around. Taking, again, i s an a f f i r - mation of s e l f . In the same way M i l l e M i l l e s believes one - 68 - should take one's joy anywhere, no matter what form i t takes. Even i f humiliated t h i s too can be turned to joy. This f o r the Ducharme protagonist i s the only way to l i v e i n the world without s u f f e r i n g , to keep one's pride and di g n i t y no matter 92 what, but t h i s joy i s "a base de force de violence". FOOTNOTE REFERENCES 1. Alain Robbe-Grillet, Introduction to L'Annee derniere a Marienbad, (Paris, Eds de Minuit, 1961), page 10. 2. Georg Hegel, Phenomenologie de L'Esprit, (Parisi Aubier, Eds Montaigne, 1832. Trans Jean Hyppolite, 1939-41). 3. "Le Roman comme recherche", Repertoire I, (Paris, Eds de Minuit, i960), page 8. 4. 1859-19^1• 5» Wylie Sypher, Loss of the Self in Modern Literature and Art, (New York, Random House, 1962), page 96. 6. Henri Bergson, Matiere et Memoire, (Paris, 1953)* 7. "Une voie pour le roman futur", in Pour un Nouveau Roman, (Paris, Eds de Minuit, 1963)» page 18. 8. op. c i t . , pages 87-88. 9. Robbe-Grillet's characters—often deviants and usually sexual deviants—exemplify this to a surprising extent. It i s also seen in the tortured dream-like states of Franz Kafka's nameless characters as well as in the mental aberrations of Faulkner's. 10. Dujardin quoted in Michel Raimond, Le Roman depuis l a revolution, (Paris, Armand Colin, 196?), page 222. 11. Historically Zola could also have been said to have used the "monologue interieur", but in his case there i s a difference in the conception of 'Man* and his monologue i s rather a s c i e n t i f i c description of the impulses of the human animal. 12. "Conversation et Sous-Conversation", L'Ere du Soupson, (Paris, Gallimard, 1956), page 15* 13* "Recherches sur l a technique du roman", Repertoire I I , (Paris, Eds de Minuit, 1964), page 92. 14. Steppenwolf, (New York, Holt Rinehart & Winston, 1968), pages 9 & 21. 15. Phillippe Jaccottet, Trans as L'Homme sans qualites, (Paris, Gallimard, 1957). 16. ( P a r i s , Eds de Minuit, 1953). 17. ( P a r i s , Eds de Minuit, 1957). - 70 - 18. (Paris, Eds de Minuit, 1959). 19. Le Present de l ' i n d i c a t i f , (Paris, 19^3). 20. O l i v i e r de Magny, "Panorama d'une nouvelle l i t t e r a t u r e romanesque", E s p r i t , ( j u i l l e t - a o G t 1958, on Le Nouveau Roman), page 11. 21. Ibid. 22. Bernard Dort, "Des Romans blancs", Cahiers du sud, #334, 3^7-378. 23. Generally speaking the Quebecois writers have no such t h e o r e t i c a l writings. What they say must therefore be infer r e d by remarks within the novels. 24. op. c i t . , page 12. 25. "Ce que voient l e s oiseaux", L'Ere du Soupson, page 169. 26. "Le Roman comme recherche", Repertoire I, op. c i t . , page 9. 27. "Nature, humanisme, tragedie", Pour un Nouveau Roman, page 65. 28. "Sur Quelques notions perimees", Ibid., page 39* 29. I b i d . , page 28. 30. "Nouveau roman, homme nouveau", Pour un Nouveau Roman, page 116. 31. Les Gommes, page 200. 32. "Nouveau roman, homme nouveau", page 118. 33• Preface to L'Ere du Soupoon, page 8. 34. J . H. Matthews, "Nathalie Sarraute et l a presence des choses", R.L.M. (on Un Nouveau Roman), #1, (1964), 187. 35« P o r t r a i t d'un inconnu, (Paris, Gallimard, 1956") page 36. (Paris, Gallimard, 1959). 37. Les F r u i t s d'or et Entre l a Vie et l a Mort, (Paris, Gallimard, 1963 & 1968). - 71 - 38. Jacques Howlett, "L*Objet dans l e roman", E s p r i t , (July- August 1958), page 70. 39. Page 171. 40. (Paris, Gallimard, i960). 41. MLe roman et l a poesie", Repertoire I I , page 26. 42. (Paris, Eds de Minuit, 1970). 43. I b i d . , page 31. 44. "Nature, huraanisme, tragedie", op. c i t . , page 52. 45. Structures et S i g n i f i c a t i o n s , (Paris, L i b r a i r i e Droz, 1966). 46. Propos r e c u e i l l i s par Guy Dumur, "Le Sadisme contre l a peur", Le Nouvel Observateur, (lundi, octobre 19, 1970), pages 47-49. 47. Pro.iet pour une revolution a New York, page 113. 48. Josanne Duranteau, "Propos r e c u e i l l i s " , Le Monde, (Oct. 30, 1970), page 18. 49. I b i d . , page 18. 50. "Nouveau roman, homme nouveau", Pour un Nouveau Roman, page 116. 51. "Nature, humanisme, tragedie", page 66. 52. Jean F i l i a t r a u l t , "Quelques Manifestations de l a revolte dans notre l i t t e r a t u r e recente", Recherches Sociographiques, #5, (juin-aout 1964), I89. 53. Glen S h o r t l i f f e , "Glrard Bessette, l'homme et l'oeuvre", Confs^J.A. de Seve, (1964-1965), #13, Universite de Montreal, 35* 54. Interview, Pari s , June I969. 55. L i b r a i r i e Deom, Montreal, (1965). 56. Compare the 'parler' of Robbe-Grillet discussed on page 36. 5?. C.L.F., Montreal, (1968). - 72 - 58. L'Incubation, page 150. 59. Where 'tout se s a i t , tout f i n i t par se savoir", L'Incu- bation, page 58. 6 0 . I b i d . , page 165. 61. La. Jument des Mongols, (Paris, Grasset, I 9 6 6 ) , page 155. 62. (Canada, E s t e r e l , I967). 6 3 . I b i d . , page 111. 64. I b i d . , pages 170-171. 65. I b i d . , page 278. 66. I b i d . , pages 276-277. 67 . I b i d . , page 256. ( 68. Ibid., page 256. 69. (Montreal, H.M.H., 1970) . 70. L'Avalee des avales> (Paris, Gallimard, 1966), page 80. 71. I b i d . 72. Le Nez qui vogue, (Paris, Gallimard, I967), page 230. 73. I b i d . , page 122. 74. I b i d . , page 102. 75. L'Oceantume, (Paris, Gallimard, I 968 ) , page 92 . 76. I b i d . , page 156. 77. Ibid., page 105. 79. L'Avalee des a v a i l s , page 154. 80. Le Nez qui vogue, pages 247-248. 81. L*Oceantume, pages 77-78. 82. L'Avalee des a v a i l s , page 57. 83. I b i d . , page 145. 84. I b i d . , page 142. - 73 - 85. I b i d . , page 191. 86. I b i d . , page 231. 87. Le Nez qui Vogue, page 158. 88. I b i d . , page 160. 89. Ibid., page 262. 90. I b i d . , pages 51-52. 91. I b i d . , page 82. 92. I b i d . , page 211. CHAPTER III THE INDIVIDUAL'S STRUGGLE FOR SELF WITHIN SOCIETY Rejecting the other members of society and most conven- t i o n a l r e l a t i o n s h i p s , the protagonist nevertheless must achieve some form of communication with another person, r e a l or imag- inary. I f he i s unable to do t h i s and i s faced with solitude and no means of conveying what he believes e x i s t s to others, h i s quest i s useless. Therefore the search f o r a u t h e n t i c i t y i n v o l v i n g the discovery or rediscovery of the l o s t s e l f , also involves the search f o r another able and w i l l i n g to communi- cate with the protagonist. This communication takes on var- ious forms throughout the d i f f e r e n t authors. In Sarraute*s novels i t i s a desire to know t h i s other person expressed i n various f u r t i v e t r o p i s t i c movements towards and away from that other person depending upon that person's p o s i t i v e or negative reactions. The other extreme i s seen i n the novels of Robbe- G r i l l e t and Ducharme where i t i s the basis on which sado-mas- o c h i s t i c r e l a t i o n s h i p s are formed. A close examination follows of how these r e l a t i o n s h i p s are developed, and how they are connected to the central theme of a l i e n a t i o n . Proceeding from t h e i r basic concepts of Man i n general, the s i x authors depict the problems of a p a r t i c u l a r i n d i v i d u a l within a p a r t i c u l a r society. This society prevents these i n - di v i d u a l s from a t t a i n i n g the state of au t h e n t i c i t y and free- dom they desire. The protagonist brings into r e l i e f the pro- - 75 - blems of the i n d i v i d u a l who i s , or f e e l s he i s an outsider to the society he finds himself i n . B a s i c a l l y a struggle of Man against himself, t h i s struggle undergone to free themselves from what Man has, i n essence, created, takes on the form of a "quest* i n the P e r c i v a l sense. There i s a 'refus* common to a l l the protagonists, of the society they are i n , whether t h i s 'refus' be passive, as i n the case of Sarraute and Butor i n France, or Bessette i n French Canada, or more active as i n the case of Robbe-Grillet i n France and of Ducharme and to a l e s s e r extent, Basile i n Quebec. Whether the protagonists are i n f a c t that much d i f f e r e n t from other members of society i s at times somewhat doubtful. In Nathalie Sarraute*s novels the c a t a l y s t i n d i v i d u a l i n the f i r s t few novels and i n Tropismes, seemingly so hypersensi- t i v e to the f e e l i n g s of others i s gradually revealed as i n Sarraute*s novels projecting his own feelings onto others. Although less obvious, a l l the other protagonists are g u i l t y of the same l i m i t a t i o n . On the French side, Robbe-Grillet*s protagonists are the most deviant from the 'norm', although what they do and see i s quite possibly never r e a l i z e d i n ac- t u a l i t y . In Quebec, the French Canadian protagonists seem to represent the s i t u a t i o n of t h e i r own minority culture i n t h e i r struggle to be themselves. Yet a l l the protagonists of these novels have one t r a i t d i s t i n g u i s h i n g them to a l e s s e r or great- er extent from others they come i n contact with, who have - 76 - e i t h e r l o s t t h i s i f they ever had i t , or refuse to allow i t s i n t r u s i o n into t h e i r well-ordered l i v e s - This i s the a b i l i t y on the part of the protagonist to create i n his i m a g i n a t i o n — to dream e i t h e r of a future or of a past that seems to hold more f o r him than what the present has to o f f e r him. This dreamed of state of being represents a u t h e n t i c i t y as compared to the i n a u t h e n t i c i t y i n the S a r t r i a n sense that they are f i g h t i n g to avoid. I t i s a l l around them i n people who are not r e a l l y a l i v e , who seek to i n s t i l some meaning i n t h e i r l i v e s through possession of physical objects and avoidance of facing r e a l i t y . Nathalie Sarraute t Nathalie Sarraute*s protagonists are a l l searching f o r what they hope and believe i s the authentic s e l f hidden under the c l i c h e s of e x i s t i n g society. The i n d i v i d u a l chosen by the author to exemplify t h i s search i s a narrator catalysor who sets o f f reactions to stimuli around him. Whatever hap- pens does so because of t h i s narrator or through him, because of what he i s , and also, obviously enough, because a l l events i n the novel are seen through the mind's eye of the narrator. He i s such that he i s or f e e l s himself to be, an outsider i n the society i n which he l i v e s . Even hi s interpretations of people and of events i s a reaction to the world apart from him. More se n s i t i v e than those around him to what goes on beneath the surface of people and things, able, so he believes, to reveal t h i s to other men, yet not wishing to become a part - 77 - of the society he can see through, t h i s Sarrautian character i s a being alienated within a. world, which, paradoxically, he seems more capable of understanding than do those who f e e l secure within i t . By v i r t u e of that very knowledge they do not have or have l o s t , the l a t t e r group needs t h i s s e n s i t i v e outsider i n a r e l a t i o n s h i p that can best be described as sym- b i o t i c . I t i s he who "n o u r r i t et renouvelle a chaque instant notre stock d*experiences. C'est l u i — l e catalyseur par ex- cellence, 1*excitant grace auquel ces mouvements se declench- ent, 1'obstacle qui l e u r donne de l a cohesion, qui l e s empSche de s'amollir dans l a f a c i l i t e et l a gratuite ou de tourner en rond dans l a pauvrete monotone de l a manie. II est l a menace, l e danger r e e l et aussi la. proie qui developpe l e u r v i v a c i t e et l e u r souplesse".^ Thus the two-faceted q u a l i t y of being a menace to the society of which he i s ne c e s s a r i l y a member, and the i n e v i - table prey f o r t h i s society, since he upsets the e x i s t i n g or- der, i s coupled with h i s desire f o r his own i n d i v i d u a l i t y and his simultaneous need f o r others. Agression and complicity, as i n the Dostoyevsky victim/assassin complicity, are inherent i n the outsider's need f o r others and f o r contact. The exis- t e n t i a l philosophy of Sartre emphasizes that i t i s only through others that the i n d i v i d u a l e x i s t s and knows himself. Referring to Katherine Mansfield w r i t i n g of the " t e r r i b l e desire to es- t a b l i s h contact" and discussing the same need expressed i n the works of Dostoyevsky* Nathalie Sarraute goes on to describe - 78 - t h i s almost m a n i a c a l , f r a n t i c and continual need of her own protagonists to e s t a b l i s h some form of contact with others. They are drawn as i f into a vortex, attempting to open them- selves to others and simultaneously to penetrate the inner- most secret being of others. Hypersensitive beings are the best suited to seeing what i s i n others« "Sous l e s paroles, le s gestes, l e s a t t i t u d e s , i l decele l a moindre saute d'hum- eur, l a pulsation l a plus cachee, l'echo l e plus feutre, tout mouvement de l'atmosphere psychique qui l'entoure"..."II de- vient aussi le receptacle de plusieurs i n t e r i o r i t l s auxquelles 2 i l c o l l e l e plus fidelement q u ' i l peut". These i n d i v i d u a l s are victims of the society they l i v e i n , used by that society f o r i t s own ends, but not allowed to e x p l o i t t h e i r a b i l i t y to see beneath the facade of everyday c l i c h e s . I f they could they would simply point out the i n a u t h e n t i c i t y inherent i n the l i v e s of those who are a f r a i d to f i n d some meaning i n l i f e , p r e f e r r i n g physical possessions to the self-possession so needed by the Sarrautian 'hypersen- s i b l e ' . Thus those who v i c t i m i z e them are, i n turn, victims of t h e i r own i n a u t h e n t i c i t y . They refuse the hypersensitive i n d i v i d u a l the r i g h t to be d i f f e r e n t from others and thus to reveal to them the l i f e they are l o s i n g . As an aware reader of the Sarrautian novel w i l l be able to discern the 'movements* that l i e hidden behind normal, harm- le s s appearance, d a i l y conversations, banal gestures, and the - 79 - p l a t i t u d e s of every-day l i f e , revealed from time to time i n the i n t e r i o r monologue of the person experiencing these move- ments, so i n the d a i l y conversation of those with whom he comes i n contact, the 'hypersensible' w i l l attempt to exper- ience the 'sous-conversation' concealed beneath the c l i c h e s and p l a t i t u d e s of everyday words. This 'sous-conversation* had been depicted i n the ' p e t i t s bourgeois' of Pari s , the more well-to-do of Passy, or the i n t e l l e c t u a l e l i t e of Les F r u i t s d'or and Entre l a vie et l a mort. Unlike cruder actions, words are l i k e minute safety valves which from time to time secrete unhealthy emissions. Words therefore have the a b i l i t y to bring out into the l i g h t of day those very subterranean movements, which keep themselves hidden l i k e l i t t l e grey animals i n damp holes " I l s sont honteux et prudentsi l e moindre regard l e s f a i t f u i r . I l s ont besoin pour s'epanouir, d'anonymat et d'impunite". Although people are b a s i c a l l y a l l the same, having a com- mon 'fond', according to Sarraute there are differences which though s l i g h t are nevertheless important i n a society made up of i n d i v i d u a l s . Most l i v e *inauthentically' i n the S a r t r i a n sense, and i t ' s the 'outsider* alone who i s capable of reveal- ing to others that part of r e a l i t y they have chosen to ignore or have not yet discovered. For t h i s reason the outsider should be tolerated, f o r i t Is through him that the others w i l l gain a deeper, more complex, and clearer knowledge of what they are and what t h e i r condition and l i f e may be. - 80 - Tropismes» In Tropismes, c r i t i c i s m against these 'others' i s very- strong. The state of i n a u t h e n t i c i t y they represent i s inten- s i f i e d by t h e i r m i l i e u — t h e c i t y . As with Robbe-Grillet, Butor and Ducharme, the c i t y has a s t u l t i f y i n g e f f e c t on the i n d i v i d u a l , taking away from him the innocence and p u r i t y of h i s o r i g i n a l state. Indeed i f the poor, pale, c i t y peo- ple have any conception of freedom, any memories of childhood, of another existence, or any notion of l i f e i t s e l f , they pre- f e r not to see i t , l e s t they might also become aware of t h e i r present state. These very people, p i t i f u l as i n d i v i d u a l s , taken as a group, become formidable and menacing to the outsider, who sees them f o r what they r e a l l y are. L i v i n g t h e i r l i v e s of p l a t i t u d e s , they are a l l a l i k e i n t h e i r i n s e c u r i t y and need f o r approval. Within t h i s l a r g e r group, i . e . , society, ex- i s t s the smaller u n i t , that of the family ' c e l l u l e ' , which i s a mere r e f l e c t i o n of the l a r g e r u n i t . As such i t i s looked upon by Sarraute i n Mauriac type fashion as " l a f a m i l l e , cha- cun cache dans son antre, s o l i t a i r e , hargneux, epuise".^ Within t h i s family u n i t , women, i n p a r t i c u l a r , come i n f o r a great deal of c r i t i c i s m as the inauthentic beings. Busy with nothing, they object to what they consider the negligence of others. They hide the i n a u t h e n t i c i t y of t h e i r own l i v e s i n the banality of what they make important. Power to them i s - 81 - represented more often than not by t h e i r control over things. The woman who i s a c t u a l l y a f r a i d of others and of t h e i r disap- proval, or of being repulsed by them, w i l l i n turn use her power over things against those she fears, revenge f o r t h e i r outside l i v e s , when she he r s e l f has none. In moments of f r i g h t - ening solitude she cannot help but see, t r y i n g to understand the reason f o r t h i s , that a l l she has i s r e a l l y nothing, re- vealing her own 'vide'. Thus she turns the things she believes she h a s — p h y s i c a l objects or i l l u s o r y control over o t h e r s — against those, who, unlike h e r s e l f , seems to lead l i v e s of meaning* "Les choses, l e s objets, l e s coups de sonnette. Les choses q u ' i l ne f a l l a i t pas negliger. Les gens q u ' i l ne f a l l - a i t pas f a i r e attendre. E l l e s'en se r v a i t comme d'une meute de chiens qu'elle s i f f l a i t a chaque instant sur eux".^ In the d a i l y interchanges of everyday l i f e women make of the p l a t i t u d e s of conversation an end i n themselves. This •gossiping' i s t h e i r domain. Well brought up and properly trained, they are l i f e l e s s under t h e i r makeup, which i s again a mask they take to be r e a l i t y , hiding themselves not only from others, but from themselves. Seeing nothing, t h e i r eyes f l i c k e r over things, t h e i r look fastens on nothing. Refusing to go beyond the surface of things or people, surfaces are a l l they are able to reach and these they s o i l with t h e i r touch« "roulant sans cesse entre leurs doigts cette matiere ingrate et pauvre qu'elles avaient e x t r a i t e de leur vie (ce - 8 2 - qu'elles appelaient ' l a v i e ' , leur domaine), l a pet r i s s a n t , l ' e t i r a n t , l a roulant jusqu'a ce qu'elle ne forme plus entre 7 leurs doigts qu'un p e t i t tas, une p e t i t e boulette g r i s e " . Another type of female of the species who also comes un- der the author's attack, i s the 'bas bleu', seemingly more authentic, but who i s , i n r e a l i t y , merely a more so p h i s t i c a - ted version of the 'housewife', using her would-be i n t e l l e c - t u a l prowess f o r control and domination, and to prove to her- s e l f and others the value of her worthless l i f e . This type of woman i s seen, i n an older version, i n Germaine Lemaire (Le Planetarium), snake-like i n her a b i l i t y to fascinate and hold others l i k e trapped b i r d s . These i n turn do anything to appease her, while she desperately needs her followers to give her the admiration and security she needs. Younger versions are generally ' f i l l e s sages', usually dressed i n black, pious, and seeking above a l l the same security i n admiration. These young g i r l s or older pseudo-intellectuals, merciless and r a - venous parasites preying on anything they believe can supply them with what they think of as • 1 * i n t e l l e c t u a l i t e ' , sought f o r i n the darkest and most secret corners of l i f e , become i n turn — p a r t i c u l a r l y the young ones—the playthings of the true i n - t e l l e c t u a l s , such as the old man i n P o r t r a i t d'un inconnu or g the young narrator of Martereau, who fi n d these women a source of amusement. The other group singled out for c r i t i c i s m are *les vieux', - 83 - who l i k e the grown-ups i n Ducharme*s novels i n Quebec, regret- t i n g t h e i r own l o s t innocence, are constantly seeking to ob- t a i n control over that which i s f a r t h e s t from them—the young, and small c h i l d r e n i n p a r t i c u l a r . Unable to leave these l a t - t e r t h e i r innocence, the old people w i l l t r y to impose on t h e i r young captives t h e i r own lessons of l i f e and death. The desire to gain control over the young i s translated i n the t i g h t p h y s i c a l grasp with which they hold children's hands, producing i n the l a t t e r feelings of nausea as i f forced to swallow some v i l e medicine, the medicine of good common sense which teaches that* " i l ne f a l l a i t r i e n attendre, r i e n de- mander, c ' e t a i t a i n s i , i l n'y a v a i t r i e n de plus, c ' e t a i t cela • l a v i e ' Rien d'autre, r i e n de plus, i c i ou l a , i l s l e savaient maintenant. II ne f a l l a i t pas se r l v o l t e r , r i v e r , attendre, f a i r e des e f f o r t s , s'enfuir, i l f a l l a i t juste c h o i s i r attentivement" ... Men acceptant modestement de v i v r e — i c i ou 13 et de l a i s s e r o passer l e temps". Their ghastly resignation, faced with death and t h e i r own worthlessness, i s what they force upon the children, t r y i n g to i n s t i l i n them t h e i r own non-values based on t h e i r 'common-sense'. The old take away from the children that which could be not only t h e i r salvation but that of a l l socie t y . Yet i s that salvation possible? As the Ducharme chi l d r e n are threatened by ever-encroaching adulthood, so - 84 - these children themselves are gradually overcome by the same inertia, of the adults around them. These adults destroy t h e i r future hopes i n t h e i r need to possess childr e n as they do things, to show t h e i r power over them and to prevent them- selves l o s i n g t h e i r v i t a l grasp on what they imagine to be l i f e . Amongst children, who are more authentic than the adult, there are some i n d i v i d u a l s who r e s i s t longer t h i s outside pressure than others. Their r e v o l t i s apparent even i n c h i l d - hood. These hypersensitive children are aware of the two- fa.ceted aspect of human l i f e revealed i n conversation and every day l i v i n g "comme on se ronge l e s ongles, comme on arrache par morceaux sa peau quand on pele"..."pour se f a i r e p l a i s i r et pour se f a i r e s o u f f r i r " . ^ 0 They are aware of the explo- sive undercurrents l y i n g beneath the b a n a l i t i e s of the simple c l i c h e s of conversation, knowing that as cat a l y s t s they are capable of producing that explosion which could reveal to others t h e i r i n a u t h e n t i c i t y but are a f r a i d the others would destroy them f i r s t f o r t h e i r own self- p r e s e r v a t i o n . These outsiders, c h i l d r e n or adults, are the only ones even vaguely aware of what the external world i s and what l i f e i s . They know that " l a supreme comprehension que l a ve r i t a b l e i n t e l l i g e n c e , c ' e t a i t cela, ne r i e n entreprendre, remuer l e moins possible, ne r i e n f a i r e " . ^ By accepting t h i s motionless state i n which comprehension of r e a l i t y i s possible - 85 - they can also a r r i v e at a state of timelessness impossible to others. Yet though able to see r e a l i t y as i t i s , they never- theless have misgivings and look to others f o r se c u r i t y when faced with the unknown: l i k e the c h i l d at night, who, not knowing exactly what i t i s he i s a f r a i d of, c a l l s out to his parents f o r reassurance. There i s also the fear of becoming a thing i n t h i s state of motionlessness necessary to compre- hension, f o r t h i s very motionlessness seems l i k e another form of l i f e l e s s n e s s . The outsider i s a f r a i d to l e t himself go to t h i s point, to lose his own i d e n t i t y , not r e a l i z i n g that to completely understand existence, i n d i v i d u a l i t y must be l o s t . P o r t r a i t d'un Inconnu» In Nathalie Sarraute's f i r s t actual novel, P o r t r a i t d'un inconnu, which i s b a s i c a l l y the attempt of the narrator to "sonder l ' l t r e d i s t i n c t et authentique" of the father/daughter couple who fascinate him, the reader, as i s the case with a l l the works studied, only succeeds i n knowing the other charac- t e r s , and i n p a r t i c u l a r t h i s father and daughter, through the narrator's own mind. The atmosphere and characters are those of Trooismes. The basic family c e l l i s represented not only by a father and daughter unit, but also by the r e l a t i o n s h i p between the nar- r a t o r and his own parents. These l a t t e r , apprehensive of t h e i r son's 'abnormality', do everything, including sending him to a p s y c h i a t r i s t (member of a profession gr e a t l y under attack by - 86 - the author) to cure him of his h y p e r s e n s i t i v i t y . At the same time the narrator, aware of his own shortcomings, and, i n par- t i c u l a r , of h i s fear of solitude, allows the others to exor- cize the demon i n him, to draw him back to t h e i r calm, c l e a r l y - bounded universe, and away from what they consider the unhealthy obsession he has with the father and h i s daughter. In a c t u a l i t y h i s obsession with t h i s couple i s a desire on the part of the narrator to f i n d the a u t h e n t i c i t y he i s seekingo Sent away by h i s parents i n t h e i r e f f o r t to keep him •healthy', the voyage has exactly the opposite e f f e c t . Once away from the influence of those who have raised him, and from the society i n which he has grown up, l i k e Gide's immoralist, he i s opened to other influences. In t h i s case i t i s the • P o r t r a i t of the unknown', which he comes upon unexpected i n a small g a l l e r y i n the place he i s v i s i t i n g . As he himself, a l i e n i n a place foreign to him, sees things under a new l i g h t , he discovers that t h i s strange nameless picture reveals to him "l'autre a s p e c t " 1 2 of things. Nameless and l i f e l e s s i n i t s features, the face contains within i t s eyes concentrated l i f e and i n t e n s i t y * "l'appel q u ' i l s lancaient, pathetique, i n s i s t - ant, f a i s a i t s e n t i r d'une maniere etrange et rendait tragique 13 son s i l e n c e " . J These eyes seem to be addressing themselves to the narrator alone u n t i l i n an almost psychic communion "une note timide, un son d'autrefois, presque oublie" 1** i s awakened i n him and awareness comes again of what r e a l i t y i s . This - 87 - r e a l i t y which he finds i n a p o r t r a i t , to a large extent the a n t i t h e s i s of r e a l i t y — a mirror-image as i t were—he seeks elsewhere and i n p a r t i c u l a r i n the father daughter u n i t which draws him so strongly. Constantly torn between his desire to f i n d 'authenticity', the unknown l y i n g beneath the surface, the r e a l authentic s e l f , and h i s 'angoisse' when he r e a l i z e s there i s nothing there as he comes to discover with the old man and his daughter, the narrator i s again the 'hypersensible' catalyst, exerting on others his strange influence, provoking i n them unsuspected currents and agitated movements. The action of catalysing, and property of being the c a t a l y s t : are obviously i n d i s s o l u b l y part of he who i n any way disturbs the surface of things or people, causing reactions p o s i t i v e or negative to t h i s d i s t u r - bance. The c a t a l y s t i s also dependent upon others f o r his own reactions. Just as perhaps others react to him or seem to i n the way he desires, to the extent that r e a l i t y and imag- in a t i o n become d i f f i c u l t l y separable, so he, too, i s , i n re- turn, suggestible and able to be influenced by others, even to the point of becoming i n spite of himself exactly the way they see him. In order to f u l l y understand, the narrator has to examine his own motivations f o r his i n t e r e s t i n the father and daughter. What he i s seeking he believes he has a chance of releasing or revealing i n t h i s couple. Secondly t h e i r love/hate r e l a t i o n s h i p - 88 - i n t r i g u e s him, r e f l e c t i n g as i t does his own re l a t i o n s h i p to society around him. In many ways he ressembles the daughter caught i n the web her father has spun. Their t o t a l r e l a t i o n - ship reveals his own inner torments, so that the reader must question the aut h e n t i c i t y of the narrator's i n t e r p r e t a t i o n of events. (In the same way, i n L'Emploi du temps, Butor reveals the f a l s i t y of i n t e r p r e t a t i o n his hero, Leon Delmont, has made, i n g i v i n g two of his fellow passengers a l i f e which i s not th e i r s but part of his own past.) The father i s constantly depicted as a monstrous spider secure i n the web he has constructed, a t t r a c t i n g a l l to him l i k e so many f l i e s . The daughter, a t y p i c a l ' f i l l e sage', formed by other women and a f r a i d of t h e i r disapproval i s beauty and gargoyle simultaneously to the narrator. In t h i s parent c h i l d r e l a t i o n s h i p , resentment i s f e l t on both sides. The old man i s r e s e n t f u l of the "marrains malefiques" 1^ whom he f e e l s took control of his daughter from the moment she was born, turning her into an "instrument, comme une sonde qu*elles cherchaient a intr o d u i r e en l u i d o u c e m e n t " A t t a c h e d to him l i k e a leech, neither she nor the father l i k e t h i s attachment and yet are unable to do anything about i t . Indeed they are unable to do without i t . They continue to wear t h e i r recipro- c a l masks, u n t i l the moment when, l i k e two enormous insects, i n a scene depicted i n the narrator's imagination, they w i l l stand face to face i n a l i f e and death struggle, where old scabs are ripped o f f , protective s h e l l s break open and masks - 89 - f a l l away. Both together l e t t i n g everything go—committing 17 the crime heinous to society of "La. Desinvolture" — t h e y w i l l a t t a i n the state of being dreamt of by the narrator, where everything i s allowed and there i s no longer any need to hide anything. Martereau i The young hypersensitive narrator of Martereau i s also attempting to fi n d drama i n everyday b a n a l i t i e s t " l e s tempStes dans l e s verres d'eau, c'est ma grande s p e c i a l i t e " . The t i t l e Martereau ref e r s to the curious figure who forms the chief i n t e r e s t of t h i s narrator. "Martereau" combines the a t t r i - butes of both 'martyr' and 'marteau'. This figure i s i n many ways reminiscent of the young narrator i n P o r t r a i t d'un inconnu, who bore the same i n i t i a l , and of the young 'hypersensible' i n the actual story» The narrator again acts as a catalysor, f o r whom people play out games revealing t h e i r inner selves. The r e l a t i o n s h i p he has to his uncle ressembles that of his r e l a t i o n s h i p to society i n general, as did the father daughter r e l a t i o n s h i p i n P o r t r a i t d'un inconnu. Unlike his uncle, with whom he a l - ternately f e e l s a l l i a n c e and desires contact and who says he loves s o l i d r e a l i t i e s and f a c t s , having no taste f o r "nuances", the young narrator i s never sure of anything or anybody. He i s a l l too aware of a l l the undercurrents or tropisms, which he perceives i n others, b e l i e v i n g at moments of despair that - 90 - they are merely emanating from himself. At these times he f e e l s he i s merely chasing a f t e r his own shadow. To his un- c l e and to other "common-sense" people, the young man has a " s e n s i b i l i t e " . . . " d e femme hysterique" combined with " l e s sen- <• 19 tiraents morbides de l a c u l p a b i l i t e " . In spite of society's judgement of him, l i k e a l l the other hypersensitive 'narrators', he i s more aware of the true nature of things. Other members of society ressemble obedient ser- vants who do not attempt to f i n d the reason behind t h e i r ac- 20 t i o n s . Yet he r e a l i z e s that to know people, to sound t h e i r depths, i s the task most deserving of h i s e f f o r t s . Aware of the undercurrents of t r o p i s t i c movements, which he recognizes as d i f f i c u l t to grasp, he becomes l i k e a parasite c l i n g i n g to people, or a dog s n i f f i n g out the odors he hopes to discover. At the same time aware of the i n a u t h e n t i c i t y of those around him he i s led to r e j e c t time and again the very s e c u r i t y they o f f e r him and the society he needs. Causing dramas where there were none, f i l l e d with f e e l i n g s of g u i l t , shame and paranoia, he projects these same fe e l i n g s onto the figure he makes larg e r than l i f e — M a r t e r e a u . An a l - most supernatural b e l i e f i n f a t a l i t y leads him to believe that not only does Martereau represent everything that he, the nar- rator, i s t r y i n g to a t t a i n , but that t h i s same figur e may be able to help i n saving others such as h i s , the narrator's, aunt, uncle, and cousin. Whether Martereau i s a very clever confidence - 91 - man or merely old, t i r e d and hen-pecked, the narrator i s un- able to decide. There i s i n f a c t an extraordinary s e r i e s of 21 v a r i a t i o n s of the same scene, following the departure of the narrator and h i s family from the Martereau*s house, where Martereau and h i s wife, a l t e r n a t e l y depicted as a t y p i c a l wife of a ' p e t i t bourgeois* with a l l the shortcomings of such, or as a companion worthy of her husband, helping him i n his stand against others and conformity, are imagined i n t h e i r various reactions to the v i s i t . This reveals the doubt and confusion i n the narrator's own mind. As he says, he always sees several d i f f e r e n t p i c t u r e s of the same object at the same time. The family as the basic u n i t of society i s again under heavy c r i t i c i s m , with the need of the various members to exert t h e i r control over the other members, to keep that u n i t as i t i s . Comprising i n t h i s instance h i s uncle, aunt and cousin, the narrator f e e l s at times moments of close communication 22 with the youngest member of t h i s t r i o , h i s cousin, who i s i n many ways a r e p l i c a of her mother and other women. She i s , as are a l l children, the most powerful arm i n the constant b a t t l e within the family unit, just as the Ducharme children become the weapons used by the parents against one another. When the narrator's aunt f e e l s she i s l o s i n g control over her daughter she i s not adverse to using the nephew to regain that c o n t r o l . The narrator of course allows himself to be used since he has the i n s a t i a b l e need to know, to become acquainted with - 92 - what these others are looking f o r , to achieve a look behind t h e i r facades and to f i n d what he f e e l s i s there, confirmed. The family forms a system of "vases communicants" 2 ^ a n image also used by Basile to express h i s t r i o r e l a t i o n s h i p i n hi s t r i l o g y , with the alternate r i s i n g and f a l l i n g of l e v e l s , l i k e the narrator himself i n his need f o r security and appro- v a l , a l t e r n a t e l y drawn to h i s uncle and Martereau, two father f i g u r e s . In the same way A l a i n Guimiez i n Le Planetarium i s torn between the need f o r approval from Germaine Lemaire, his i n t e l l e c t u a l 'mother*, and from h i s own father. Both sets of figures represent the two extremes of the narrators* own char- a c t e r i n t h e i r search f o r what they believe to be au t h e n t i c i t y as opposed to the secu r i t y offered by the s e l f - s a t i s f i e d at- titude of most of those i n society, Le Planetarium! "Le Planetarium eg.n'est pas l e c i e l v r a i mais un c i e l a r t i f i c i e l . " 2 4 " I f one l i v e s i n a planetarium, unless one suspects the true nature of things, one accepts as r e a l the a r t i f i c i a l sky under which one e x i s t s . In t h i s t h i r d novel, the young nar- rator, though with c e r t a i n c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of the other young protagonists, i s clo s e r to the other members of s o c i e t y — e v e n • possessing a name, A l a i n G u i m i e z — l e s s alienated, yet s t i l l searching or so he would l i k e to believe, f o r what l i e s behind the a r t i f i c i a l facade of h i s l i f e . He i s again a young 'nevrose* - 93 - and others recognize i n him oddities that he himself acknow- ledges. Mythomaniac according to h i s mother-in-law, he i s d i f f e r e n t from others of h i s age. He has the same fe e l i n g s of g u i l t as does the nameless narrator of Martereau. Even his aunt who s p o i l t him as a c h i l d and who, according to A l a i n ' s father helped make him what he i s , sees i n him "Cette a v i d i t e dans son o e i l l u i s a n t et f i x e de jeune l o u p " . . . " C e t a i t i r r e s i s t i b l e chez l u i , comme une c r i s e d'epilepsie . . . l e moin- dre obstacle exaspere son d e s i r au point de l u i f a i r e perdre l a tSte".. ."C est l e lSLche, l e honteux besoin de l'ivrogne, , 26 de 1*intoxique"• Once he has his mind set on something, A l a i n w i l l go to almost any lengths to obtain i t . Desiring his aunt's apartment, he w i l l , with extreme c r u e l t y and thought- lessness, threaten her with e v i c t i o n . The a s o c i a l attitude he seems to portray i n many ways i s very c l o s e l y a l l i e d to attitudes of those within society. A l - though r e j e c t i n g the bourgeois Passy l i f e of the aunt and h i s in-laws, his aunt's almost maniacal attachment to things and her desire f o r perfection i n her apartment are r e f l e c t e d i n A l a i n ' s r e f u s a l to accept what he considers 'bourgeois' and h i s overwhelming attachment to obtaining the 'bergSre Louis X V . Rejecting the generosity of h i s mother-in-law as a desire to dominate, he forces her to wear a mask she would not otherwise wear. Gisele h e r s e l f , Alain's young wife, r e a l i z e s that her husband puts people into contours that are very precise, g i v i n g - 94 - her a se c u r i t y she otherwise lacks "sans l u i , a u t r e f o i s , l e monde I t a i t un peu iner t e , g r i s , informe, i n d i f f e r e n t , qu*elle- 27 mime n * e t a i t r i e n qu'attente, suspens..." ' In t h i s case i t i s Gisele who i s able to see further than her husband who ne- vertheless believes himself to be the one who i s d i f f e r e n t . The very f a c t o r of hi s putting people into the l i t t l e compart- ments he has made f o r them shows hi s l i m i t a t i o n s , but these l i m i t a t i o n s represent security f o r GisSle who l i k e the c h i l d frightened at night by the glimpse of what the dark holds, has been faced with the vastness and incomprehensibility of the world outside the safe confines of society. A l a i n there- fore allows her to s l i p back behind the c l i c h e s of t h i s f a l s e s e curity, which she chooses rather than face the solitude and fear of the r e a l i t y behind i t . When a c h i l d , her a b i l i t i e s and her exceptional character were refused by her father who thus revealed his own inadequacy and i n s e c u r i t y , but he taught his lesson w e l l . Gisele who " f a i t penser a un renardeau, a un jeune loup" with the i n t e n s i t y and p u r i t y of "un p e t i t an- 28 imal sauvage qui guette sa proie" able to cajole others into doing what she wants, uses t h i s a b i l i t y to see beyond the super- f i c i a l to her own ends and has married a husband who gives her the sec u r i t y i n society she otherwise lacks. As f o r the other characters i n the book, they bring up the recurrent themes i n Nathalie Sarraute*s works. One example of t h i s i s old Tante Berthe, who, i n her lo n e l i n e s s , her need - 95 - f o r order and harmony and her fear of 'taches', coupled with her only being able to r e a l l y look at and love those things she f e e l s she f u l l y possesses, i s t y p i c a l of both the majority of women and old people, i n Nathalie Sarraute. She i s the "pretresse d'une r e l i g i o n " 2 9 that the outsider d e t e s t s — i n t h i s case the outsider i s her brother, Alain's father, an older and i n many ways more far-seeing version of hi s son. Les F r u i t s d'ort From f a l s e sky to f a l s e but be a u t i f u l f r u i t s , the t i t l e of Les F r u i t s d'or reveals the in a u t h e n t i c i t y of the world taken f o r the r e a l one, i n t h i s case i n the notion of golden f r u i t b e a u t i f u l to look at, unreal and impossible to eat, thus non-nourishing. "Les amateurs devorent l e s ouvrages comme s ' i l s etaient l a plus succulente des nourritures."-^ 0 In t h i s unreal world of l i t e r a t u r e which i s another aspect and r e f l e c t i o n of the whole of society there are, as i n the outside world, the weak and the strong, The weak need to be led, to have t h e i r world, l i t e r a r y or otherwise, explained f o r them by the strong. They are a l l a f r a i d and want to be sure they are put on the r i g h t path. They can be molded i n any way but they demand absolutely a well-constructed world "ou i l s puissent se couler"..."qu'on l e u r donne"..."bien sfir, pas l e tr e s o r e n t i e r que l e s f o r t s ont su trouver, non, juste une p a r c e l l e , mais dure, solide"..."Qu'on a i t pour eux un peu de bonte...juste un seul geste genereux...Qu'on l e u r mon- 31 t r e , qu'on l e u r explique l e l i v r e en main".-' What they want - 96 - above a l l else i s peace and secu r i t y . In comparison with these others, huddled t i g h t l y together, there i s of course the outsider i n d i v i d u a l made of another substance. This i n d i v i d u a l i s again torn between the desire to e s t a b l i s h contact with others and h i s knowledge of what the world i s . E s s e n t i a l l y a novel about a work of a r t and i t s r i s e and f a l l , the usual recurrent themes are present. Also since a r t i s t i c creation i s to Nathalie Sarraute the essence of l i f e i t s e l f , t h i s book w i l l be treated-"though somewhat b r i e f l y — i n i t s connection with the theme of the i n d i v i d u a l and society. The society represented, one of would-be i n t e l l e c t u a l s , i s a closed one. Refusing at f i r s t to accept what i s new, they end by accepting i t wholeheartedly. The same rules apply to the members of t h i s society as to those i n any other society, which allows of no i n f i l t r a t i o n by foreign bodies. Within the l i m i t s of t h i s society there i s no r e a l contact. Here each member keeps his distance from the others. They are i n a •good* society where " l e s vraies valeurs triomphent. Les hon- nStes gens peuvent respirer"..."L*ordre regne e n f i n " . As f o r those who r e v o l t against t h i s society, the outsiders, "Mainte- nant on apprendra a tous l e s paresseux, l e s ignorants, l e s en- fants de l a nature, l e s f o r t s temperaments, a marcher d r o i t . A respecter l e s regies du s a v o i r - v i v r e , de l a bienseance. On - 97 - l e u r apprendra"..."que l a l i t t e r a t u r e est un l i e u sacre ferme, ou seul un humble apprentissage, 1" etude patiente des mai tres peut donner l e d r o i t a quelques rare elus de penetrer".^ 2 This society i t s e l f i s only one part of a complex s o c i a l system. These are the r u l i n g classes, needing, and needed by, those they dictate to, who are too a f r a i d to look beyond the edicts of t h i s e l i t e , Academie Frangaise-type group, to search f o r truth. Within t h i s world, barricaded i n on themselves, t h i s e l i t e becomes ever more in a c c e s s i b l e . But i t i s they who teach the "menu peuple" what they wish to have them taught. As f o r the "menu peuple", they form i n t h e i r turn a s o l i d group, l i f e l e s s and d o l l - l i k e , l i k e the l i f e l e s s figures seen i n Robbe- G r i l l e t * s novels, needing to be led by those they consider more courageous and superior. Entre l a vie et l a mortt Nathalie Sarraute mentioned i n an interview-^ that t h i s novel at l e a s t , has a universal s i g n i f i c a n c e — t h i s i n answer to the c r i t i c i s m raised against her novels as being somewhat li m i t e d i n scope. The society i s again that of the i n t e l l e c - t u a l e l i t e , but since a l l s o c i e t i e s have b a s i c a l l y the same structure there obviously are no l i m i t a t i o n s . In her Preface to the work she says* " I c i , comme dans l a plupart des romans, l e vecu, l e v i r t u e l , l e seulement pos- s i b l e , 1'entierement imagine se fondent, se confondent au - 98 - point q u ' i l s e r a i t malaise pour l'auteur lui-meme de l e s se- parer", which i s an apology not only f o r t h i s "nouveau ro- man" but f o r a l l of the "nouveaux romans", with t h e i r constant i n t e r p l a y between r e a l and imaginary. This novel i s a depiction of l i f e as a r t . The s u r v i v a l of a work of a r t and i t s value as such i s a r e f l e c t i o n on the state of the i n d i v i d u a l and of Man i n general. The theme i s fundamental! "Une l u t t e acharnee a 1*issue toujour incer- taine sur un des t e r r a i n s ou l a vie et l a mort s'affrontent avec l a plus de dissimulation, c e l u i od une oeuvre l i t t e r a i r e s'enracine, grandit ou meurt".^^ Since Nathalie Sarraute re- gards the work of a r t as the essence of l i f e i t s e l f , i t i s the obvious and i n e v i t a b l e extension of t h i s philosophy that words have the a b i l i t y to reveal to us many aspectsof l i f e . Words "penStrent en nous 3. notre insu, s'implantent en nous profon- dement, et puis p a r f o i s longtemps apr&s i l s se dressent en nous brusquement et nous forcent 3. nous a r r l t e r tout 3. coup au milieu de l a rue, ou nous font sursauter l a n u i t et nous asseoir, inquiets sur notre l i t " . This i s taken from P o r t r a i t d*un i n c o n n u ^ but i s repeated over and over i n Entre l a v i e et l a mort. Words are capable of revealing danger and people reveal themselves through t h e i r words. Certain words repel and h o r r i f y the outsider a r t i s t i n t h i s novel with what they reveal. Oddly enough, while t h i s revelatory power of w&rds i s the more p o s i t i v e side of language f o r Sarraute, i n the case - 99 - of Robbe-Grillet and Ducharme e x i s t i n g words have l o s t a great deal of t h i s a b i l i t y and Man must invent a new language to regain t h i s a b i l i t y . Butor on the other hand presents a nega- ti v e aspect of words, exemplified i n h i s protagonists whose i n t e r e s t i n writing becomes greater than t h e i r i n t e r e s t i n l i f e . Art as another form or side of l i f e , i s governed by the same rules as those governing the rest of l i f e . I f there i s nothing there then that work i s dead l i k e so many of the l i v i n g dead. I t may follow a l l the rules but have no l i f e , and w i l l be forgotten tomorrow. I t i s through the outsider a r t i s t that the p o s s i b i l i t y of seeing beyond the immediate l i e s i "II est une terre propice od cela pousse, s'epanouit, exhale des r e l e n t s , des vapeurs"..."qu*ils le, soulagent, q u ' i l s s'ouvrent a cela, qu'en eux aussi cela se repande...11 en est gorge jusqu'a. la nausee, jusqu'a une sorte de douleureuse jouissance...une etrange joie...C'est une drogue dont i l ne peut se passer...qu*ils en absorbent un peu, juste quelques 37 gouttes, et i l s verront...". Thus the Sarrautian i n d i v i d u a l i s searching to uncover what he believes i s the authentic r e a l i t y underneath the c l i ~ ches of society. The hope he has that t h i s i s possible i s ex- tended to a hope i n other people being able to see as he does and also i n a hope that with these others he can a r r i v e at a communication going beyond the fagade put up i n d a i l y con- - 100 - versation. Hence his almost desperate attempt to f i n d another being with whom he can open up these channels of communication. In Michel Butor, the novels are again an expression of the mind of the protagonist, and everything i s seen through the d i s t o r t i n g mirror of t h i s mind with i t s i n t e r p r e t a t i o n , f a l s e or otherwise, of the f a c t s presented to i t , i n an at- tempt to bring meaning to a world i n which the protagonist i s again aware of the need to a r r i v e at the * authentic* hid- den somewhere beneath society as i t e x i s t s . In Butor*s case however, instead of seeking t h i s only i n the present, although s t i l l with the idea of i t as a truth common to a l l men, the i n d i v i d u a l w i l l , through an explanation of the past, a r r i v e at the same concept of t h i s truth l i n k i n g a l l men. To discover t h i s however the Butor i n d i v i d u a l w i l l be obliged to go beyond the mere confines of h i s present s i t u a t i o n i n both time and space. This way Butor w i l l a r r i v e at the expression of society as a whole, through these i n d i v i d u a l s , since to the author the i n d i v i d u a l mind i s an expression of society of which i t too i s a segment. For t h i s reason, the mythological aspect of Man i s stressed—important since i t binds past and present i n the i n d i v i d u a l who i n turn i s representative of a l l men. Each society or c i t y i s linked to a past binding a l l s o c i e t i e s and c i t i e s , and the i n d i v i d u a l who f e e l s himself an outsider i n one c i t y w i l l f i n d e x i s t i n g connections he was not even aware of. This was also the case with the young protagonist i n - 101 - Sarraute's P o r t r a i t d'un inconnu who found i n the strange eyes of the p o r t r a i t the necessary impetus to keep him to h i s quest. The Butor protagonists themselves, though of bourgeois or- i g i n and m i l i e u — s i m p l e , everyday, contemporary beings such as Jacques Revel, t r a n s l a t o r / c l e r k , Lion Delmont, sales represen- t a t i v e , and Pierre Vernier, school teacher—share a common f e e l i n g of 'dlpaysement', of being 'Itrangers* as did the Sarrautian i n d i v i d u a l s , f e e l i n g themselves outside the society they are n e c e s s a r i l y part of. Each i n turn b e l i e v i n g he has f a i l e d i n r e a l i t y , experiences the need to reconstitute h i s otherwise l o s t l i f e i n a r t . In the case of Revel and Delmont, the actual 'dlpaysement* i s r e a l . In a strange c i t y , again l i k e the Sarrautian protagonist of P o r t r a i t d'un inconnu, the i n d i v i d u a l "est tout seul, i l est perdu, i l est p r i v l de tous l e s objets e x t l r i e u r s , de tout cet entourage qui l u i I t a i t i n - dispensable; i l est comme un poisson hors de l'eau, n'est-ce pas, i l en meurt".-^ This occurs because c i t i e s themselves are monuments i n men's l i v e s , myths of which Man i s a part. Changing c i t i e s therefore necessitates the learning of a new myth. This i n d i v i d u a l i n search of himself i s merely one facet of society. Sometimes he w i l l discover i n his search that the mythology he i s a part of goes beyond one mere c i t y , can be, i n f a c t , a much l a r g e r part of the h i s t o r y of Man himself. The novel i s the i d e a l vehicle to r e a l l y express t h i s . " II est - 102 - indispensable que l e r e c i t s a i s i s s e 1*ensemble de l a societe non point de l ' e x t e r i e u r comme une foule que l'on considere avec l e regard d'un individu i s o l e mais de l ' i n t e r i e u r comme quelque chose a quoi l'on appartient et dont l e s individus, s i originaux, s i eminents q u ' i l s soient, ne sauraient jamais » 39 se detacher completement". In the same way that each i n - d i v i d u a l act i n the e x i s t e n t i a l sense determines a modifica- t i o n of the world, so through the consciousness of one i n d i - v i d u a l , the n o v e l i s t attempts to seize the 'inconscience mas- sive' of society as a whole, as was the case f o r the Sarrau- t i a n protagonists. 40 Passage de Milan t This novel i s reminiscent of Balzac i n i t s d e s c r i p t i o n of the inhabitants of a Pa r i s i a n 'immeuble', with i t s obvious Egyp- t i a n influence exemplified i n the pyramid-like s t r u c t u r a l jux- taposition of the d i f f e r e n t l e v e l s connected and transversed by the s t a i r c a s e . The inhabitants of the bui l d i n g passing and some times communicating with one another on th i s staircase symbolize temporal and s o c i a l connections. The t i t l e i t s e l f , l i k e those of most of the "nouveaux romans", i s interpretable i n several ways. F i r s t , of course, could be the straightforward reference to the passage-way i n which the bui l d i n g i s situated. Then there i s the d i r e c t association with the passing-by of the milan ( K i t e ) , a cruel and rapacious bird of prey o r i g i n a t i n g i n Egypt. In f a c t , mention i s made several times of birds as c r u e l , with - 103 - round impenetrable eyes, used by divinators as i n ancient Egypt. This not only brings out the occult and mythological aspect of these animals but again l i n k s past to present. I t i s i n t e r e s t - ing to compare t h i s with the description of birds i n Le Voyeur of A l a i n Robbe-Grillet (page 84). In Passage de Milan, Butor has introduced the idea of death and confrontation. As i n an i n t r i c a t e game the various pieces are placed i n various si t u a t i o n s u n t i l the climax with the death of the young g i r l — A n g e l e V e r t i g u e s — i s reached. The theme of the i n d i v i d u a l i n society i s not so e a s i l y ap- p l i c a b l e to t h i s novel. I t i s indeed rather a cross-section view of P a r i s i a n society, or i n more general terms a cross- section of society as a whole. The actual narrative i s unanimist i n form, as i s Butor's whole philosophy of the i n d i v i d u a l i n society. I t takes place from seven i n the evening to seven i n the morning, the twelve hours r e f l e c t e d i n the twelve chapters, portraying i n turn various moments i n the l i v e s of the inhabitants of the b u i l d - ing—themselves a rather c a r e f u l l y chosen mixture of races and creeds and classes, ranging from i n f i d e l to p r i e s t . I t i s here that the novel connects up with the following novels i n that i t also expresses the idea of a small segment of a society having underlying connections with a l a r g e r mythological past. As the Jews passed over Egypt, able to control the seas of that a l i e n land, so Samuel Leonard, much-travelled Jew and hence - 104 - eternal "outsider', with his young Egyptian protegee, i s the only one able to f u l l y understand and communicate with others such as the unfortunate young murderer. At the same time i t i s he who seems more i n control of h i s own s i t u a t i o n than do the others t h e i r s . The family u n i t again comes i n f o r c r i t i c i s m . The i n d i - viduals forming i t are r e a l l y ' s o l i t a i r e s ' and as i n Sarraute and i n Ducharme, the family i s likened to a battleground. L'Emploi du temps» Although Robbe-Grillet*s works are discussed next, i t i s of Interest at t h i s point to compare Les Gommes of t h i s author with Butor's L'Emploi du temps written four years l a t e r , since they have many points i n common. While sharing the obvious s i m i l a r i t i e s of theme—in both cases a. Frenchman i n an English i n d u s t r i a l c i t y with the com- plete mythical Oedipus/Theseus background—the symbolism i n the two i s at f i r s t appearance quite d i f f e r e n t . In Les Gommes, even though the Oedipus story i s referred to again and again, i t i s almost Freudian i n i t s complete dependence on the mind of Wallas. In L*Emploi du temps, the author treats i t more 'objectively* and although Jacques Revel makes i t part of hi s l i f e , the Theseus theme together with that of the B i b l i c a l Cain (and to a l e s s e r extent df Oedipus), seem an i n t e g r a l part of the c i t y ' s own h i s t o r y . Of the two c i t i e s , that of Les Gommes has i t s depressing e f f e c t on Walla3 l a r g e l y because - 105 - of his own mental make-up, whereas, i n that of Butor*s novel, Bleston (in a c t u a l i t y Manchester) i s personified to such an extent that i t seems to have an almost autonomous existence (although obviously again r e l y i n g on the a t t i t u d e taken by Revel). Jacques Revel, to defend himself against the c i t y , to understand his own recent past, and the present i n terms of that past, i s forced to reconstitute t h i s past i n order to make of his l i f e a t o t a l experience. Like Vernier i n Degres*?' he has set himself an enormous task, which, s t a r t i n g with a knowledge of his own past, leads him to a knowledge of the dying c i t y and a l l he has come into contact with—each i n d i - v idual being a part of several groups—to a f i n a l knowledge of h i s t o r y i t s e l f . This i n turn reveals to him the action of time passing followed by h i s own resistance to t h i s passing of time. Past and present are an i n t e g r a l u n i t , the explana- t i o n of the one dependent on the other, but as i n a detective n o v e l — t h e structure of which i s all-important to both Butor and R o b b e - G r i l l e t — o t h e r i n t e r p r e t a t i o n s are always possible. Oblivion i t s e l f i s a form of death and i n order to be a l i v e again a f t e r l i v i n g i n a c i t y which almost succeeded i n des- troying him, Revel must remember. Thus as with Nathalie Sarraute, the protagonist, to f i n d what he i s searching f o r , even i n a foreign c i t y , i s dependent on others and on society i t s e l f . Yet t h i s search i t s e l f sep- - 106 - arates him from the society on which he i s dependent, removes him from t h i s society. Jacques Revel begins his r e c o n s t i t u t i o n of his.past year i n Bleston with his a r r i v a l i n that c i t y . Writing i n May, he describes his October a r r i v a l when his mind was not yet obscured, while i n the f r u s t r a t i o n s and setbacks he then suf- fered seems to be symbolized his whole sojourn i n the c i t y . Unable to obtain any r e l i e f or indeed to communicate, he i s overwhelmed by the atmosphere of the c i t y 'amer, acide, char- 42 bonneux, lourd" which forces him into a state of *engour- 43 dissement* J s i m i l a r to the state of mind experienced by Wal- la s i n Les Gommes i n the same s i t u a t i o n , and which he w i l l not be able to shake o f f f o r seven months. The fear he f e e l s i s re f l e c t e d i n his desire to go back, and i n his f e e l i n g of be- ing separated from a l l that i s known and f a m i l i a r even to the point where (again l i k e the schizoid p e r s o n a l i t i e s of Robbe- 44 G r i l l e t ) he i s unable to recognize himself i n a mirror. Gradually becoming aware of the unreal aspect of the c i t y with i t s dead windows, he comes to believe someone or some- thing i s playing with him. A r r i v i n g at Matthews and Sons where he i s to work f o r the coming year, he i s again unable to understand or make himself u n d e r s t o o d — i r o n i c a l l y since he has been hired as a t r a n s l a t o r . The only person with whom he w i l l e s t a b l i s h any contact i s James Jenkins whom he w i l l l a t e r suspect of murder and who - 107 - w i l l take from him one of the s i s t e r s he believes he loves (Ann). As f o r the others he meets, he f e e l s they never sought to make him speak or attempted to f i n d out i f he could under- stand the few words they uttered, even though i t was p a i n f u l l y obvious that he was r e a l l y t r y i n g to understand and make him- s e l f understood. The only friends he w i l l make i n t h i s c i t y are those who, l i k e himself, are to a greater or l e s s e r extent, •etrangers'. The two Bailey s i s t e r s , Ann (Ariadne) and Rose (Phaedra)--the l a t t e r a student i n French and one of the few people with whom he can r e a l l y t a l k — L u c i e n B l a i s e , a French- man l i k e himself, but who, not having imposed upon himself such a task as that of Revel, i s able to save Rose from Bleston and take her from Jacques R e v e l — " c e t t e Rose que j ' a i l a i s s e e I - chapper, cette Rose que je n'ai pas pu aimer,, que je n*ai pas eu l e courage d'arracher a Bleston" J — a r e some of the few he i s befriended by. Of the two s i s t e r s , the red-haired Ann, with the quiet s t i l l smile from whom he bought h i s o r i g i n a l map of Bleston—she l i k e Ariadne supplying him with a thread to f i n d h i s way i n the c i t y l a b y r i n t h when he was completely l o s t — seems more r e a l to him than the other half-dead and unhappy inhabitants of the c i t y . James Jenkins on the other hand i s al t e r n a t e l y f r i e n d and foe. The Jenkins* home i s the f i r s t he v i s i t s i n Bleston, and i t i s there he meets the strange Madame Jenkins "qui poss^de, sous sa douceur, comme une v o l - onte tr&s farouche, sous son calme, comme une passion capable 46 de f a i r e sauter n'importe quelle b a r r i e r e " . Mother of James, - 108 - she i s linked to the all-important cathedral not merely by the ri n g she wears i n which i s contained a f l y s i m i l a r to those carved i n the cathedral and reminiscent of the f l i e s associated with the c i t y and which (as do those of Sartre's Les touches) buzz around the head of the tormented Revel/Oedipus, but also by her r e l a t i o n s h i p of niece to the sculptor of the statues i n the New Cathedral. While she reminds Revel of the status of the V i r g i n i n the cathedral, he r e a l i z e s however that since that statue i s older than she i s , i t i s she who has fashioned h e r s e l f a f t e r the statue as the other c i t i z e n s of Bleston have taken on the features of the c i t y i t s e l f . As was the case with the map which allowed him f o r the f i r s t time to embrace the c i t y as a whole at one glance and which he f u t i l e l y and symbolically burned, the book Le Meurtre de Bleston with i t s ambiguous t i t l e doubly g r a t i f y i n g to him, w i l l be his means of vengeance against the c i t y , allowing him, so he believes, to discover the r e a l Bleston. The author i s , i n a t t i t u d e , an outsider to the c i t y , who under the pseudonym of J . Co Hamilton (his r e a l name i s George Burton) revealed the darker, murderous side of the c i t y , and i n whom Jacques Revel finds "un complice contre l a v i l l e , un s o r c i e r habitue a ce genre de p e r i l s " . ^ By means of his book Revel learns f o r the f i r s t time of 'the window of the murderer*. F i n a l l y there i s Horace Buck, the negro, with h i s sarcas- t i c , b i t i n g laugh revealing h i s deep-seated sadness and lone- - 109 - l i n e s s , who symbolically gives Revel tea as black and b i t t e r as the c i t y and his (Horace Buck's) own soul. I t i s he who bids Revel welcome to the magnificent c i t y of Bleston but with whom Revel w i l l avoid contact, since the Negro i s i n an even worse s i t u a t i o n that he i s , except i n h i s moments of u t t e r l o n e l i n e s s and depression. Revel f e e l s Horace Buck * 48 wants to make him a "temoin de son malheur". His command of English i s even worse than Revel's, so the l a t t e r i s able to understand, be understood, and f e e l superior, but i s never- theless i l l at ease i n h i s company. He i s even a f r a i d that the Negro's hatred i s contagious. He gives him a f a l s e address, 49 f e e l i n g that t h i s "incarnation de mon propre malheur" 7 i s too e a s i l y aware of h i s , Revel's f e e l i n g s . This p a r a l l e l i s m be- tween blacks and the outsider protagonist i s also seen i n Pro- je t pour une r l v o l u t i o n a New York and i n Ducharme"s Le Nez qui vogue. When the blacks are the only 'real* people, the res t of society has reason to be a f r a i d of them. They have not learnt to be e a s i l y handled. The p a r a l l e l i s m between the two goes even further. Just as Jacques Revel loses the two Bailey s i s t e r s , so Horace Buck loses h i s Mary. Just as Revel burns Bleston i n e f f i g y , so Horace Buck l i g h t s r e a l f i r e s throughout the c i t y . I t i s the Negro who finds him a new room—ir o n i c - a l l y with a landlady who hates 'blacks', and i t i s t h i s black who de l i v e r s him from the hotel appropriately named "L'Ecrou" ( j a i l entry). A darker s p i r i t u a l father or brother, he w i l l be mistaken f o r George Burton when he, Revel and Lucien Blaise - 110 - are at the fair-grounds. These fair-grounds l i k e the cinema which again can be compared to many such elements i n Robbe- G r i l l e t * s novels, duplicate i n an almost c a r i c a t u r e - l i k e way what happens i n Bleston i t s e l f . These then are Revel's a l l i e s . A l l struggle against the c i t y which i s r e f l e c t e d i n i t s own wateri Hune eau epaisse, 50 noire et mousseuse, une sueur de tourbe" and where time i t - s e l f i s not the same as elsewhere. From the beginning, Revel f e e l s the need to defend himself against Bleston, but the i n - sidious sorcery of the c i t y overcomes him and leads him f a r astray. Lost to himself, he begins to lose courage i n the labyrinthine s t r e e t s , becomes t i r e d and confused as do Robbe- G r i l l e t " s protagonists•.in the same si t u a t i o n s . Unable to es- cape by walking i n a st r a i g h t l i n e , he r e a l i z e s that Bleston i t s e l f i s i n a c t u a l i t y the centre of an enormous halo which reaches out to touch those of other c i t i e s both i n space and time. He w i l l discover that t h i s c i t y was part of the barbar- ous contagion, the r o t t i n g centre of which was Rome—a d i s - covery also made i n La M o d i f i c a t i o n . ^ Faced with t h i s c i t y of deception and overcome by i t s power, he does what he can to r e s i s t and save himself. So he writes not only to recreate the moments of beauty of the c i t y , but i n order to fin d h i s own honour and to prevent the los s of a past otherwise worthless. He begins t h i s task at the moment he f e e l s the most alienated from himself, contam- - I l l - Inated by the overbearing atmosphere of the c i t y , with i t s s t r e e t s which emanate fear, frightening the very inhabitants. He r e a l i z e s that the past year i s l i k e a spectroscope—the dark shadows of o b l i v i o n l i t now and again by fragments of memories. In his attempt to discover Bleston, he i s p a r t i c u l a r l y fascinated by the stained-glass window depicting Cain i n the Old Cathedral. This window seems the very heart of Bleston. I l l u s t r a t i n g the k i l l i n g of Abel by his brother, i t i s remini- scent of Theseus slaying the Minotaur i n the museum tapestry, thus again leading to the conception of Rome with i t s two- faceted p ersonality, C h r i s t i a n and pagan. The cathedral win- dow i s dedicated to Cain's descendants, Cain being claimed father of the a r t s . (The connections with Revel are obvious.) The window i t s e l f brings out the inherent ambiguity i n the B i b l e . From the Old Cathedral the ' t r a i l ' leads Revel to the New Cathedral and at each step he becomes more confused. Theseus, son of the king, k i l l s the Minotaur, Oedipus k i l l s his father and Cain his brother. In the same way Revel w i l l betray and * k i l l ' his s p i r i t u a l father/brother and unravel the mystery of the c i t y . The detective i s the o f f s p r i n g of the murderer and must k i l l his father, and t h i s l a s t murder i s necessary to p u r i f y and cleanse the o r i g i n a l s t a i n , just as Theseus must destroy the Minotaur. Like Oedipus and Theseus "ces deux enfants trompes sur l e u r naissance et sur leur race, Sieves - 112 - l o i n de leu r v i l l e natale, tous deux tuant l e s monstres qui en i n f e s t a i e n t l e s abords, tous deux resolvant des enigmes, l i b e r a n t l a voie, tous deux meurtres de leurs peres (Thesee, non par l e f e r mais par l a negligence)."-' 2 Jacques Revel w i l l follow t h e i r t r a i l s , using the book he i s writing, l i k e Ariadne's thread, to f i n d h i s way i n the la b y r i n t h of his time spent i n Bleston, a la b y r i n t h more deformed than that of Crete, e x i s t i n g i n both time and space. La Modificationi The voyage image i s the one best suited to express spa- t i a l i s a t i o n of time. As Butor says f i c t i o n i t s e l f can be de- scribed as a voyage stretched out i n the mind» "pour pouvoir etudier l e temps dans sa continuity, done pouvoir mettre en eVidence l e s lacunes, i l est necessaire de l'appliquer sur un * 53 espace, de l e considerer comme un parcours, un t r a j e t " . This novel r e l a t e s the voyage i n time and space of Lion Del- mont. I t i s not merely however modification of mind and at- titude of t h i s middle-aged sales representative that takes place, but modification which can be associated with nearly every aspect and event of t h i s novel. The simple s p a t i a l material movement; the modification of his love f o r Cecile transfigured by the prestigious presence of Rome to the f i n a l modification of his own decisions and his attempt to recuper- ate time i n duration through a r t are a l l some form of modifi- cation. Making use of the 'vous* form as i f witness to his - 113 - own l i f e or t a l k i n g to himself i n a dream, becoming more i n - tensely *tu' near the end, the novel traces Delmont*s inner soliloquy through layers and layers of consciousness, from his own subjective experience to the immemorial and mythical past of Rome i t s e l f . The long slow journey from the banal s u p e r f i c i a l consciousness to the deep-lying s e l f evoked by the two great c i v i l i z a t i o n s symbolized and embodied i n Paris and Rome, both incarnated f o r him by a woman, again takes the form of a search f o r s e l f and i n Delmont's case, f o r re- juvenation with the p o s s i b i l i t y of a t t a i n i n g a. t o t a l i t y of being which has so f a r eluded him. The actual journey undertaken i s by t r a i n as i n L'Emploi du temos—third class f o r reasons of sentimentality and economy. Leon Delmont i s balding, middle-class and middle-aged. Like Revel, seeing a r e f l e c t e d image of himself he does not recog- nize i t as such. Alienated from what he imagines to be his true s e l f , he i s unhappy i n his job as representative i n Paris f o r the Roman firm of S c a b e l l i , a job which gives him no spare time, and i n which he i s treated more or les s l i k e an ordinary employee. Though adequately paid (not extremely well) he f e e l s his existence i s empty and meaningless. In his private l i f e he i s a 'lache' i n the Sartrian sense. His wife Henriette knows t h i s and his mistress, C e c i l e , suspects i t , while he him- s e l f dreams of being free and sincere. He does not have the courage to go a f t e r his own happiness or authentic s e l f . One - 114 - reason Cecile refuses to v i s i t the Vatican with him i s her be- l i e f that t h i s centre of C h r i s t i a n i t y , r e s i s t e d on a l l sides by ancient pagan Rome, would merely encourage his 'lachete*, since having married i n the Church Delmont i s s t i l l dominated by the past and the system under which he l i v e s . Yet as with the Sarrautian protagonists, h i s own b e l i e f i n himself and i n his p o t e n t i a l , leads him not only to see i n others a r e f l e c - t i o n of what he would l i k e to see i n h i m s e l f — t o the extent of his confusing his i l l u s i o n s with r e a l i t y , but also to f e e l at the beginning of his journey that even at t h i s l a t e stage of his existence a modification i s possible. Leaving sombre Paris f o r the bright sunshine of Rome, he i s f u l l of hope. In his fellow passengers he sees the incar- nation of his own l i f e and a t t r i b u t e s to them the fe e l i n g s he i s experiencing or has experienced i n the past. The young couple he associates with a younger version of himself and h i s wife, f u l l of optimism while he now f e e l s only * ennui* and lon e l i n e s s . He i s almost compelled to warn the young husband and wife of what t h e i r future w i l l probably be. I r o n i c a l l y at the end he discovers they are not going to Rome as he be- l i e v e s f o r t h e i r honeymoon as did he and Henriette, but to Syracuse. He thinks of his love f o r Cecile and her surprise at his impending a r r i v a l i n Rome. He has found her a job i n Pari s , but i t i s gradually revealed that he has done t h i s to prove to her and to himself his own s i n c e r i t y , having already -115 - f a i l e d her several times i n the past. At t h i s stage of the journey he thinks of Ce c i l e , to him "messager des regions heureuses et c l a i r e s as the opposite of his wife, Henriette, with her s i c k l y look, her fear of what others w i l l say, her sadness and reproaches and who "te n a i t toujours a ce-s d e r i - soires ceremonies f a m i l i a l e s " ^ giving him a birthday out of habit, a sense of duty, and to remind him that he should be "un homme age, range, dompt!"."^ His children seem to him to be i n league with t h e i r mother against him, despising him and mocking him. To a c e r t a i n ex- tent, he f e e l s Cecile does t h i s as well. Opposed to t h i s typ- i c a l l y bourgeois l i f e , what he seeks i n Rome i s escape, the freedom and rejuvenation he has found with C e c i l e . To him the love he experiences i s the only success he has. Time-.- i t s e l f changes as i t did f o r Revel i n Bleston "vous subissez un autre horaire, non, cela f a i t p a r t i e de vos decisions, c'est l e me- canisme que vous avez remonte vous-mSme qui commence a se de- rouler presque a votre insu".-^ Cecile h e r s e l f i s of both French and I t a l i a n extraction, but i t i s as the guide to Rome that he thinks of her. A widow, her husband k i l l e d i n an ac- cident, i t i s through her Delmont w i l l learn to know Rome and become obsessed with the c i t y to the point of seeking out Ro- man elements e x i s t i n g i n Pa r i s , thus again connecting two c i - t i e s through the past. Continuing the journey, becoming more and more weary, he - 116 - t r i e s not to think of the future with C e c i l e . As i s the case with the characters of Robbe-Grillet, when most upset, Del- mont f i x e s h i s attention on objects and more s p e c i f i c a l l y i n t h i s instance on the 'tapis de f e r chauffant' with i t s accu- mulated debris of the journey, to prevent himself from think- ing. Yet i n h i s i n s e c u r i t y , experiencing the c h i l d - l i k e fear of the Sarrautian children alone at night i n t h e i r rooms, he too i s a f r a i d of things i n the dark i n t h e i r p r i m i t i v e state, of r e a l i t y as i t i s . He t r i e s to r i d himself of a l l memories and thoughts " a f i n de mettre un terme a ce remuement i n t e r i e u r , t o a ce dangereux brassage et remachage de souvenirs". He i s even a f r a i d to read the as yet unopened novel he has with him, knowing that i f i t i n t e r e s t s him i t i s only i n the extent to which the story ressembles his l i f e and his own f i n a l decisions are not yet made. Gradually overcome by fatigue, h i s thoughts are invaded by the legend of the 'grand veneur*—brought to mind by the t r a i n passing the f o r e s t of F o n t a i n e b l e a u — o r i g i n a l l y t o l d him by Henriette. The legend i s one of a giant huntsman r i d i n g h i s horse through the f o r e s t , c a l l i n g out to those who may l i s t e n " "Qui etes-vous? Qu'attendez-vous?" seeming to symbolize his own quest. Nightmarishly Delmont becomes i n - volved i n the legend, which becomes ever more confused i n his t i r e d mind. Lost, he wanders through the f o r e s t , pursued by the huntsman u n t i l he comes upon an old woman, who, with a mocking smile, t e l l s him "tu vas a l a recherche de ton pere a f i n q u ' i l t'enseigne l ' a v e n i r de ta race,"59 again reminiscent - 11? - of the Oedipus/Theseus legend. His only desire i s to retrace his steps but instead he comes to a Styx-like r i v e r where an eyeless boatman rows him i n a metal boat to the other side. The p a r a l l e l i s m with the t r a i n journey and metaphysical jour- ney i s obvious. In his dream his own hands drip with o i l and blood. As Revel was accompanied by f l i e s , symbolizing his cor- ruption, he i s surrounded by raven-like bird s . On the other shore he i s to l d by a two-faced figure that he can never go back. He i s asked where he i s , what he i s doing and what he wants, and the answer i s the beginning of his own answert "Je suis a l a recherche de ce l i v r e que j ' a i perdu parce que je ne savais mime pas q u ' i l e t a i t en ma p o s s e s s i o n " . ^ Led by a she- wolf (reminiscent of the founding of Rome) he wanders into a semi-awakened state where dreams and thoughts are "toute boule- versees dans cette reorganisation de 1*image de vous-mSme et de 61 votre vie qui est en t r a i n de s'accomplir", i n d i c a t i n g to Del- mont that to regain possession of himself he must accept his past and present i n society as a whole, that the escape beyond the confines of conventional society i s not the answer.. Degres t Par more an exercise i n form and i n t e l l e c t u a l play, t h i s novel does, however, treat the main theme of the i n d i v i d u a l seeking to reach others and give a meaning to his own l i f e . The protagonist i s again middle-class, alone ( t h i s time with no family), and having no r e a l s a t i s f a c t i o n i n his own l i f e - 118 - sets himself a goal of wri t i n g a book o r i g i n a l l y meant to de- scribe one hour of one of the classes i n which his own nephew i s a student. This nephew, Pierre E l l e r , because of his co- operation with h i s uncle i n the gigantic task t h i s work be- comes, w i l l be regarded as a t r a i t o r by his fellow students, just as the outsider protagonists of a l l the novels of these authors, though often working to make l i f e comprehensible f o r themselves and others, are rejected f o r t h i s by t h e i r fellow members of society. In t h i s case the nephew agreed to c o l l a - borate with h i s uncle, not merely to gain some hold over h i s uncle but also f o r the possible prestige he might a t t a i n with his f r i e n d s . Pierre E l l e r w i l l r e j e c t h i s uncle who as a teacher has become an almost a l i e n being to him, p r e f e r r i n g the security of •inauthenticity', and w i l l only forgive h i s uncle f o r making of him an outcast, without yet knowing the reason f o r the coll a b o r a t i o n , when his uncle i s near death. The work i t s e l f i s dedicated to the nephew and written f o r him to celebrate h i s f i f t e e n t h birthday. I t i s not des- tined to the nephew of the present, but to the future Pierre who w i l l probably have forgotten h i s past, which i n the pre- sent he cannot grasp, having no reference point i n the past (compare Jacques Revel), "de t e l l e sorte qu'en t o i pourra n a l - tre une nouvelle conscience". Like Sutor, Nathalie Sarraute and Robbe-Grillet also use t h e i r outsider protagonists to awaken the unconsciousness of society as a whole. Yet once again, he who t r i e s to do the awakening—almost divine and - 119 - C h r i s t - l i k e i n the b e l i e f he has i n his own a b i l i t y to see f u r - ther than others—seems doomed by that society and by the task he has set himself. The book Pierre E l l e r attempts to write i s done so to grasp the enormous mass of information "qui g l i s s e sur t o i , qui se gache, se perd, et se contredit, qui g l i s s e sur nous tous, sur tous l e s camarades et tous l e s maJ- tres qui s'ignorent mutuellement,"^3 -t 0 help him f i n d out what he was, from whence he came and thus i n what d i r e c t i o n he i s going. Robbe-Grillet i From Man's self-imposed misinterpretation of the world around him to h i s imposing upon himself the myths which now dominate him, Robbe-Grillet*s novels present protagonists who are struggling to r i d themselves of t h e i r obsessions, and thus of t h e i r servitude. The Robbe-Grillet protagonist i s *le moins neutre, l e moins imp a r t i a l des hommes '... * engage* • ...* toujours dans une aventure passionnelle des plus obsedantes, au point de deformer souvent sa v i s i o n et de produire chez l u i des im- aginations proches du d e l i r e " . 1 ^ This character who constant- l y invents the things around him and then sees those inventions as r e a l i t y , has not yet achieved the humanistic i d e a l set f o r t h by Robbe-Grillet, of wanting to construct a new l i f e f o r Man. As was the case with the protagonists of Sarraute and Butor, the world and events of the Robbe-Grillet characters are those stemming from t h e i r own mind and imagination, but - 120 - to a degree equalled only by the French Canadian author, Du- charme, whose world of fantasy and sadism i s very close to that of Robbe-Grillet. This protagonist who usually does not ex- press himself o r a l l y i s f a r harder to recognize than are the protagonists of Butor and Sarraute. This i s because he IS, or rather, h i s MIND i s the content of these novels. He sees and reg i s t e r s what he sees i n these works f i t t i n g l y categorized under the "Ecole du Regard". To an even greater extent than i n the two preceding authors, to tr y to analyze r e a l i t y ver- sus imagination i s to destroy these novels. Written usually i n the "present de 1 " i n d i c a t i f • t h e y are the expression of a mind, f o r as Robbe-Grillet says» Une imagination, s i e l l e est assez vive, est tou- jours au present. Les souvenirs que l'on 'revolt*, l e s regions l o i n t a i n e s , l e s rencontres a venir, ou meme l e s episodes passes que chacun arrange dans sa tete en modifiant l e cours tout a l o i s i r , i l y a comme un f i l m i n t e r i e u r qui se deroule continu- ellement en nous-mimes, des que nous cessons de preter attention a ce qui se passe autour de nous. Mais a d'autres moments, nous enregistrons au con- t r a i r e , par tous nos sens, ce monde exterieur qui se trouve bei et bien sous nos yeux. A i n s i l e f i l m t o t a l de notre e s p r i t admet a l a f o i s tour a tour et au meme t i t r e l e s fragments r e e l s proposes a 1*instant par l a vue et l'ouie des fragments passes ou l o i n t a i n s , ou futurs, ou totalement fantasmagor- iques. Les Gommes' The world of Les Gommes i s a closed c i r c l e . Like a f i s h i n an aquarium, the cycle repeats i t s e l f and turns back upon itself» Dans l'eau trouble de l'aquarium, des ombres pas- sent furtives..Autour de l u i l e s spectres f a m i l i e r s - 1 2 1 - dansent l a valse, comme des phalenes qui se cognent en rond contre un abat-jour, comme de l a poussiere dans l e s o l e i l , comme l e s p e t i t s bateaux perdus sur l a mer, qui bercent au gre de l a houle leur cargai- son f r a g i l e , l e s vieux tonneaux l e s poissons morts, l e s poulies et l e s cordages, l e bouees, l e pain r a s s i s , l e s couteaux et l e s hommes.^ Only at the l a s t page i s the cycle complete. Then a l l the elements are present as i n a detective story. Les Gommes, l i k e L'Emploi du temps of Butor, i s almost a parody of a 'roman p o l i c i e r * . The awareness of the truth causes the r e a l i z a t i o n that Fate or Time has proved the master. F a t a l i t y i n t h i s novel i s s u p e r f i c i a l l y that of the Greek tragedy of Oedipus, as i n Butor's novel i t was that of Theseus. In the Butor novel, the reader i s l e f t with the impression that the mythological aspect i s a r e a l i t y , which, above and beyond the mind of the i n d i v i d u a l , i s part of a l l society. Although t h i s mythology i s present i n the Robbe-Grillet novel, i t i s seen as a threat to Man's l i b e r t y and one which must be overcome rather than a common bond un i t i n g a l l men and something to f a l l back on when the i n d i v i d u a l f a i l s i n himself, as i s the case with Butor. The f i v e chapters l i k e f i v e acts, the loud-speaker oracle, incomprehensible and frig h t e n i n g , the various scenes repre- senting the l i f e and childhood of Oedipus i n view i n the sta- tionery shop where the (possibly) former wife of the yet to be murdered (possible) father of Wallas, the detective mur- derer, works, the eraser Wallas/Oedipus so desperately needs - 122 - of which he remembers only that i t bears a name the two cen- t r a l l e t t e r s of which are 'di* (Oedipe?), the drunkard whose r i d d l e should t e l l Wallas.^who he, Wallas, r e a l l y is» "inceste a m i d i , p a r r i c i d e l e s o i r et qui boite l e m a t i n " ^ a l l these elements are a l l too obviously those of Sophocles' tragedy, even to an introductory quote from the Greek* "Le temps qui v e i l l e a tout, a donne l a solution malgre t o i " . However, as i n a l l h i s works, the most l o g i c a l l y worked out conclusion i s the far t h e s t from the actual t r u t h , i f such even e x i s t s . As Robbe-Grillet repeats innumerable times i n h i s novels, things are never d e f i n i t e l y i n order. External f a t a l i t y or i n t e r n a l obsession, t h i s novel of human consciousness has yet another l e v e l—t h a t of the p a r t i - c u l a r symbolism cl o s e s t to the working of the human mind, whose symbolism i s an inherent part of Western c i v i l i z a t i o n , and pre- sent i n society since before the Middle Ages. Ih. t h i s , h i s f i r s t novel, Robbe-Grillet lays out the twenty-one cards of the Tarot pack completed by the f o o l . These are the s t a i r s i n the house of Daniel Dupont. Above the sixteenth step i s Key sixteen, the light e n i n g struck tower, with i t s meaning of d i s s o l u t i o n and c o n f l i c t , and the l e v e l l i n g of a l l at death. These s t a i r s with the f o o l ' s head appear again i n La Maison 69 de rendez-vous, while other Tarot symbolism i s present i n a l l his novels.^ 0  One of the more obvious Tarot symbols present, and also repeated i n La Maison de rendez-vous, i s to be found - 123 - i n  Le Voyeurs' This i s the image of a hand, a l l fingers closed except f o r the index f i n g e r and thumb pointing at a watch d i a l . Apart from the obvious e r o t i c symbolism, i n Tarot t h i s indicates (Key 5—the Hierophant or Pope) that what i s seen i s not a l l there i s to know. The v/atch face, a c i r c l e , i s the symbol of cosmic consciousness, and i s i n d i c a t i v e of both Wallas and Mathias (Le Voyeur)and t h e i r i n a b i l i t y to grasp r e a l i t y : "On s'acharne quelquefois 3. decouvrir un meur- t r i e r . . . " "On s'acharne a d l c o u v r i r l e meurtrier, et l e crirae n'a pas ete commis. On s'acharne a l e decouvrir"..."bien l o i n de soi a l o r s qu'on n'a qu'a tendre l a main vers sa propre 72 p o i t n n e " . This could just as e a s i l y be interpreted as a l l being i n the mind of Man. Tarot d t s e l f i s based to a large extent on the i n d i v i d u a l ' s i n t e r p r e t a t i o n of what the cards mean. Of themselves they have no meaning but are e n t i r e l y de- pendent on the mind which creates t h e i r s i g n i f i c a t i o n . Once again r e a l i t y and imagination are one i n the mind of Man. As was the case with Jacques Revel, though the protagonist i n  Les Gommes i s a stranger to the c i t y i n which he finds him- s e l f , he i s haunted by f e e l i n g s o f " d e j a vu'. In t h i s super- f i c i a l l y a l i e n s o c i e t y , Wallas' mind and memory are constantly stimulated by puzzling f a m i l i a r i t y , causing him to wonder i f a l l t h i s happened before i n the past, i n another time or per- haps i n a dream. He reaches the stage of asking himself i f there i s any r e a l difference between the 'present state* of - 124 - things and what existed before. As f o r the c i t y i t ressembles to a s t r i k i n g degree the Manchester-like c i t y of L'Emploi du temps, with i t s c o l d , labyrinthine streets a l l a l i k e , and where the atmosphere i s that of constant t w i l i g h t . The c i t y i n Bu- t o r ' s novel became personified to an almost monster-like crea- ture while that of Les Gommes however i s machine-like i n i t s a l i e n a t i n g atmosphere and hence closer to the c i t i e s depicted by Sarraute, and Ducharme i n Quebec. Both Robbe-Grillet's and Butor's c i t i e s do however have the same strange mythical qual- i t y about them: "A i n s i p a r f o i s en a d v i e n t - i l de c i t e s per- dues, p e t r i f i e e s pour des s i e c l e s , par quelque cataclysme—ou seulement pour quelques secondes avant 1'ecroulement, un clignement comme d*hesitation entre l a vie et ce qui deja porte un autre nom. Apres, avant, 1*eternite"."^ In the ever more confused mind of Wallas, under the i n f l u - ence of what Robbe-Grillet c a l l s 'ancient laws', which could be as e a s i l y psychological as mythical, he becomes aware of the f a c t that he has allowed himself to be caught i n a trap, a trap within the c i t y or within the la b y r i n t h of his own mind. In t h i s c i t y , i n his new existence as a detective, Wal- l a s f e e l s threatened i n his very being, as did Jacques Revel i n Bleston. Even time i s ca p r i c i o u s . His watch stops at seven t h i r t y (the hour at which the o r i g i n a l murder was sup- posed to take place) and st a r t s up again twenty-four hours l a t e r , i f indeed the intervening time i s not merely within Wallas' own tormented mind. Wallas i s incapable of r e a l i z i n g - 125 - what i s happening external to himself i " I l n'est jamais trop tard. L'acte manque revient de lui-meme a son point de depart pour l a seconde echeance...un tour de cadran et l e condamne recommence son geste t h e a t r a l , designant a nouveau sa p o i t r i n e 74 ...etc.". Already i n his f i r s t novel the impression i s one of an actor playing out a part. This actor, however, l i k e a l l of Robbe-Grillet's protagonists, i s obsessed with himself and, i n p a r t i c u l a r , a flaw i n his physical make-up i n d i c a t i v e of an i n t e r n a l flaw. As with the o r i g i n a l crime i t s e l f which f a i l e d through ' l a plus p e t i t e f a i l l e ' by 'deux millimetres carres de reve'?^ Wallas i s short by that same two millimeters i n forehead height to be the i d e a l detective. Freudian-like, objects hold h i s attention when they too have a small ' f a i l l e ' . He chooses a tomato, which though at f i r s t appearance of the same pe r f e c t i o n as the other tomatoes has at clo s e r inspection a t i n y almost i n v i s i b l e flaw, a small piece of skin peeling o f f of about two millimeters again. As with Butor*s protagonists and also with Kafka's charac- ter s , fatigue, i l l n e s s , or some stimulant such as wine or drugs (opium i n La Maison de rendez-vous) usually precede a state of mind bordering on delirium, indicated by furious mental, usu- a l l y mathematical, c a l c u l a t i o n s , or by an almost deliberate externalized, geometrical description of an object or objects. As t h i s dissolves into confusion the hidden object of the pro- tagonist's attention gradually comes to the foreground. In - 126 - Les Gommes, the Freudian implications i n Wallas' s t a r i n g f i x - edly at the glaucous canal water, "1'eau du sommeil sans fond, l'eau glauque remontee de l a mer et pourrie de monstres i n v i s - 76 i b l e s " , are obvious, just as i s h i s staring at the children playing with the mutilated corpse of a. b u t t e r f l y . In Le Vo- yeur Mathias i s fascinated by the corpse of the .frog, open- thighed and arms crossed. But the obsessed mind, as Bernard 77 Dort suggests needs to 'tout e f f a c e r * , so Mathias searches. f o r the mysterious 'gommes* he remembers from h i s childhood and which of course he cannot f i n d . These erasers should have the form of a yellowish cube—obsessed by t h i s he goes so f a r as to cut h i s meal into cubes—and furthermore should be "de deux ou t r o i s centimetres de cote, avec l e s angles leg&rement ar r o n d i s—peut - l t r e par l'usure". These are i n turn a weaker version of the stone with i t s murderous corners which i s on the desk of the study belonging to his possible f a t h e r , Daniel Dupont, just as (again suggested by Bernard Dort) Wallas i s a weaker version of the father he does not know. Thus what he seeks i s his own i d e n t i t y i n t h i s c i t y where everything i s "un double, une copie, un simple exemplaire d'un evenement 79 dont l ' o r i g i n a l et l a c l e f sont a i l l e u r s " . As i n Joyce's Ulysses and Kafka's novels where the pro- tagonists wandered l o s t through labyrinthine s t r e e t s , so does Wallas, to c i t e just one of Robbe-Grillet's protagonists, and so did Jacques Revel i n L'Emploi du temps. Robbe-Grillet - 12? - l i k e n s t h i s wandering to that of a. nightmare as i s the case i n Kafka's novels, suggesting that the p o s s i b i l i t y of Wallas a- wakening into everyday normality i s not impossible. This im- p l i e s that a large part of Wallas' experiences are a product of h i s own mind. In the action of walking, Wallas finds i t i s he himself who regulates his cadence but there i s also a f a l s e impression of co n t i n u i t y , of walking v o l u n t a r i l y towards an in e v i t a b l e and perfect f u t u r e , and away from the c i r c l e s of impotency and doubt i n which he has been aimlessly turning. Le Voyeurt Like Robbe-Grillet's other protagonists, again 'etranger', t a l l e r than average (at l e a s t i n t h e i r own mind's eye), having or having had a moustache l i k e t h e i r creator himself, unsuc- ces s f u l i n any material undertaking, the chief character of t h i s novel, Mathias, a r r i v e s , or imagines he does, on an i s l a n d . At the end of the novel he w i l l again think of his impending a r r i v a l at the island and l i k e a drama played out i n t h i s t r a - v e l l i n g salesman's tormented mind, he i s a f r a i d of having to reinvent the whole scene from beginning to end. Seemingly a t o t a l outsider, i n the island he lands a t , t h i s island could i n fact be the one where he was born. Mathias has come to the island i n " l ' e s p o i r d'un marche exceptionnel". Like Wallas, Mathias i s t o t a l l y alone, with no memories of youth, of friendships to a t t r a c t him, and yet, as with Wallas, Mathias " r e c e v r a i t une recompense sans commune mesure". - 128 - Sadism i n Le Voyeur plays a major ru l e , as i t does i n the following works of t h i s author. Sadism i s "doublement s i g n i f i - c a t i f de 1*impuissance qui se nie et l a l i b e r t e d e l i r a n t e — comme Sade lui-meme". Like Sa.de the Robbe-Grillet protagonist seems above average i n i n t e l l i g e n c e , i f only by h i s escaping the consequences of h i s acts, r e a l or imaginary and i s also 82 "eternel prisonnier et reveur totalement l i b r e " . The sad- i s t i c purpose i s brought out f u l l y i n Pro .jet pour une revolu- 82 tio n a New York where violence as a means of freedom i s shown as an end i n i t s e l f . In t h i s n o v e l — L e Voyeur—the p r i n - c i p a l form of contact f o r t h i s outsider i s through a sado- masochistic r e l a t i o n s h i p formed with an accomplice v i c t i m . Another form of contact i s established through the eyes of a •Doppelganger* 'voyeur* reminiscent of the eyes of the por- t r a i t i n P o r t r a i t d'un inconnu (Sarraute). I t i s through the •regard' of the o t h e r — c r e a t u r e or man—that the protagonist sees himself. Whether t h i s 'voyeur* 'Doppelganger' i s a mirror image unrecognized as such, a creation of h i s own mind, or, again, as was the case with Sarraute*s protagonists, an uncon- scious seeing of oneself i n others, t h i s i s another constant theme i n the "nouveau roman" stemming from the conception of only knowing oneself through others. •i In Le Voyeur t h i s 'Doppelganger* e f f e c t i s achieved through the cold upside down figure eight expression of the seagulls which fascinated him as a c h i l d with t h e i r round, inexpressible and fixed gaze and i n the person of an adolescent with a c h i l d - - 129 - l i k e mind. This l a t t e r i s young J u l i e n Marek, seemingly not i n f u l l possession of h i s w i t s , t h i n , palefaced and a l i t t l e f r i g h t e n i n g , with h i s almost inhuman voi c e , devoid of any f e e l i n g , and h i s lack of expression. Looking at J u l i e n Marek, f e e l i n g he knows everything, and not comprehending hi s com- p l i c i t y : " J u l i e n ne quitta.it pas le voyageur des yeux, l'ob- l i g e a n t a i n s i a. p a r l e r , a p a r l e r v i t e , l e plus v i t e possible",' seeing h i s th i n smile and not understanding h i s t e l l i n g l i e s f o r him, Mathias i s overcome by a v i o l e n t headache. The hyp- no t i c gaze of t h i s young voyeur produces paranoia i n Mathias. Although J u l i e n does not squint, there i s something strange about h i s eyes reminding Mathias of the absence of expression he encountered i n his own deprived childhood. "II proclamait son pouvoir sur Mathias".. . " J u l i e n ava.it *vu'...le n i e r ne s e r v a i t plus a r i e n . Seules l e s images enregistrees par ces yeux, pour toujours leur conferaient desormais cette f i x i t e i n s u p p o r t a b l e " y e t they seem very ordinary gray eyes, cold and r i g i d , apart from t h i s strange something giving them a. look of blindness or even madness. In an attempt to appease them he o f f e r s J u l i e n a present, as he would have l i k e d t o tame the fri g h t e n i n g g u l l s of his childhood. These eyes a.re not the same as those of the others who l i v e on the island with whom there i s no possible communica- t i o n . The other inhabitants a l l ha.ve an identica.l look, im- mobile expressions, somewhat l i k e statues. The eyes of the young victim-^ with her quiet and serious expression are not - 130 - the same eith e r . The protagonists themselves are l i k e a cam- era lens through which the world of the p a r t i c u l a r novel i s r e f l e c t e d . The lens of a camera i s a f t e r a l l the material ex- pression of what Man sees. These protagonists are able to 86 'stop' the action i n camera-like fashion, a m a t e r i a l i z i n g of i n t e r n a l obsession, or they can turn t h e i r gaze inwards to r e f l e c t the u n r e a l i t y of the mind rather than external r e a l i t y . To decide what i s r e a l i t y i s again unimportant. "Le succes p a r a i s s a i t surtout, aujourd'hui une a f f a i r e d'imagination. In t h i s novel a l l the islands are a l i k e . Whether the one •Mathias v i s i t s i s or i s not the one he may or may not have spent his early childhood on does not matterr. Wallas, who had no father, went i n search of him and destroyed him. Mathias, whose mother's existence and whereabouts are unknown, sadis- t i c a l l y tortures and rapes the young g i r l Jacqueline/Violette ( i n French, ' l i t t l e rape') whether or not i n r e a l i t y does not matter. The mythical element i s again present, the protagonist becoming the f a t a l i s t i c a l l y determined executor/executioner. Whether myth or imagination, l i k e Wallas, Mathias "de co u l o i r s obscurs en portes closes, d'escaliers e t r o i t s en echecs, i l QO se p e r d i t de nouveau au milieu de ses fant5mes". La Jalousie* "Sans doute est-ce toujours l e meme poeme qui se continue. S i p a r f o i s les themes s'estompent, c'est pour revenir un peu plus tard, affermis, a peu de choses pres identiques. Cependant ces r e p e t i t i o n s , ces infimes variantes, ces retours en a r r i e r e , - 131 - peuvent dormer l i e u a des m o d i f i c a t i o n s — b i e n qu'a peine s e n s i b l e s — e n t r a l n a n t a l a longue f o r t l o i n du point de depart."90 This i s almost an apology f o r a l l Robbe-Grillet•s works, together or separately. Reality and imagination are again confused i n the mind of the jealous husband. In his tormented mind the same events are played over with s l i g h t differences i n i n t e r p r e t a t i o n each time, just as i n the novel read by his wife A..;., and her "lover* Franck, there are endless v a r i a t i o n s upon v a r i a t i o n s of the cen t r a l themes. The novel read i s a •dedoublement* or another variant of La Jalousie. The sound of the c r i c k e t s "un b r u i t continu, sans v a r i a t i o n s , etourdis- 91 sant, ou i l n'y a r i e n a entendre" expressing nothing as i t i s also 'le c r i des cigales* which provokes i n the young hypersensitive g i r l of Tropismes her understanding of the 92 external world. This a l i e n and a l i e n a t i n g sound present 93 i n both L'Immortelle and La Maison de rendez-vous i s "comme „ . Oil un echo" of the n a t i v e s * 7 song or chant. To the jealous husband both are as incomprehensible as the conversation be- tween A and Franck or indeed the world he l i v e s i n . Like La Jalousie, the native's song seems to have no l o g i c a l beginning or end. In t h i s enclosed world where he f e e l s no security and has no comprehension, l i k e the sick man watching the. moths 95 around the lamp i n Dans l e labynnthe or the acquarium im- age of Les Gommes, the husband seems to seek some form of - 132 - s t a b i l i t y : "une certaine permanence d*ensemble s ' e t a b l i t au sein de laq u e l l e l e s c r i s e s l o c a l e s , l e s a r r i v e e s , l e s departs, l e s permutations, n'entrent pas en ligne de compte"^ but again as the insects "s'emmelant en un echeveau de plus en plus b r o u i l l e ou aucune courbe autonome ne demeure i d e n t i f i a b l e " ^ ^ u n t i l f i n a l l y we are once again back to the i n f i n i t e c i r c l e : qo " l a ronde des insectes est toujours exactement l a meme". The three protagonists i n t h i s novel—the husband, A , and Franck, are a l l foreigners i n t h i s t r o p i c a l climate, but l i k e L. i n Robbe-Grillet's f i l m L*Immortelle,99 a n a - ̂ n contrast to the a l i e n a t i o n experienced by the others, the woman A i s able to control the external environment without any d i f - f i c u l t y — a t l e a s t i n her husband's eyes. As i s the case with both A..... i n L'Annee deraiere a Marienbad and L. she has the a b i l i t y to walk without looking at the ground, however rough or uneven i t may be. With her voluptuous black h a i r she ressembles the " b e l l e et l o i n t a i n e " with her "grands yeux tres ouverts au regard vide" her " l o i n t a i n s o u r i r e , un peu tendre, un peu dangereux"-*-^ i n L'Immortelle who i s able to understand Turkish and yet i s s t i l l not native to the environment she i n - h a b i t s , as A..... i s able to understand and control the natives on the p l a n t a t i o n . Both, as indeed a l l the female protagonists i n Robbe-Grillet, seem to o f f e r not only a challenge to the male protagonist. They have "toujours l e meme sourire oil se l i t , aussi bien, l a d e r i s i o n que l a confiance, ou l'absence - 133 - totale de sentiments", 1 ^ 1  and their eyes—usually green or grey, are seemingly never closed, held in an unreal almost doll - l i k e fashion. -hey also appear to represent a p o s s i b i l - i t y of evasion through sadism and sexual violence. It i s as i f , belonging to neither world, although in appearance within one that i s 'un monde clos', the possibility of communication and salvation exists in their complicity. Thus A herself i s perfect—physically and in other ways—at least in her husbands eyes. Timeless she lives in her own world, a dream world where she seems unaware of time passing, but the disruptive element from the outside—in the person of Franck—is a l l too present, although Franck himself i s doomed to failure by "un defaut insignifiant de la surface" Dans le labyrinthet The narrator again lives in a closed world upon the ele- ments of which he attempts to put a significance which they do not have in themselves. This closed world i s alternately that of the room in which the (sick) narrator l i e s or the cold snow/rain covered streets of the city where the tired soldier wanders, whichever world i t i s does not matter—the one contains a l l the elements of the other. 'Dedoublement' within 'dedoublement', the reflection of the moth turning a- round the lamp i s reflected in the soldier turning round in aimless desperate circles in a labyrinth of streets, not know- ing where he i s going, nor in what city he i s . The wallpaper - 134 - i n the room becomes the snowflakes outside, which f a l l slowly and hypnotically u n t i l they f i n a l l y s e t t l e l i k e the f a l l e n dust within the room. The picture of the defeat of Reichenfels 103 i n the room, depicting the cafe with the three s o l d i e r s , a l l very a l i k e , and the c i v i l i a n s , w i l l reoccur as the refuge where the s o l d i e r , as did Mathias and Wallas, hopes to esta- b l i s h some contact. Whether the narrator i s the s o l d i e r l y i n g sick and dying, recounting t h i s story to himself, changing the scenes i n his mind, with his 'non' and his 'etc...*, the doctor who comes to v i s i t the d e l i r i o u s s o l d i e r , or simply another unknown unid- e n t i f i e d i n d i v i d u a l confined to the room and more s p e c i f i c a l l y to the b e d — s i n c e everything i n the room i s described from that angle—'isnot important. The work stands as i t i s and " l e l e c t e u r est done i n v i t e a n'y v o i r que l e s choses, gestes, paroles, evenements qui l u i sont rapportees, sans chercher a l e u r donner n i plus n i moins de s i g n i f i c a t i o n que dans sa pro- 104 pre v i e , ou sa propre mort". Again i t i s "un espace et un temps purement mentaux—ceux du reve peut-Stre ou de l a mS- moire, ceux de toute vie a f f e c t i v e " . ^ " ^ La Maison de rendez-voust As the name suggests, t h i s novel of Robbe-Grillet i s the meeting-place f o r a l l h i s other works, being at the same time a 'monde c l o s ' complete i n i t s e l f . To an even greater extent than i n the preceding novels—perhaps i n t h i s way i t i s c l o s e r - 135 - to h i s *cine-romans*, L*Annee derni^re a Marienbad and L' Immor- t e l l e— t h e a t r i c a l and cinematic elements pervade the whole novel i n the labyrinthine play within a play s t r u c t u r e . Again the elements of dream-like f a t a l i t y are a l l present, as i f "hommes et choses sont egalement victimes de quelque enchante- ment,.' comme dans ces reVes j l ' o n se sent guide par une ordon- nance f a t a l e , dont i l s e r a i t aussi vain de pretendre modifier l e plus p e t i t d e t a i l que de chercher a s* enfuir","*" 0 ^ elements of a l l the preceding v;orks are present. From the f i r s t page, the narrator reveals himself as obsessed by the ph y s i c a l a s - pect of women which he states has always taken up a great deal of h i s dreams. Certain elements of sadism are reminiscent of 107 the short story La Chambre secrete, v/ith a l l the complicit masochism of the strange and be a u t i f u l captive g i r l . Every- thing .is revealed through the mind of the narrator, who l i k e the old mad king Boris of the novel—who may or may not be a king—"cherche quelque chose dans ses souvenirs, quelque chose de solide et i l ne s a l t pas q u o i " . 1 0 ^ Whether the narrator invents the incidents recounted, whether they are t o l d him by Lady Ava/Eva/Eve,. or whether they belong to the past memories of the mistress of the V i l l a Bleue, i s again unimportant. In two separate prefaces the author seems to delight i n contra- d i c t i n g himself as to the aut h e n t i c i t y of the story i t s e l f . In t h i s world of a Hong Kong of the imagination and of r e a l i t y , l i k e the Turkey of,L'Immortelle, there are again two - 1 3 6 - worlds. F i r s t l y there i s a mysterious and yet home-away-from- home-like atmosphere of the V i l l a Bleue, which i n i t s construc- t i o n i s reminiscent of the a r t i f i c i a l " j a r d i n a l a francaise" of L*Annee derniere a Marienbad. 1 ( ^ Like the novel " l e decor n'est v i s i b l e que d'une facon p a r t i e l l e " . . . " l e s objets situes a proximite immediate, s i bien qu'on ne distingue pas un en- semble, mais seulement des fragments sans l i e n " . 1 1 ^ In the park of the v i l l a envelopped i n i t s mysterious blue halo with i t s impenetrable for e s t ressembling those of childhood's f a i r y t a l e s surrounding the house, the "parfum v i o l e n t , douceatre, legSrement p o u r r i " , 1 1 1  and the ground which leaves no f o o t - p r i n t s , the impression i s unreal and nightmarish. The t o t a l e f f e c t i s r e f l e c t e d i n the dance of Loraine/Lauren» "comme s i tout cela se passait a. 1'autre bout du monde; emportee tou- jours dans un m £ m e rythme l e n t mais i r r e s i s t i b l e , bien trop 1 1 2 puissant". In the obsessed mind of the narrator her dancing becomes the frenzied twisting of s a d i s t i c violence i n a scene which i s almost a r e p l i c a of one i n L'Immortelle 1 1 ^ while the music she dances to ressembles the native's chant i n La J a l o u s i e . This i s again reminiscent of the a l i e n sound of the insects i n the park, or that of the c r i c k e t s i n La Jalousie ( c f . pp 86- 87). A l l these sounds are a l i e n , r e p i t i t i o u s , with no appar- ent beginning or end, and no v a r i a t i o n of i n t e n s i t y or loud- ness, hence, frightening and nightmarish to the u n i n i t i a t e d l i s t e n e r . - 137 - Statues have played a. major part i n the *dedouolement" of Robbe-Grillet's other works to quite a large extent as has a l - ready been mentioned. In t h i s novel, however, the statues i n the garden of the v i l l a are f i r s t and foremost representative of his other works. They "retracent l e s episodes l e s plus fameux de 1*existence imaginaire de l a Princesse Azyt 'Les Chiens', 'L'Esclave', 'La Promesse', 'La Reine', 'L'Enleve- ment', 'Le Chasseur', *La Mise a Mort"," L ^ presumably repre- senting i n the same ordert L'Immortelle, La Chambre secrete, Dans l e l a b y r i n t h e , La J a l o u s i e , L'Annee derniere a Marienbad, Le Voyeur and f i n a l l y Les Gommes. The sculptors of these s t a - tues, Johnson and Marchand, are two of the main protagonists. Within the v i l l a small dramatic pieces are acted out which r e f l e c t the events i n former novels* there i s a scene of a. young g i r l attached to the trunk of a. tree i n the a t t i t u d e of Jaqueline/Violette faced by the 'chasseur' who holds the •guidon* of a b i c y c l e rather than a gun, as well as various scenes of perversion and sadism. Outside the v i l l a — i f indeed the v i l l a e x i s t s—there i s *dedoublement' of what exi s t s within the v i l l a . In the gutter of the Hong Kong streets l i e s a magazine, which shows pi c t u r e s of the cafe and three s o l d i e r s i n Dans l e labyrinthe, and l a t e r shows scenes of destruction through opium which t h i s time i s the stimulant, not absinth or other alcohol as i n previous no- v e l s . - 138 - Hong Kong with i t s a l l - p e r v a s i v e atmosphere of 'chaleur etouffante' i s a l i e n a t i n g and incomprehensible to the narra- tor as i t i s to the other protagonists. The c i t y i s the meeting place of East and West and i t i s Kim the Eurasian's closed world. Her features are "aussi f i g e s que ceux d'un mannequin"... "on dira.it qu'elle ne v o i t r i e n de tout c e l a , comme une somnambule; e l l e n'a. pas non plus besoin de regarder 9. ses pieds pour e v i t e r l e s obstacles" (as A..... i n La Jalousie) "ceux-ci paraissent s'ecarter d'eux-memes pour 115 l u i l a i s s e r l e chemin l i b r e " . The Chinese around her who seem mechanical and unreal to the Europeans and Kim with her impassive Oriental smile, which Is i n r e a l i t y not a smile, seem to have the r i g i d body and waxen face of a. d o l l or dummy. Like the other female protagonists she seems attentive and yet d i s t a n t . Although her eyes are open and frank she has about her the a i r of being constantly l o s t i n splendid bloody dreams. The other p r i n c i p a l female protagonist i s the b e a u t i f u l , blonde Lauren/Loraine who o f f e r s a paradoxical i n v i t a t i o n with her eyes. In these eyes can be seen r e v o l t , submission, f e a r , pleasure^ or nothing at a l l depending upon the Interpre- t a t i o n of the narr a t o r . She seems i n f a c t " l a deesse de l ' i l - 116 l u s i o n " . As with the other women accomplice victims by her look In which there i s not a l i t t l e madness, she seems to be someone who wants to obtain "un instant d'attention ou qui de- mande un dernier s u r s i s , ou qui tente d'interrompre un acte - 139 - 117 i r r e v o c a b l e " . Pro.iet pour une revolution a New York* From the rather confused group of characters i n La Maison de rendez-vous, the emphasis i s changed to confusion of events with s i m p l i f i c a t i o n of characters i n t h i s l a t e s t novel of A l a i n Robbe-Grillet. According to the author, a l l the r e v o l u t i o n a r i e s , at l e a s t i n America, are supposed to be foreigners.. Thus the narrator, i f he e x i s t s , i n t h i s novel, perhaps i n the person of Ben Said, i s the extreme example of the 'outsider'. Robbe-Grillet states that he himself i s a f r a i d as i s ev- eryone i n t h i s world. Like h i s own protagonists who search f o r and f i n d flaws i n the world external to themselves, he talks of a house he has i n the country with i t s beams r o t t i n g away* " J ' a i toujours 1*impression de vivre dans un monde •I -I Q mine, menace par un cataclysme, prSt a s'ecrouler". The U.S.A., with i t s concentration of fear and violence of the s i x t i e s and seventies, i s the i d e a l s e t t i n g f o r the playing-out of h i s games and what better place than the New York subway* "Le monde souterrain par excellence, I'under- ground, l e labyrinthe de l a peur, de l a demence et de l a 119 mort". This same sett i n g with i t s claustrophobic atmos- phere and myth-like q u a l i t i e s of fear and violence i s used by Bessette i n L'Incubation i n the London of wartime. - 140 - As with La Maison de rendez-vous, t h i s novel has a l l the elements of the preceding novels, s l y l y put i n here and there, making the reader aware of the author's presence. Yet a l l elements are possible and explicable by the books read by the young g i r l Laura, since i t i s from these books she gleans the l i f e she experiences. "Ce qui m'a toujours f a i t supposer que Laura l i s a i t tous ces l i v r e s en mime temps et qu'elle en me- langeait a i n s i de piece en p i £ c e , selon ses propres dep'lace- ments, l e s p e r i p e t i e s p o l i c i e r e s savamment calculees par l'au- teur, modifiant done sans cesse 1•ordonnance de chaque volume, sautant de s u r c r o l t cent f o i s par jour d'un ouvrage a l' a u t r e , ne craignant pas de revenir a plusieurs reprise sur l e meme passage pourtant depourvu de tout i n t e r l t v i s i b l e , a l o r s qu* e l l e delaisse au contraire totalement l e chapitre e s s e n t i e l qui contient l e noeud d'une enqulte, et donne par consequent 120 sa s i g n i f i c a t i o n a 1*ensemble de 1'intrigue". This could e a s i l y be an apology of t h i s or any of the author's works. The narrator/revolutionary/voyeur—if indeed he e x i s t s and i s not another figment of Laura's extraordinary imagination —regards Laura i n much the same way as did the husband i n La J a l o u s i e . For him she e x i s t s i n a dream-like world, f a r r e - moved from everyday r e a l i t y . The l i f e she l i v e s i s as i s o l a - ted from the r e s t of society as i s that of the other female protagonists of the Robbe-Grillet works, and she too exerts a strange dominion over the narrator. Enclosed within a house, strangely ressembling the abandoned house of Ducharme's two - 141 - children i n Le Nez qui vogue, there i s no possible future f o r her. She has had no communication with the outside world and what she comes into contact with i s through the books she reads. Yet, as with a l l the young Robbe-Grillet women protagonists, there i s a hint of strange violence i n her past, l i n k i n g her through her experience with the narrator voyeur who i s super- f i c i a l l y her guardian. When she speaks, at lea s t to the nar- r a t o r , there i s no coherence i n what she says, even though the tone she uses would imply l o g i c a l i t y . As i f i n a Kafkaesque nightmare, she wanders through endless corridors whose closed doors conceal mysterious rooms from which blood flows and tortured sounds i s s u e . In the play of the school children below her window she sees s a d i s t i c and r i t u a l i s t i c games. When she catches sight of he r s e l f i n the mirror, l i k e the other Robbe-Grillet protagonists, she does not even see h e r s e l f . She seems again to exi s t i n a timeless st a t e , refusing to have any watch or clock near her, and yet she i s obsessed by the t a r - diness of others. Thus avoiding what she f e a r s , i t i s brought to the f o r e . Again physical flaws or ' f a i l l e s * fascinate and repel her, revealing to her the very i n s e c u r i t y of her herme- t i c world. I t i s she with her mysterious r i n g , who, by a c c i - dent, cracks the window leading to the outside world. From the Sarrautian i n d i v i d u a l seeking to uncover and r e - veal to a l l men what he i s convinced l i e s behind t h e i r d a i l y actions and conversations i n present society, to the Butor - 142 - protagonist who, sett i n g out i n search of himself, i n an ap- parently a l i e n society, discovers not only himself but bonds l i n k i n g a l l society, the t r a n s i t i o n i s made i n the works of Robbe-Grillet, who already recognizes these common myths of Mankind, to an attempt to r i d Man of these very myths. These myths, which take at times the form of fears and obsessions, haunt a l l of modern society to a. greater or le s s e r extent de- pending upon the i n d i v i d u a l . In general the Robbe-Grillet protagonist represents the extreme point of these obsessions whether he be the victim or executioner. As i n a catharsis t h i s extreme point must be reached before purgation i s possible . Also as pointed out i n Pro.jet pour une revolution 3. New York, and as already brought out i n Sarraute's and i n Butor's novels, i t i s he who i s the most alienated from the society he finds himself i n who i s the most capable of seeing i t s problems, and i n the Robbe-Grillet novels, of revolution. Yet i n the Robbe-Grillet novels these i n d i v i d u a l s have not yet reached the point of overcoming t h e i r own obsessions. Again outsiders, they have the same feelings or experience of 'deja" vu' as do the preceding two authors. Not completely aware of what does l i n k them to the places or situations they fi n d themselves i n , they again seek, through communication with another, an answer to t h e i r problems, i n t h i s case an a l l e v i a - t i o n from t h e i r obsessions. In the Robbe-Grillet novels, i t - 143 - i s the women or young g i r l victims who seem to hold the key to t h i s . (In the films i t i s often a man who seems to o f f e r escape to the female protagonist through violence that she i s af r a i d of accepting.) These women l i k e Glsele i n Sarraute*s Le Planetarium and l i k e the women i n Butor*s novels seem to have a control of the society they exist i n not held by the male protagonist who recognizes i n them q u a l i t i e s of 'etrangete* akin to his own. Thus, once again, a form of communication represents a p o s s i b i l i t y of s a l v a t i o n . Quebec» On the French Canadian s i d e , i t i s i n t e r e s t i n g to note that a t o t a l society rather than a single i n d i v i d u a l seems to be i n search of s e l f . The outsider i n d i v i d u a l of the French "nouveau roman" becomes the outsider member of a group l i k e himself seeking to fi n d not just his own i d e n t i t y but the i d - en t i t y of the group he belongs t o . Unlike the t o t a l solitude experienced by the French "nouveau roman" protagonists, these French Canadian ones a l l a l i g n themselves to a greater or l e s s - er extent with a group to which they f e e l a f f i n i t y . Bessette's narrator i s able to place his own attitude on those characters he studies, since to him a l l men are equally i l l - f a t e d and a l i e n to themselves. Basile's three characters form together a group within a larg e r one, to which they r e a l i z e nevertheless they are t i e d , while Ducharme's protagonists exist i n t h e i r own c h i l d world with others l i k e them. These enclave groups - 144 - of the two l a t t e r authors, Basile and Ducharme, are constantly threatened from the outside but nevertheless there i s an i n - ner group security not present i n the French novels. Bessette» Like himself, Bessette's main characters are usually i n - volved with books or teaching, whether i t be Jodoin i n an e a r l i e r novel Le L i b r a i r e (1961) or any of the main characters in L*Incubation. This l a t t e r novel presents many elements close to the author's own l i f e . His bleakly humourous des- c r i p t i o n s of l i f e i n a. smalltown u n i v e r s i t y , ...where the people exist i n a. kind of limbo unaware of the rest of the world, bring the whole North American system under heavy c r i t i c i s m , with the small u n i v e r s i t y ' s desire to gain f o r i t s e l f the pres- tige necessary i n a country which, although not part of the United States cannot but f e e l "1*ecrasante generosite ameri- c a i n e " . 1 2 1 Although s t r i c t l y speaking, L*Incubation i s Bessette's 122 contribution to the "nouveau roman", as f a r as t h i s thesis i s concerned, the theme and content of h i s preceding, novel, Le L i b r a i r e , are important i n that they are b a s i c a l l y the same as those of the l a t e r novel. Jodoin i s t y p i c a l of the a n t i - hero of the 'new novel* i n French Canada, alone with his black humour, lacking i n ' i d e a l s ' , a more or less detached observer of human actions and weaknesses, l i v i n g from day to day very much l i k e Camus' Meursault—and Bessette's characters have a - 145 - l o t of Keursau.lt about them—in a state of almost t o t a l r e s i g - nation to the fate of Mankind. These characters are e s s e n t i a l l y schizoid as are Robbe-Grillet's characters, but with the d i f - ference that i n the case of the French writer t h i s schizophre- nia, i s linked to the desperate desire f o r detachment and o b l i - vion on the part of the obsessed mind, whereas the Bessettian character has become schizoid through reaction to the world, by h i s self-imposed detachment, often marked by the same pre- cis e geometrical descriptions found i n Robbe-Grillet, follow- ing an almost t o t a l resignation to the point of regarding h i s fellow men as mere objects. L*Incubation; "des fourmis des r a t s , deux d*entre eux se croisant s'aheurtant fuyant ensemble se palpant l e s antennes, l e museau, fuyant ensemble ayant 1 * i l l u s i o n malgre tout de penser entraines talonnes par leurs i n s t i n c t s par l a peur l a panique"..."s*imaginant q u ' i l s pensent q u ' i l s sont maltres comme on d i t de leur destinee n'ayant au fond appris qu'une chose (a savoir q u ' i l s doivent mourir) en attendant c i r c u l a n t a l a surface du sol dans un demi-reve un demi-sommeil". ^ Seen through the semi-detached eyes of a narrator, whose own solitude i s r e f l e c t e d i n those he observes, the story i t - s e l f i s b a s i c a l l y simple and, as i n Robbe-Grillet•s La J a l o u s i e , i s the description of a state of mind or of several minds i n - terpreted through that of the narrator, Lagarde. S u p e r f i c i a l l y incoherent, the narrator weaves his monologue through the love of Gordon and Antinea i n London to the a r r i v a l - 146 - of Nea i n Narcotown some years l a t e r and her eventual s u i c i d e . In the horror and holocaust of London during the war, Antinea. by her very name seems to symbolize the quest f o r something when faced with the dangers and threat of a n n i h i l a t i o n i n war, whereas, when placed i n the empty meaningless society of Narco- town, with a l l i t s inherent symbolism of a state of h a l f - s l e e p , A n t i n l a becomes mere Nea with death the only answer. She has found the very 'neant* of which many years ago she was the an- tonym. During her stay i n Narcotown she has managed to a f f e c t several people including the narrator himself, but t h i s e f f e c t i s merely one of emphasizing the absurdity of t h e i r own e x i s - tence, t h e i r impotency coupled with t h e i r f e e l i n g s of g u i l t and despair when faced with t h i s impotency. The actual events related take place v a r i o u s l y i n London, Montreal, Narcotown, and i n modes of transportation i n between the l a t t e r two. As with the novels of Robbe-Grillet, by f a i r l y c a r e f u l observation one can ascertain the whereabouts of the action and even the geographical d i r e c t i o n taken. Transitions i n space and time come almost imperceptibly, the t r a n s i t i o n taking place through d i r e c t mind assoc i a t i o n s . London during the war i s l i k e a. caricature of l i f e i t s e l f . Since Bessette had a fever while i n that c i t y , i t seems only appropriate that he should portray i n t h i s novel the fe v e r i s h i n t e n s i t y of l i f e i n London at the time when the heightened emotions people experience i n the face of imminent danger are - 147 - ref l e c t e d i n at t i t u d e s d i f f e r e n t from the norm. The atmosphere i s somewhat reminiscent of Camus' La. Peste, and l i k e Camus' characters, i n a s i t u a t i o n where women lose t h e i r i n h i b i t i o n s i n the face of constant danger, one i s freed. Indeed Gordon f e e l s himself l i b e r a t e d of "certains tabous ou de certains re- 124 foulements". Because l i f e i t s e l f i n t h i s case i s desperate, i t i s l i v e d i n t e n s e l y . In a strange s i t u a t i o n , love, p a r t i c u - l a r l y with a stranger, with the simultaneous search f o r o b l i - v i o n , a n n i h i l a t i o n , loss of s e l f , and some form of communication, i s also intense, as i s the case i n the novels of Robbe-Grillet. In the London underground, which by i t s atmosphere of horror, fear and desperation i s akin to the Robbe-Grillet New York subway of Pro .jet pour une revolution a New York with a l l i t s inherent violence and t e r r o r , the Londoners themselves— "troglodytes m e t r o p o l i t a i n s " 1 2 ^—a f t e r f l e e i n g through the web- l i k e labyrinthine London streets to a t t a i n a horizontal d i s - placement i n the underground c o r r i d o r s , seek a c o l l e c t i v e se- c u r i t y which i s delusory and deris o r y . Pseudo-travellers, they wait f o r a never-coming t r a i n , escaping death from the heavens —man-made—which can destroy i n one moment what i t has taken so long to buildo In t h i s atmosphere of fear and destruction of a l l t r a d i - t i o n a l values, Gordon and Antinea, both 'etrangers' i n that s o c i e t y , " s o l i t a i r e s et souffrant d ' e t r e solitaires'* be- l i e v e they have found one another. Gordon i s a stranger, a - 148 - Canadian v.'ho f e e l s a strange patriotism f o r Great B r i t a i n and yet whose job there i s a mockery. Antinea, representing per- haps a l l women to Gordon* i s a motherless c h i l d , brought up i n a boarding school, mocked at by the other p u p i l s , treated more as a servant, and v i s i t e d r a r e l y by an almost uncaring father . Married to a man without knowing whether or not she loves him and whom, she be l i e v e s , married her to 'have' her, she a l t e r - nately despises her husband and f e e l s g u i l t y f o r t h i s f e e l i n g and f o r her be t r a y a l . In Gordon she finds a kindred soul and together they create f o r themselves an existence of intense danger as i f i n compensation f o r the lack of actual danger i n Gordon's job and the comparative danger experienced by Jack, Antinea's husband. The l a t t e r ' s perfectionism and m i l i t a r y zeal seem i n return a. sublimation of other emotions, bringing to the fore Bessette's "(mais qu'est-ce que j a veut dire l e 127 * subconscient)". Gordon's and Antinea.'s quest f o r excitement and danger extends to t h e i r taking no precautions i n t h e i r love- making. Although Gordon i s unsure of Antinea's motivation f o r t h i s , she i s almost drawn to pregnancy as a means of giving her something s o l i d i n a world that i s the opposite, just as Judith i n Basile's novels expresses the same wish f o r a c h i l d . (Nei- ther of these unhappy women w i l l succeed i n this. ) As f o r Antinea, she i s completely unsure of her own fee l i n g s towards Gordon or Jack, of t h e i r f e e l i n g towards her or indeed of any- one or of anything. In between London and Narcotown i s Montreal, represented - 149 - by the greyish " s a l l e des pas perdus", b i l i n g u a l t a x i - d r i v - e r s , and the lonely hotel room reminiscent of the h a l f - l a r v a l i f e Antinea/Nea has been leading i n the years between the war and her v i s i t to Canada. I t i s a c i t y of bored blase em- ployees i n cages, of those who, l i k e the waiter i n the bar Gordon and the narrator have gone to , have sold t h e i r souls i n s e r v i l i t y , and i t i s the place where conversation i s r e - presented by s o l i l o q u i e s expressed aloud. This atmosphere— almost a s p a t i a l i s a t i o n of the years she has l i v e d a f t e r Gor- don's departure—can only add to Nea's despair and s o l i t u d e . • Though not French Canadian, Nea i s very much an outsider within her own s o c i e t y , a member of another form of 'minority group* i n her fe e l i n g s of g u i l t and fear coupled with her desire f o r death. This 'death wish" and simultaneous fear of death i s brought out by her seeking danger on the one hand and her horror of blood on the other, exemplified i n her job with the Red Cross i n London. Nea had a paper job l i k e Gordon, a mock- ery of the r e a l s i t u a t i o n , but also f o r Nea a way to avoid and simultaneously be part of what fascinates her so much. In the same way her feeli n g s of g u i l t and horror are even more pro- nounced when she receives n o t i f i c a t i o n of her husband's wound. Her whole a f f a i r with Gordon i n London i s one which brings to the fore a l l her mixed feelings* "se jet e r se b l o t t i r se des- integrer se retrouver se perdre dans l e s bras de Gordon". Unable to know her own f e e l i n g s , i n turn hating and loving Gor- - 150 - don and Jack and h e r s e l f , when the subconsciously desired d i s - appearance of Jack becomes a. c e r t a i n t y , her feeli n g s of g u i l t and horror, together with h y s t e r i c a l c r i s e s which t e r r i f y Gordon r e s u l t i n an attempted s u i c i d e . But she asks nothing of anyone, le a s t of a l l p i t y , i n her horror at ressembling her sympathy-seeking husband, recognizing that t h i s emotion i s r e - pulsive to others as i t was to her. Like the other characters i n t h i s novel, "Nea. nageant comme nous tous entre deux eaux comme nous tous traversee par des courants (venus d'ou) attaquee par des serpents marins sous-marins rongee par des tenias l e s digerant plus ou moins essayant de l e s digerer, comme nous * 130 tous plus ou moins digeree par eux". A •lache*^1 according to Nea, Gordon l i v e s i n a state of ina u t h e n t i c i t y and s e l f - o b l i v i o n from which there i s no way out, just as his eternal turning over of reminiscences of the past seems endless. Why Gordon desires Nea's presence i n Nar- cotown, the narrator can only guess at—Gordon himself i s un- sure of his own motives—honour? moral o b l i g a t i o n ? . I t seems more obviously a desire to fi n d again the l i f e he discovered i n London and which he has since l o s t . Doubting that he ever r e a l l y loved her, a f r a i d of gossip, i t i s only when she becomes unattainable, that, as i n London—and again the c i r c l e repeats i t s e l f— h e wants her. Although not apparently central to the a c t i o n , the face- l e s s , almost nameless narrator sponge-like absorbs and emits - 151 - the information he obtains from the l i v e s of others with whom he comes i n contact. I t could be said he ressembles a computer, but f o r a l l his s u p e r f i c i a l coldness stemming from a resigna- t i o n he has forced upon himself as a. protection against involve- ment, he nevertheless emerges as a sympathetic human being i n his portrayal of others. S c h i z o i d , the l i f e he avoids he also f e e l s obliged to assume. Whether i t be afternoon tea with Maggie or d e l i b e r a t e l y accidental meetings with the lonely German, the solace he provides to others i s the attention he gives them. He too has feelings of g u i l t and b e t r a y a l—in t a l k i n g to Nea he f e e l s he i s betraying Maggie and vice versa.— and sometimes h i s dread of silence forces him to speak, often saying what he l a t e r r e grets, so that he too errs through i n - a u t h e n t i c i t y . Like the other protagonists of the "nouveaux ro- mans" treated i n t h i s thesis he often finds himself i n a state of half-sleep or semi-intoxication. Since everything i s i n - terpreted through and by t h i s one narrator, the state of the others i s i n part a r e f l e c t i o n of his own mind as i s the case with the other novels. Once again the reader has to l i m i t himself to t h i s one v i s i o n of a lonely and c y n i c a l narrator whose existence emphasizes the paradoxical s i t u a t i o n of the i n d i v i d u a l i n soc i e t y . In many ways Lagarde ressembles the older and wiser ver- sions of the young Sarrautian i n d i v i d u a l s . He sees i n others the struggle f o r s e l f , t h e i r desperate attempts at e s t a b l i s h i n g - 152 - some form of communication with others, and at f i n d i n g some meaning i n a. meaningless l i f e tha.t were a.ll part of the search of the French protagonists. He i s only too well aware of t h e i r cowardice, i n a u t h e n t i c i t y and of t h e i r dreams of f i n d i n g something to give t h e i r l i v e s a value they lack beyond t h e i r present s t a t e , but again seeing the same basic properties i n a l l men, (without the seeming 'naivete* of the French protagon- i s t s ) , the narrator appears at times an almost s c i e n t i f i c ob- server of his own race, unable to help them and reduced to cynicism and despair. Jean B a s i l e ; In the three novels of Jean Ba.sile depicting three charac- t e r s , Jean Ba.sile presents the same themes as those of the preceding authors. A l l his protagonists share, although not to the extreme" of Lagarde, the cynicism and despair of Bessette' character. His novels deal with three youngish Montrealais—the three 'J's*—"Judith brune 3. r e f l e t s rouges, Jeremie blond" and f i n - 132 a l l y Jonathan "tout n o i r " a gambler whose i n t e r e s t l i e s not i n winning fortune, but i n seeing the laws of p r o b a b i l - i t y broken. Clinging to a. past and a mythical father f i g u r e , V i c t o r , whose maxims they r e c a l l or invent at w i l l , the sudden return and death of t h i s V i c t o r before the very eyes of Jeremie seems symbolic of t h e i r own death. Each be- - 153 - comes variously involved with people whose names a l l begin with 'A': Jonathan with Armande and Adelaide, Jeremie with Armande and Anne, and Judith with the young would-be revolu- tionary Adolphe, and the would-be a r t i s t (Victor) - Axel. In the f i r s t novel, Jeremie with his face halfway between a boxer and angel,"""33 reveals h i s own narcissism, his obses- sion with the passing of his youth and beauty, his preoccupa- t i o n with the shortness of l i f e and h i s fears of the future which to him i s l i k e a black v e i l , always i n retreat, never tearing to allow him a glimpse at what may be. Indeed, as he b i t t e r l y remarks, i f one discounts the f i r s t and l a s t f i f t e e n years of l i f e , there remain approximately t h i r t y good years, of which f o r him ten have alrea.y gone. His own l i f e i s to him a serious matter, but he cannot become involved i n that of others. Dying Chinese cannot i n t e r e s t him f o r , as he says, "seule la. vie que je v i s m'apparait comme infiniment grave, aimable et uniquement par rapport a moi, parce que je suis ne I I et je dois mourir, et que personne n i aime n i hai et moins encore 1 • i n d i f f e r e n t ne pourra jamais me t i r e r du chemin ou 134 je suis qui me mene au terme". His cry ressembles that of Meursault, le s s an indifference to others than a desperate attempt at affirming his own existence. Neither to Jeremie nor to the other two, i s outside 'engagement' believable or relevant. They mock at the young students l i k e Adolphe who whistle Bob Dylan tunes, but would r e a l l y l i k e to l i v e l i k e - 154 - Frank S i n a t r a , or the young musicians who are so involved i n t h e i r playing that they seem to lack inner 'engagement' and are unable to express themselves normally. To Jeremie, Jona- than and J u d i t h , who believe 's'engager* i s 'se diminuer' 1 -^ these people are inauthentic i n the Sa r t r i a n sense. Jeremie believes the three 'J's* are more authentic since, as he says to Anne i n Les Voyages d'Irkoutsk, "nous vivons comme tout l e monde, ma c h l r i e , seulement nous, on l e s a l t et on l e d i t " . Yet he also wonders i f they too, he, Jonathan and Judith are not playing games with themselves as well as with others. Jeremie cannot bear to lose a. moment of the l i f e he has. Believing l i b e r t y does not e x i s t , the only recourse l e f t to them i s to invent i t a l i t t l e . He f e e l s that i n one l i f e there i s s u f f i c i e n t time only to touch on the things that matter, time l o s t such as that by Armande*s sulking, i s to him inexcusable, and yet when the world seems to be c l o s i n g i n on him he resorts to the womb-like security of his bed f o r hours or even days at a time. As others' l i v e s do not r e a l l y 137 i n t e r e s t him, nor does Nature, except i n rare moments. Even then i t seems more a romantic game than the r e a l love of Nature experienced by Jonathan and J u d i t h . His n a r c i s s i s t i c obsession with his own l i f e i s r e f l e c t e d i n the horror mirrors hold f o r him. The f a c t that his body grows old while his 'soul' remains young, revol t s him. Experiencing an intense desire to rea f f i r m h i s l i f e through some f e e l i n g , he wants to keep his - 155 - eyes open, observing every new wrinkle and s u f f e r i n g from i t . When young, time was immeasurable. Now he r e a l i z e s i t l i e s i n wait l i k e an old Sioux. He i s a f r a i d of death but believes he w i l l be able to accept i t when i t comes. Just as he i s unable to destroy his own deformed c h i l d , begging Jonathan to do i t f o r him, he does not r e a l l y believe the mother of his f i r s t aborted c h i l d w i l l die or i s a c t u a l l y dead. To avoid death i n his appa.rtment, he leaves and reaffirms l i f e , embracing stones and houses, making love to a g i r l he picks upi "j'aime v i v r e , j'aime vi v r e a i n s i p e t i t , amoureux de toutes choses, au milieu de la. v i l l e et des hommes, aucune extravagance ne m'effraie, je voudrais §tre fou de j o i e , me rceler, me marier "I OR pour toujours a cette foule en f e t e " . However death haunts him i n the blood red of the cherry t a r t he eats, and eventual- l y he has to return to the dying Armande. What s t r i k e s him as most t e r r i b l e about her death, i s that she was s t i l l essen- t i a l l y a c h i l d and youth and beauty should not be allowed to die as f a r as Jeremie i s concerned. Youth, p a r t i c u l a r l y when associated with beauty, i s an e l i t e to which he belongs and from v/hich he does not wish to dissociate himself. For t h i s reason the f i n a l t r a n s i t i o n to becoming one of the 'beautiful people* and his idea of founding a. commune of those l i k e him- s e l f seems quite n a t u r a l . His world i s an unreal one, so his f i n a l discovery of the world of drugs, i t s e l f an escape from r e a l i t y and hence from death i s the l o g i c a l r e s u l t . A poetic dreamer with no p o s s i b i l i t y of r e a l i z i n g his dreams, when not - 156 - i n a romantic ( i n the poetic sense) mood, Jeremie regards his own personality rather c y n i c a l l y * "causeur charmant, ami s i n - 139 cere, camara.de serviahle en tout temps". Love i s to him a. nec e s s i t y . Unsure about the depth of his own fee l i n g s about anyone or anything, he nevertheless f e e l s capable of taking on the r e s p o n s i b i l i t y of others, beli e v i n g as was the case with Armande, that he can allow them complete freedom at the same time, yet he cannot abide what he f e e l s i s abuse of t h i s f r e e - dom. In Armande, he states with romantic f o r e s i g h t , he sees "1'aboutissement personnel d'une longue et s u b t i l e preparation 140 3 l a maladie de 1*amour". He loves women i n general but i n p a r t i c u l a r those to whom he can give pleasure. From out- ward appearances a dreamer, Jeremie analyzes himself i n r e a l i t y as s e l f i s h , c a l c u l a t i n g and possessive. Whether h i s love f o r Armande i s f o r the g a l l e r y , as Jonathan puts i t , or i s merely s e l f - a f f i r m a t i o n , her lightness i s the complement to Jeremie's s o l i d i t y as i s her beauty to Jonathan's i n t e l l i g e n c e . Jeremie i s a hopeless and helpless romantic incapable of l i v i n g i n the r e a l world. The romantic love he wants to f e e l and express i s not bound by sex, whether i t be f o r the ten- years-gone V i c t o r , who "3. 1'epoque dans notre souvenir i l e t a i t l e plus v r a i , l e plus vivant de tous l e s adultes que nous con- 141 naissions," supplying the l i n k to t h e i r adolescent happiness together i n the c i t y of "Roma-Amor" with i t s climate of eternal youth and beauty without which no love i s possible i n Jeremie's - 157 - mind, or f o r Jonathan with whom he remembers having a D.H. Lawrence-type hand to hand combat with a l l the sexual over- tone i m p l i c i t i n that physical contact, or again with J u d i t h , with whom any physical love would seem incestuous. Jeremie sees the world through a romantic's eyes. The words he utters to Judith expressing the love he f e e l s f o r her reveal even more strongly how his love f o r others i s merely another form of narcissism. He regards himself and Judith as the p o s i - tive/negative aspects of the same image. On page 36 of La Jument des Mongols he says nothing counts f o r him i n l i f e but lov e . Unable to accept i t with one woman, he goes i n search night a f t e r night as i f i t were the Holy G r a i l . V i c t o r under- stood Jeremie when he said that under h i s blond, b e a u t i f u l , calm and stable looking e x t e r i o r , Jeremie i s i n r e a l i t y l i k e mercury 'fuyant' and 'nocif* and f u l l of contradictions. Jere- mie often f e e l s he i s l o s i n g himself within himself i n true n a r c i s s i s t i c fashion. When love involvement becomes d i f f i - c u l t , f o r c i n g him to look at others, he avoids f e e l i n g . The one woman he seems to love i n a normal r e l a t i o n s h i p i s des- troyed by the re l a t i o n s h i p he has with Jonathan and J u d i t h . Of the three of them, Jeremie believes he i s the best suited to l i v i n g with a woman, and Armande i s f o r him that woman with her beauty, charm, youth and deceptive gentleness: "nos armes etaient egales et nous prenions tant de p l a i s i r a l a l u t t e " , ^ " ^ i n t h e i r r e l a t i o n s h i p of lov e , hate, and mistrust. Again how- ever the n a r c i s s i s t i c element enters. He was f o r her her youth - 158 - and loves her "d'avoir cru et de c r o i r e que je suis l e pionnier du bonheur". 1 ^ However the i l l u s o r y freedom he gives her i n return for his own i s that of a mare put out to pasture, her l i b e r t y describing a big c i r c l e regulated by the three Mongols. To Judith she i s more l i k e a pet dog on a leash and Judith accuses Jlremie of not loving nor of ever having loved anyone. She accuses Jeremie of keeping h e r s e l f and Jonathan as neces- sary to his health. Yet Jeremie b e l i e v e s , or t r i e s t o , i n h i s l o v e . He claims not to l i k e vague things; even his dreams are concrete and palpable and so f o r him i s love. Jeremie's affir m a t i o n of love also reveals h i s desire f o r domination of others* "Oh! J u d i t h , s i nous pouvions a s s e r v i r l e monde, l e p l i e r a notre volonte, &tre soi-m§me l a puissance, s i je pouvais c e l a , que l e monde s e r a i t beau". 1 ^'-' At times he f e e l s almost god-like. Reaffirming the existence of Love he states that i t must be taken as a. toreador a bull—although he would l i k e to experience i t i n T r i s t a n / I s e u l t fashion. Wishing that he and Armande could be disembodied s p i r i t s pure i n t h e i r l o v e , he yet r e a l i z e s that one "se gr i s e encore plus . . 146 d'idees que de mots" and that having reached the age of t h i r t y , Love i s no longer a b e a u t i f u l young Venus but rather 147 a haggard old witch to be fought and overcome. Jonathan's 148 statement that l i f e should be a tragedy, not with c r i e s and t e a r s , but i n aiming f o r p u r i t y i s r e f l e c t e d i n Jeremie*s de- s i r e f o r a " b e l l e catastrophe" as i n his desire to f e e l r e a l - 159 - s u f f e r i n g , V i c t o r and Judith experiencing the same desire f o r a tragedy to give meaning to t h e i r l i v e s , l i k e the other two he t r i e s to convince himself he i s above the ordinary, one of 149 the three "mages" though admitting he i s the humblest, a it f i l s du s o l e i l " 1 ^ 0 Unlike Armande, who rushes into strangers* arms, he avoids contact with those i n the streets as do Judith and Jona.than, even d i s l i k i n g intruders i n his apartment, be- cause to him what i s his i s l i k e a vestal" temple and the touch of others i s s a c r i l e g i o u s , f o r each of his. possessions "garde en l u i l e feu que j'y a i mis par mes sourires et par mes larmes" He mocks hi s romantic s e l f playing a double game, yet often the games he plays hide forebodings of truth or r e a l i t y as e.g. 152 when he c a l l s his secretary Anne " l e visage de l a mort". Jeremie*s romantic escapes into the past are ones of des- p a i r before the present: "passe, passe, mon doux passe, i l fa.udra.it vivre 3, l ' i m p a r f a i t , ne plus avoir que des tas de 153 souvenirs". Jeremie*s desire to escape sometimes becomes as i t does f o r Jonathan, a wish to be above i t a l l , l i t e r a l l y speaking: "planer longtemps, longtemps au-dessus de l a forme 154 ronde de l a t e r r e " J leaving beneath him Armande and the c i t y of Montreal ugly but, as i t i s to the others, an i n t e g r a l part of his l i f e . The r e a l escape f o r Jeremie, as V i c t o r had noted, i s i n h i s bed, i n h i s a b i l i t y to go to sleep. His bed i s h i s refuge, o b l i v i o n from the present. Sleep to him i s the image of l i f e and not death as i t i s to Jonathan, and i s a form of - 160 - escape as i s the Robbe-Grillet-like contemplation of objects he indulges i n at times of s t r e s s . I n bed he wants things to just go byi "que l e temps passe, que je passe moi-mlme tout doucement sans trop m'en apercevoir pourvu que cela s o i t sans douleur et sans c r i s " . 1 ^ But i n the present r e a l suf- f e r i n g i s there i n the face of Armande framed by the " g l a l e u l " flower of d e a t h 1 ^ with i t s i m p l i c i t poetic reference to "Mai- ls, rme" mentioned by Basile i n the Avertissement (page 8). Not as strong as Jonathan or even Judith i n his romanticism, he i s unable to envisage f a i l u r e . Even when he must f i n a l l y leave hi s room he seeks refuge i n the company of the other two. Together the three form a c l o s e l y - k n i t family, with V i c t o r as t h e i r s p i r i t u a l father, who to Armande and even Jonathan i n -I f O moments of doubt, seems rather "un f i c h u extravagant". There i s no mention of any other r e a l family except a. reference to the death of Judith's father, from which she was curiously kept apart through her mother's desire to spare her pain but which l e f t Judith with feelings of inadequacy and a l i e n a t i o n . What they f e e l themselves aa i n d i v i d u a l s , they transpose onto the other two, again r e i n f o r c i n g t h e i r interdependency. Jeremie, lonely and abandoned a f t e r Armande's departure, thinks of Jonathan as l o n e l i e r than himself and comforts himself with the thought that he can r e l y on Jonathan to sing Armande's praises i n the future also a l l e v i a t i n g his own g u i l t by con- vincing himself that Jonathan w i l l be le s s d e c e i t f u l than he, - 161 - Jeremie, i s , and what Jonathan has to say w i l l be more endur- ing than anything Jeremie can o f f e r . Both Jeremie and Judith are r e l y i n g on Jonathan f o r t h e i r future. I t i s "de l u i que nous t i r e r o n s l e s parfums qui nous 159 rapelleront notre jeunesse". Believing that he w i l l be the most b e a u t i f u l of the three of them i n the future by what he creates, Jeremie and Judith endure a. great deal from the black-humoured Jonathan. There are times when each as an i n d i v i d u a l t r i e s to re- j e c t the other two and become s e l f - s u f f i c i e n t . Jeremie i n his mad gallop through the grounds of McGill University, n a r c i s s i - s t i c a l l y wondering i f he looks crazy, r e j e c t s Jonathan as a 'cancre pretentieux*, Judith as a. 'detraquee nymphomane', Ar- mande as a 'pauvre f i l l e ' and V i c t o r as 'voyeur' into t h e i r very souls.^® Once t h i s r e j e c t i o n desire i s formulated i n his mind, Jeremie t e l l s himself he can l i v e a new l i f e without them, br i n i n g order into the disorder that reigns i n h i s pre- sent l i f e ^ " * " and at the same time "reprendre possession de ma v i l l e " . To t h i s end he returns to his apartment, washes, shaves and cleans himself i n t r u l y symbolic fashion."*-0-^ A l l three have a certain a b i l i t y to see themselves from the e x t e r i o r — s e e i n g themselves e.g. as three statues i n a 164 museum but nevertheless with the conviction that they form an ' e l i t e ' — o n e that ends n e c e s s a r i l y i n death. To t h i s end - 162 - they a l l experience at one time or another the desire to end t h e i r l i v e s . In spite of t h e i r c h i l d - l i k e games of o b l i v i o n t h i s death wish disappears whenever they are faced with the actual r e a l i t y of death. In Les Voyages d'Irkoutsk Jonathan says that his books are "une facon de se tuer" while f o r Judith i t i s " l e s garcons".^'' Their death wish seems rather a desire to escape, to a t t a i n what they cannot i n t h i s l i f e . Judith asks of Jonathan i "Pourquoi tuons-nous toujours ceux qu'on a.ime?" to which Jonathan b i t t e r l y replies« "parce que ceux qui nous aiment ne nous tuent pas a.ssez v i t e " In the threesome, Jonathan i s the late-comer. Having grown up together, Judith and Jeremie have a. s p e c i a l brother s i s t e r r e l a t i o n s h i p . Jeremie does not r e a l l y understand the r e l a t i o n s h i p that exists between Jonathan and Judith, i n t e r - p r e t t i n g i t only as hatred. In Judith, Jerlmie sees what she often attempts to conceal from o t h e r s — h e r s e n s i t i v i t y and romanticism. She tends to make fun of Jeremie's narcissism, but together they both tend to seek i n b a s i c a l l y the same way, some form of meaning i n t h e i r l i v e s , i n p a r t i c u l a r through 'love'. Jeremie t e l l s Judith there are two sorts of beings as f a r as love i s concerned; those who are and those who do and "dans l a determination a forcer l a main du monde, t o i qui f a i s tu ne supportes que ceux qui font, voulant doubler par l a le p o t e n t i e l des v i b r a t i o n s . Mais r e s i s t e r a s - t u a l a violence de cette double rotation?" Yet t h i s tendency on her part - 163 - to s e l f - d e s t r u c t i o n i n matters of love applies equa.lly to him, since he i s completely unable to reconcile his f a i r y - t a l e con- cept of roma.ntic love w i t h - r e a l i t y . Judith and Jeremie wander through the seamier parts of Montreal attempting to ' l i v e ' u n t i l they are exhausted. The old qua.rter with i t s rather sordid n i g h t - l i f e— L a . Main—is 168 what they c a l l t h e i r 'dimension tragique". They go there as they attempt to explain to Jonathan, who cannot understand why they frequent t h i s area, "Parce qu*ainsi nous prenons mieux la. v i l l e aux t r i p e s et que l e s t r i p e s , dans 1*animal, c'est ce q u ' i l y a de plus interessant". Jeremie has chosen Judith over Jonathan when faced with the choice, because he believes Jonathan i s beset with an i n - f e r i o r i t y complex, too tense and nervous, wherea.s Judith re- presents to him everything tender and gentle. When Jeremie wants to a.void the problems posed by Armande, and although at times he does not f e e l comfortable i n the 'dives' Judith f r e - quents, I t i s Judith he chooses as companion. Both of them, seeking i n corruption the f e e l i n g they cannot fin d i n t h e i r l i v e s , r e a l i z e wha.t they want most i s to return to the p u r i t y and goodness of t h e i r childhood, where they would be as Judith says of h e r s e l f "ouverts sur l e monde, en confiance, receptive"- 1 -? 0 and not to enclose themselves i n a protective carapace as Jon- athan has done. In moments of pessimism they decide they are • sa.la'Ud'S''-. .• .• * la-cftes'... '-des' fa:ux" poe-tes, nous-• a f f a-bulores* - 164 - They discuss Love i n general and t h e i r p a r t i c u l a r a f f a i r s , hut as Judith notes, "II faut se mefier desnuits douces et de ses amis. I l s vous t i r e n t du coeur des c r i s et des pleurs qui 172 n'y sont pas, qui n'y sont pas tout 3. f a i t " . Jonathan i s seen through the mind's eye of Jeremie i n La Jument des Mongols, of Judith i n Les Voyages d'Irkoutsk and revealed by himself i n his capacity as narrator i n Le Grand Khan. Jonathan and Jeremie seem at times to be two facets of a multi-facet p e r s o n a l i t y . As Jeremie says "Jonathan sera un peu moi, un moi a qui l a nature a u r a i t accorde quelque don ar- 173 * * t i s t i q u e " .  i J  Without Jeremie*s outer beauty, Jonathan has transcended h i s physica.l s e l f i n the two birds tatooed on his chest. This very act of tatooing, demoniacal i n the Faustian sense, divine i n i t s connotations of r e b i r t h as a higher being, w i l l mark him to h i s grave. Jonathan i s not the romantic J l r e - mie i s , removing himself from the r e a l world. Thus he Jona- than i s more suited to the wr i t i n g of a 'modern* novel. Though he would l i k e to write of the 'cosmos', of great deeds and great men, with the phil o s o p h i c a l outlook of the "nouveau ro- mancier' he r e a l i z e s that i t i s the b a n a l i t i e s of everyday ex- istence that are most r e a l to him. He f e e l s he lacks the imag- in a t i o n necessary to a poet and dreams of t r a v e l l i n g to some f a r - o f f land where there i s s t i l l p u r i t y and perhaps the mater- i a l f o r his creative mind. Like the other two, Jonathan does not believe i n 'outside' - 165 - engagement. He says heroes only bring about catastrophes* and says, l i k e Jeremie, that outer involvement i s "pour se desen- * 174 gager v i s - a - v i s de soi-meme". Jonathan r e a l i z e s that the two others are waiting f o r him to abandon the inner involve- ment he has committed himself to, that of the future novel. Jeremie accuses Jonathan of speaking to say nothing and of using his f i n e theories to j u s t i f y h i s l a z i n e s s , but as long as the p o s s i b i l i t y of the novel e x i s t s , Jeremie does not dare to c a l l Jonathan's b l u f f . Jonathan i s aware of the others' misgivings, but knows they also are dependent on him. He has chosen to write because, as he says, i t i s the most d i f f i c u l t choice f o r him. Just as he desired Armande because he could not have her, so Jonathan l i k e s to have to f i g h t f o r things i n l i f e . He says i t i s harder to be poor, to have to hold out one's hand, and above a l l to close i t , p a r t i c u l a r l y i f one i s as proud as he i s . Jonathan envies Armande and Jeremie t h e i r romantic stor- ies* "Je voudrais aussi vivre au jour l e jour heureux quand i l se peut, malheureux a" mon tour mais f a r c i d'espoir, de tous l e s espoirs et que l a vie me s o i t douce et aimable dans son 175 long et tendre ecoulement". He f e e l s that i f he were r i c h and handsome he probably would not be able to see the r e a l world nor be one of "des £tres de feu dont je suis et dont je - 176 veux etre...", and would lose the 'lumiere' he now has. With the resultant t r i b u n a l following the news of Armande*s pregnancy and the p o s s i b i l i t y of Jonathan being the father, - 166 - Jeremie. r e j e c t i n g the idea of abortion on aesthetic grounds, asks Jonathan why he w i l l not marry Armande. Although he considers her 'bite''1'''''' Jonathan l a t e r g l o r i f i e s her a f t e r her death and thinks he probably even loved her, but a l i v e she i s a r e a l threat to his creative work, and he w i l l not marry her. The goal he has set himself i s all-important, no matter i f i t causes a rupture between himself and the others. Jonathan himself does not l i k e quarrels. He finds " e l l e s nous eprou- vent et nous d i m i n u e n t " , b u t a l l e v i a t e s any g u i l t he has by having the others pass judgement on him. When the death i t s e l f occurs, he blames i t on Armande saying she did not have to do what she did and the reason f o r her doing i t was to have them take notice of her. While she i s dying Jonathan i s the only one of the three to seem r e a l l y aware of the fa c t that she i s dying, but although symbolically avoiding death i n the sulphurous smell of the match, he i s e s s e n t i a l l y a spec- tator of the tragedy. Like a member of an audience experienc- ing the catharsis i n a play, r e a l i t y becomes unreal and he i s able to use the event f o r his own e d i f i c a t i o n . From t h i s point on Armande becomes the representative of t h e i r disappearing youth, and i t i s Jonathan who eulogizes her as suchi "seule comptera sur le^grand l i v r e du temps futur .. _ ta f i d e l i t e a un i d e a l de jeunesse". In Le Grand Khan, Jonathan introduces himself i n his bed, 18 0 "un dr&le de tombe". Sleep f o r him i s not a return to c h i l d - - 16? - hood hut a form a death since, unlike Jeremie, Jonathan l i v e s f a r more i n the r e a l world. This world and Man i n i t he can only regard with cynicism and black humour "quelle blague de 1 ft T se c r o i r e vivant sur une sphere unique" and describes Man in Sarraute/Eessette-type terms "des animalcules dans un bo u i l - 18 2 Ion de culture qui s'appelle 1•existence", going on to des- cribe himself whom he regards as b a s i c a l l y s t o i c " r e p l i e sur moi-me'me comme un calimajon"^-^ e a s i l y i n c l i n e d to fascism by dint of the l i f e he and those i n the same so c i e t y , l i v e . Like Jeremie he too would l i k e to escape "j'aime f u i r , mais j ' i r a i malgre tout lentement"..."je s e r a i , tout est s i l e n c e , l e prince de ma steppe et de ma chambre de l a rue Prince Arthur, l e Grand Khan", but recognizes that h i s domain i s here and now. Silence i s paradise to him and his work becomes "cet antre d'oubli ou ma vie se resorbe en un t r a v a i l j o u r n a l i s t i q u e " Within the work he creates Jonathan w i l l not only give meaning to t h e i r own l i v e s , but also hopes to give to the c i t y they l i v e i n the soul i t l a c k s . The d i f f i c u l t y he has i n be- ginning his work—a d i f f i c u l t y experienced also by V i c t o r with his p a i n t i n g—i s a l l e v i a t e d by his wandering through the c i t y s t r e e t s , which he f e e l s w i l l belong to him when he reigns su- preme through his c r e a t i o n , which he pictures as his own bloody heart l e f t p a l p i t a t i n g i n the hands of his kinsmen. Frustrated by his own i n a b i l i t y to being h i s novel "ce n'est pas s i d i f - f i c i l e , dans l e fond, de s'amuser avec l e s mouettes de son oce- - 168 - 186 ane memoire", he plays games where the imaginary and r e a l coincide. He thinks of other writers, condemning the older conventional French-Canadian writers, wondering i f he himself 187 i s as mad as the young Rejean Ducharme, Nelligan and Rimbaud, and f e e l i n g a f f i n i t y with these l a t t e r . As Ducharme*s writing to Jonathan i s a deeply personal cry so his own work w i l l be 1 0 0 " l e sang de mon encre n o i r " . The p u b l i c a t i o n of h i s book, fo r which he says he w i l l do anything, with the obvious prac- t i c a l benefits which w i l l give him the l i b e r t y he does not have and which i s to him a. necessity, involve a. great s a c r i - f i c e on his part* " E c r i r e pourquoi et pourquoi done payer tout l e p r i x demande par ce Vulcan t e r r i b l e , m'enfermer, moi qui aime l e s f r u i t s , dans un cratere d'un volcan d'acier et de metal, en larve qui me brule, tout s a c r i f i e r et f a i r e de ma. v i e , de Judith et de Jeremie une v i v i s e c t i o n a.mbulante a l o r s q u ' i l s e r a i t a.grea.ble de ne rien dire et de ne r i e n v o u l o i r " . - ^ 9 Desiring escape fervently i n the form of departure, once he a t t a i n s the means to do t h i s , though s t i l l wishing i t , he r e a l i z e s his universe i s the street corner i n the c i t y he i s t i e d to, by a strange bond of love and hate. He regards the c i t y i t s e l f though generally somber, under certa i n l i g h t s as having a. beauty of i t s own. Familiar and yet again at times completely strange "Montreal est toujours ce grand corps qui reste; dans cette l u t t e entre e l l e et moi, i l y a. bien des mo- ve- ments de grace . I t i s at night that the c i t y becomes most a l i v e to him when the rest of his l i f e seems a desert. Torn - 169 - between thoughts of escape the c i t y h e r s e l f with her cold 'nuit nordique* i n which Jonathan f e e l s imprisoned i n spite of the f i l i a l f e e l i n g s that attach him to Montreal, which has ne- ver changed and he fears never w i l l , represents f o r him a place where "du moins je puis m'engloutir et me perdre, objet peut- 1 9 2 , etre foetus dans sa mere". Yet the Montreal he sees i s one seen through his eyes. He recognizes the f a c t that each per- son sees Montreal d i f f e r e n t l y , but fo r a l l i t i s s t i l l an im- 193 mense o p t i c a l i l l u s i o n , distorted according to the eye of the beholder to the point that nothing of the r e a l Montreal e x i s t s . The 'ennui' which i s Jonathan's greatest enemy, he sees r e f l e c t e d i n the buildings of M c G i l l , and yet these b u i l d - ings l i k e Montreal i t s e l f , obsess him "j'entends s i bien leur 194 chanson". He l i k e s to assimilate himself to the things he loves, would l i k e to f l y l i k e a. god over the c i t y , without the c i t y ' s knowledge, to observe her and know her, but he i s too often overcome with cynicism and despair. He sees t h i s c i t y a port without any sea, wrinkled and old before her time l i k e himself, her trees and plants f i g h t i n g bravely f o r a i r i n the asphyxiating dust. "Je ne suis pas encore""*"-^ i s Jonathan's cry re-ochoiing what he f e e l s f o r Montreal, both having exper- ienced too many r e v o l t s , dreams and love without d i r e c t i o n . Torn i n two he says " i l ne faut pas vivre avec moi-meme comme avec moi-meme, autrement enonce; p a r t i r et rester, etre prison- n i e r , s*evader, se construire comme un monde l i n e a i r e et oblique, non pas s'elancer tout d r o i t " 7 He hides himself i n the streets - 170 - of Montreal which i n t h e i r c a r e f u l l y planned order are the opposite of the disorder he l i v e s i n . He regards the people who roam those streets as dying, but finds i t easier to remain with these people than to escape into the fantasy world of the cinema where ha.ving experienced the l i f e on f i l m he must then 197 come out and face the 'rates' of Murray's • and the l i k e . Jonathan f e e l s not only he but Judith and Jeremie are l o s t i n 198 the 'taiga c i t a d i n e ' . As Adolphe, Judith's young lover, says, i t i s the world that i s dispossessed of them, they are not the dispossessed. The solitude Jonathan f e e l s i s not a- round him but inside him, while Montreal i s outside him, v i l i - f i e d but necessary. Jonathan f e e l s l o s t l i k e a c h i l d i n a disneyla.nd f o r a d u l t s , y e t the c i t y and a l l the small people i n i t are part of his l i f e and caught up i n h i s memory. Although he finds V i c t o r ' s advice to l i v e i n one's own time r i d i c u l o u s and redundant—how else can one l i v e — w i t h Mallarme's despair he has nowhere to f l e e to, r e v o l t i s useless, and he would l i k e to explode into the blue of the sky "l'azur, l'azur, l'azur, l'azur". Love f o r Jonathan i s even further away than i t i s f o r Ju- d i t h or Jeremie, both of whose e r o t i c adventures he experiences v i c a r i o u s l y and f o r his own e d i f i c a t i o n . He cannot even explain how he could love the others more than he loves himself. Be- cause he f e e l s himself incapable of grasping the heart of things or people he i s a f r a i d he w i l l end by denying the existence of - 171 - such a thing as a heart. Reflecting also his fear of respon- s i b i l i t y and what i t means to h i s work, he does not l i k e to be loved. The only women he loves are b e a u t i f u l and hence, he f e e l s , unattainable. Once attained he r e j e c t s them as he did with Armande. Although he cannot imagine himself making love to anyone who from years of dissecting bodies sees only excrement i n her fellow beings, h i s r e l a t i o n s h i p with the medical student Adelaide, e x i s t s p a r t l y because i t i s a f a i r l y comfortable r e l a t i o n s h i p , but also because she gives him en- couragement f o r h i s future novel. Like Jeremie, love f o r him has no sex b a r r i e r s . The f e e l i n g s he had f o r V i c t o r , who now seems to him more l i k e a Kellog's cornflakes product, his own masochistic tendencies and the s a d i s t i c joy of the others he i s only now f u l l y aware of. His r e l a t i o n s h i p with Judith i s b a s i c a l l y the same as that of Jeremie'.s--that of childr e n who grew up together and s t i l l p r a c t i s e t h e i r childhood games. Yet l i k e Jeremie he also f e e l s r e g r e t f u l l y that there have never r e a l l y been any moments of true intimacy between them. Not so obsessed by the passing of time and loss of youth, perhaps p a r t l y because what he has i s not p h y s i c a l , neverthe- l e s s i t does torment Jonathan to some extent. The deception he experiences r i s e s more from d i s i l l u s i o n , the f a c t of having "deplaisamment joue un r5le pour rien*,' 2 0 1 and disappointment rather than the fear of change the others f e e l . As he says b i t t e r l y , i f the present i s "d'ores et deja une h i s t o i r e qui s'est passee en vain, r i e n ne me donne 1*impression un matin - 172 - 202 d ' a v o i r p l u s ou moins vecu ardemment dans un a u t r e monde". F e e l i n g t h a t i n the r o l e s they p l a y , the three of them are, so to speak, d e p o s i t a r i e s of a. p a r t of what i s c a l l e d beauty, he n e v e r t h e l e s s , l i k e Jeremie, f e e l s l i f e i s too s h o r t to more than touch on m y s t e r i e s such as t h a t o f beauty. To compensate he t e l l s h i m s e l f " l a p u i s s a n c e e s t l e signe que nous donne * 203 la. v i e pour nous p r e v e n i r que l ' o n e s t en t r a i n de v i e i l l i r " . J u d i t h does not seem to l o v e Jonathan i n the same way she has l o v e d Jeremie and V i c t o r . V i c t o r was i n a c t u a l i t y her f i r s t l o v e r and t h a t a t a v e r y e a r l y age, d i s a p p o i n t i n g l y so, awakening b i t t e r n e s s and c y n i c i s m w i t h i n her. As she says, l a u g h t e r r e p l a c e d tenderness i n her l i f e a t the age o f f o u r t e e n . "Ce q u ' i l y a de p i r e , c ' e s t de d e c o u v r i r l a f a i l l e dans ce qu'on a d m i r e . " 2 0 ^ She and Jonathan p l a y i n t e l l e c t u a l i z e d c h i l d - l i k e games d i r e c t e d a t the o v e r l y mechanized and Americanized c u l t u r e i n which they l i v e . While t h i s c h i l d - l i k e escape from the modern age i s the most important theme i n Rejean Ducharme's n o v e l s , B a s i l e * s c h a r a c t e r s a l s o have a g r e a t d e a l o f the c h i l d about them. Jonathan's and J u d i t h ' s mock b a t t l e r e s u l t i n g i n Jonathan's a r r e s t and subsequent r e a f f i r m a t i o n o f h i s l i b e r t y when r e l e a s e d , r e v e a l t h e i r a b i l i t y to laugh a t themselves and a t t h e i r sentiments. When J u d i t h attempts s u i c i d e and i n s p i t e o f s a y i n g she d i d not c a l l any one person i n p a r t i c u l a r , she telephones Jonathan f o r h e l p , perhaps f e e l i n g Jeremie i s f u r - t h e r away from them than he was b e f o r e h i s marriage. I t i s - 173 - Jonathan too who seems the most concerned f o r Judith i n her r e l a t i o n s with men. Ke warns her of those r e l a t i o n s h i p s he considers useless, but covers his concern with his usual hu- mour. "Je ne tiens pas a*, ce q u ' i l me l a detruise, ma Judith, on ne s a i t jamais, tu vois, tu peux encore s e r v i r et je ne c r o i s pas que l a voie de l a saintete s o i t f a i t e expressement 205 pour ma Judith." B a s i c a l l y the same i n the three books where she i s de- picted as a rather boyish young woman, depressed by her own wealth, d r i v i n g her small car beyond safety l i m i t s , searching f o r a way to be 'a deux' and hoping to f i n d i t i n the rather doubtful young men she picks up, subtle differences of charac- t e r are nevertheless revealed from novel to novel. This i s perhaps due to the f a c t that she i s seen f i r s t through the eyes of Jonathan and Jeremie, then presented by h e r s e l f but also because, l i k e anyone, she tends to adapt to the person she i s with. Thus she seems to r e f l e c t Jeremie*s own narcissism and Jonathan's darkly c y n i c a l despair. In the atmosphere of the sordid nightclubs which she f e e l s should r e v o l t her, she f e e l s very much at home amongst the 'petites gens*. She regards h e r s e l f as a 'devoyee' ' and fears i f she continues i n the way she i s going she w i l l no longer be f i t f o r that which she wants to f i n d most—Love. To her love represents an almost mystical quest, although she recognizes that i f there i s en- chantment, i t i s she who must enchant h e r s e l f . Recognizing that she i s inventing the love she seeks and f i n d s , she asks - 174 - 208 he r s e l f "dans quel but". I t i s not the number of men that counts f o r her "mais l e pr i x paye, l a t r o u v a i l l e , l a rarete 20Q pour l e cout du banal". Again t h i s i s a r e l i g i o u s type quest, a search f o r p u r i t y , and a return to a l o s t youth which i s i n turn a form of escape, even a p o s s i b i l i t y of complete o b l i v i o n and perhaps another form of death" " i l s'agit non pas de se retrouver dans l e s bras d'un garjon, mais de s e n t i r au-dela de son corps quelque chose comme l e monde et s'y per- dre comme on s'egare dans une f o r e t , comme on se noie dans un 210 I t a n g " . The idea of l o s i n g oneself i n the forest i s very romantically Canadian, an escape not only through a romantic death but a.lso into a romantic past. A l l three are attempting to lose themselves through sensation, a r t i s t i c creation or dreams. Love f o r Judith allows her to fi n d her own solitude beyond the mere ph y s i c a l body of the person she i s with as Jeremie finds i t i n h i s 'ether*. Lying to he r s e l f and to others, Judith i s not playing with vice f o r vice's sake. The young men f o r whom she buys drinks think they are s e l l i n g her t h e i r youth and beauty, while she believes a l l she i s buying i s a memory of the past. Like the other two, she also wonders i f she i s not a l i t t l e mad. She r e a l i z e s she always loves the one "qui ne inarche pas". Odious i n p u b l i c , she i s obviously f a r more gentle and sen s i t i v e than she would have others b e l i e v e . She t e l l s Jere- mie i f she had the opportunity she would l i k e to die i n love, - 175 - explaining that at that moment one f e e l s "un d e l i r e , un v e r i - table d e l i r e , une sorte de plenitude, quelque chose de plutot 212 f l o u , imprecis, impalpable" ' with a consequent loss of g u i l t , shame, cares and d e s i r e , transporting one ba.ck into a state ressembling childhood. She l i k e s to see h e r s e l f as a myster- ious and mystical sorceress and i n i t i a t o r into extraordinary r i t e s , although Jonathan sees her more as a. l i t t l e mother, p a r t i c u l a r l y i n her love r e l a t i o n s h i p s . Like Jeremie, she i s a better 'romanciere' than Jonathan i s , because she makes the desert they a l l l i v e i n , habitable with her f e r t i l e imag- i n a t i o n . In her r e l a t i o n s h i p with Adolphe, once Judith admits to h e r s e l f that i t i s over, she reacts by escaping f i r s t i n her playing at being hostess i n the dinner she holds f o r Jonathan's editor-to-be where she dresses and makes up l i k e a f i l m . s t a r , reminiscent of Jeremie's c a r e f u l washing and shaving, and then takes physical f l i g h t to Quebec C i t y where she seeks the love she f e e l s she has l o s t i n the arms of a Montrealais, l i k e her- s e l f , a. stranger to Quebec. (On a previous v i s i t to New York 213 she had had a b r i e f romantic r e l a t i o n s h i p with a Negro, an outsider by his very nature.) Quebec does nothing but add to her depression with i t s smallness and dust. Although at the time of her a f f a i r v/ith him, Adolphe r e - presents to her her l a s t chance of obtaining what she i s search- ing f o r i n t h i s novel, to Jonathan and Jeremie he i s nothing - 176 - more than a vulgar e g o t i s t i c a l c h i l d unable to separate h i s personal torments from h i s p o l i t i c a l a s p i r a t i o n s . In the same way the young 'voyous* Judith frequents, seemingly dangerous, are to J u d i t h , who says one must know how to take them, f a r gentler than other people, she t e l l s Jonathan and Jeremie the only danger i s from h e r s e l f "mon assassinat i n e v i t a b l e , ne se 214 perpetuera que par moi sur moi-milme". The most influenced by her r e l i g i o u s background, she claims she loves everybody, that she knows the meaning of r e a l happiness, that i t can be p e r f e c t , but that i t l a s t s only a second, haunted by the thought of death, and t a l k i n g constantly about s u i c i d e . Love f o r her- i s something immense, she does not f e e l that Jeremie or Jona- than know what i t i s . She recognizes her own s u f f e r i n g i s not caused so much by Adolphe, but by her own conception of Love. In fact- h i s presence prevents her b e l i e v i n g i n eternal l o v e , as does the presence of her other l o v e r s . A l l three of the Basile protagonists are seeking the same elusive element i n t h e i r l i v e s sought f o r by a l l the preceding protagonists, with the exception of Lagarde i n Bessette's L'Incubation, who has l o s t a l l hope and no longer even dreams. In the Basile t r i l o g y the three 'J's* are attempting i n the present to bring meaning to t h e i r l i v e s by c l i n g i n g to a past that no longer e x i s t s , by making of what they found worthwhile i n that past, t h e i r own present separate from the outside world. Beyond themselves they w i l l from time to time attempt to f i n d i n others t h i s same elusive q u a l i t y that haunts them. - 177 - The a l i e n a t i o n depicted by a l l three Quebecois authors i s e i t h e r a c t i v e l y and consciously combatted or merely pas- s i v e l y accepted. The older protagonists of both Bessette's "nouveaux romans" a.ccept t h e i r condition without any r e a l i n - d i c a t i o n of r e v o l t . The d u l l acceptance of the older i n d i v i - duals causes any r e v o l t of the young to seem useless. They ressemble p i t i f u l animals trapped by the i r r e v e r s i b l e press of t h e i r past conditioning. Basile's protagonists on the other hand are constantly torn between t h e i r optimism and b e l i e f i n themselves and t h e i r deception with the alternate r e a l i z a t i o n that f o r them also r e v o l t and evasion are per- haps mere i l l u s i o n . Yet unlike the Bessettian i n d i v i d u a l whose l o s t authentic s e l f i s bound to a past occuring before modern c i v i l i z a t i o n , the B a s i l i a n protagonist finds a uthenti- c i t y and optimism i n his own adolescence as the Ducharme children f i n d i t i n t h e i r childhood. As an extension of t h i s both Basile and.Ducharme regard the childhood and adolescence of t h e i r own country as having had the same a u t h e n t i c i t y . Their l o s t selves are therefore not so completely i r r e t r i e v - able as i s the l o s t authentic s e l f of Bessette. This i s r e - f l e c t e d i n the moderate nationalism of B a s i l e , the f i e r c e r more energetic separatism of Ducharme, while Bessette's cyn- icism allows of no such n a t i o n a l i s t i c sentiment. Rejean Ducharme• Thus the older and wiser, and hence more tr a g i c because of his. defeat, Bessette,' s narrator, has given way to the* matur- - 178 - ing yet youngish i n d i v i d u a l s of Basile who s t i l l hope to find what they are lacking i n the present through reference to t h e i r past. These i n turn are followed by the Ducharme ' c h i l d - ren' with t h e i r t e r r i b l e and at times v i o l e n t attachment to a childhood which to them i s a l l p u r i t y i n comparison to the world of a d u l t s , where a l l can be bought and s o l d . As the B a s i l i a n protagonists' youth i s disappearing under a v e i l of beginning cynicism and despair, so the childhood of the Ducharme c h i l d i s f a s t approaching adolescence and the beginning of adulthood with a l l i t s inherent e v i l s , t h i s childhood seeming to go beyond the mere childhood of the i n d i v i d u a l to a c h i l d - hood of t h e i r culture or indeed of Mankind. With i t s depiction of children brought up i n freezing Quebec winters, i n areas t y p i c a l l y Quebecois, unmistakeably Canadian, these works r e f l e c t the actual i s o l a t i o n f e l t and desired by the protagonists, which i s that of the French Can- adians themselves* "Ayez p i t i e d'un coeur meurtri. Permet- tez-moi d'etre des v o t r e s " . . . " I c i c'est l e Canada"..."C'est comme s i vous m'exiliez de mon propre pays". Symbolically r e f l e c t e d i n t h e i r childhood dwelling places— 2l6 islands or i n L'Oceantume, a boat l i k e that of 'Christophe Colomb' (an old steamer situated on a r i v e r very l i k e the Saint Laurent)—the actual homes they have are vaguely feudal a r i s - t o c r a t i c and at the same time other worldly i n a l l senses. * 217 From the 'abbaye* of Berenice's parents to the abandoned - 179 - steamer of L'Oceantume or the bedroom of M i l l e - M i l l e s and Chateaugue, l a t e r exchanged fo r a strange womb-like and yet also cathedral-like room with no windows, ressembling the win- dowless 'chaufferie' where lode's brother also seeks escape from the world,, these places are a l l self-contained worlds, inhabited by a minority group i n the society they l i v e i n . Theirs i s the tragedy of the French Canadians. I r o n i c a l l y they f e e l themselves 'etranger' i n t h e i r own land. M i l l e - M i l l e s working i n a Greek restaurant f e e l s himself more a foreigner than do those Greeks who have invaded his country. The German Jew Einberg with his P o l i s h Catholic wife, Chateau- gue/lviguvic, Eskimo i n r e a l i t y or not, and her soulbrother M i l l e - M i l l e s , lode Ssouvie and her Cretan family (with the i n - herent idea of Cretan pride) together with her pale blonde fr i e n d Asie Azothe and her brothers from Finland, are a l l as foreign to the people who l i v e around them as i s Quebec to the rest of Canada or to the United States. There i s however a double lack of i d e n t i t y , the second occuring within t h e i r own f a m i l i e s where t h e i r own solitude i s never apparent, t h e i r parents not recognizing t h e i r c h i l d - ren's torments and f e e l i n g s of not being loved as they would l i k e to be. In Berenice's s i t u a t i o n the family i s t o t a l l y divided by the parents, although the children do not want t h i s d i v i s i o n . I f f o r some reason, the Ducharme children leave t h e i r families and go elsewhere they remain outsiders i n the new s i t u a t i o n . When Berenice i s sent to a c i t y by her - 180 - father, she i s overcome with i t s immensity creating i n her feelin g s of 'angoisse* and weariness. Staying with her Jewish cousins she i s s t i l l the outsider, with her young friend Con- stance Chlore, r e a l or imaginary, as her sole comfort. (The h e l l of the c i t y and i t s depraved adults i s depicted again i n Le Nez qui vogue.) Even when she goes to I s r a e l , since she i s a Jewess, where she should f e e l she has her country and, i n f a c t , b r i e f l y imagines she does, there i s only deception at r e a l i z i n g that even there she i s considered an "Stranger", j u s t as lode finds that those i n the asylum where she i s sent are just as a l i e n to her. The only place that could r e a l l y o f f e r these l o s t children a home i s t h e i r mother's womb. As f o r the c i t y , t o t a l l y a l i e n a t i n g to these children, t h e i r reaction against i t i s also one against the age they l i v e i n , "en ce s i e c l e p o u r r i , en cette societe galeuse, on ne peut pas se permettre d*avoir l a bouche noire sans se 213 f a i r e remarquer", and against the moral as well as physi- c a l p o l l u t i o n surrounding them. But above a l l i t i s against the 'others', * l a M i l l i a r d e ' who " t r a i t e n t comme des chiens ceux qui cessent d'Stre f i d e l e s commes des chiens. Au fond, i l s dedaignent ceux qui se donnent a\ eux"..."Ils n'ont de respect que pour ceux qui arrachent, qui les t r a i t e n t comme 219 des chiens". The protagonists wish only to be hated and feared by these adults whom they despise and t h e i r society of 'adulterie' with the aging, death, solitudeand 'nlant' which - 181 - accompanies i t . These others a l l have the same faces, anony- mous and r e p u l s i v e . They represent the pure 'vacherie', and they wish to destroy those who r e a l l y l i v e , knowing these l a t - t e r hate them and what they have done. "En prenant sa v i e , on prend toute l a v i e , que quelqu'un qui f u i t avec sa v i e , 220 f u i t en meme temps avec l a vie de tous les autres." Adults are s o f t and weak, and f u l l of hatred f o r those who are not l i k e them—the young c h i l d r e n , strong and hard. Children must avoid being contaminated by them, and avoid playing t h e i r dishonorable games. These adults have b u i l t c i t i e s to give themselves roots and e t e r n i t y , but these c i t i e s outlast them as i n d i v i d u a l s . However as these Ducharme children gradually approach adulthood themselves, they begin to r e a l i z e that i t i s not so much that they are against adults but against the mediocrity represented by the majority of a d u l t s , symbolized i n t h e i r eternal expression of boredom. The r e f u s a l of the banal adult world, and the desire to be hated by t h i s world, i s also a r e f u s a l to be taught anything by i t . This i s brought out i n the attitudes the Ducharme pro- tagonists show to the schools they are sent t o , where a l l that i s b e a u t i f u l becomes corrupted. Even the poetry of Emile N e l l i g a n , who appeals to these protagonists as an expression of t h e i r own f e e l i n g s , i s corrupted. The school also repre- sents the plagiarism and r e p e t i t i o n so despised by the pro- tagonists, who recognize the i n a b i l i t y to think of those who p r a c t i s e t h i s form of l e a r n i n g . Repetition i t s e l f i s seen - 182 - as an end to innocence and o r i g i n a l i t y . It i s i n f a c t a form of death, an i n d i c a t i o n of approaching adulthood. Slowness and patience are other adult t r a i t s looked down upon, together with l y i n g , d e c e i t , and attempts at showing oneself to be better than others. The extreme of corrupted adults i s found, as i n Sarraute's novels, i n the o l d , faced with aging and f i n a l involuntary death. These old people i n s p i r e absolute horror i n the Ducharme c h i l d r e n . Again i t i s the fac t that they force children to see what death i s , as did the Sarrautian •vieux' that makes them so e v i l . To the Ducharme c h i l d , mur- der i s not the most criminal a c t , but the taking away of the in d i v i d u a l ' s l i b e r t y , i n t e l l i g e n c e , and a l l o c a t i n g to the i n d i v i d u a l a pertinent part of the earth decided upon by ad u l t s . These c h i l d r e n , symbolic i n t h e i r childhood and desire to r e t a i n t h e i r own p u r i t y , are ageless i n t h e i r wisdom and knowledge. They are part of "une certaine enfance, tragique- ment p r i v i l i g i l e , et toute entiere ou non soumise au pouvoir 221 occulte de l a F o l l e du Logis". The r e a l i t y they e x i s t i n i s "comme s i e l l e s r i v a i e n t et a r i v e r comme s i e l l e s vivaient"? They are constantly torn between opposing needs, best expressed i n the term of 'avalement' (act of swallowing or of being swal- lowed) or of su f f o c a t i o n . In order not to s u f f e r , not to be •avale', the r e a l world must be transformed. By reducing the actual world to zero, with the only world being that i n one's head, there i s nothing but there i s also everything, and they - 183 - are the ones i n co n t r o l . The outside world seems to suffocate them, producing i n them a. fear of becoming emeshed i n the same trap adults are caught i n . This f e e l i n g of being swal- lowed up by the world and by others i s necessary to the pro- tagonist to b u i l d up t h e i r strength* "J'aime que l a vie me deborde, m'investisse, me prenne jusqu'2- la. suffocation. Je veux une m i l l i a r d e , un monde o f f e n s i f , a g r e s s i f , mechant; je rendrai l e monde t e l s ' i l ne l ' e s t pas. Je ne veux pas d'une ambiance"..."ou je m'etiolerais de f a c i l i t e , de tiedeur, d'en- 223 n u i " . Sometimes to avoid t h i s i n d i f f e r e n c e the protagon- i s t s w i l l go so f a r as to impose f e e l i n g s on things where there i s i n r e a l i t y nothing. What they must do i s become vast enough to swallow everything. Being s o f t and gentle i s no good. Do- ing something i s the only answer. Their major comba.t i s one against the f e e l i n g of tender- ness eit h e r i n themselves or i n others towards them. The need f o r others, whether they be mother, brother, s o u l - s i s t e r or other, i s constantly opposed to t h e i r desire f o r freedom, and yet i t i s through love alone that they r e a l l y can f e e l . This love i s based on a mutual r e l a t i o n s h i p , often sadomaso- c h i s t i c , but above a l l r e f l e c t i n g the desire f o r close commun- i c a t i o n with another. I t i s tinged with a despair at the con- v i c t i o n that these others can r e a l l y do nothing to d i s p e l the solitude of the protagonist. The physical desire can be sat- i s f i e d but t h e i r actual s o l i t u d e ' i s such that they arouse the - 184 - hatred of others, even t h e i r own brothers'. Eyes shut, one i s most aware of one's own solitude. In an almost t r a g i c at- tempt at s e l f - s e c u r i t y , Berenice affirms her solitude to be her palace, f e e l i n g h e r s e l f exiled when she i s with others and f e e l s she should destroy these others f o r her own peace of mind. "Mon 24 p a l a i s est trop f r a g i l e pour que je puisse y recevoir des amis". Recognizing her f e a r s — o n e of which i s that of s o l i t u d e — s h e r e a l i z e s that she must conquer them since that i s the only way to be alone with them. She f e e l s that those who approach her usually want something from her. She needs nothing from others or i f by/ any chance she does, she resolves to tear i t from them and smile i n t h e i r faces a f t e r taking i t . She believes her father regards her as a possession to be used against her mother. Like the Nathalie Sarraute adults with children, he holds t i g h t l y onto her hand as he takes her to the synagogue. To Berenice, her mother 5, s l i k e a beauti- f u l flower or b u t t e r f l y , working on Berenice and causing her despair, since she does not want to be swallowed by anything and r e a l i z e s her mother i s capa.ble of reaching her l o n e l i n e s s . Berenice hates needing anyone and the best way of avoiding t h i s i s to s t r i k e everyone from her l i f e . Like the 3 a s i l i a n protagonists she wishes to f l y so high above others that she can reach into the 'azur'. Although she does not want to suf- f e r , she considers i t necessary i n order to learn how not to suf- f e r . She wants to take others as i f i n a ba t t l e that must be won. - 185 - The only way not to suffer i s by not knowing p e o p l e — o n l y t h e i r faces. She needs hatred. I t refreshes her cert a i n t y that she commands the whole of creation, no matter how ugly she i s . She can make the darkness any colour she l i k e s . Sometimes, though she would prefer to hate someone, she finds she can neither hate nor l i k e t h i s person. She does not leave h e r s e l f open to contact, since once open l i k e a crack the op- ening can widen. However, her actual s u f f e r i n g i s t w o f o l d — s u f f e r i n g because others hurt her, or because they have no ef f e c t on her. I f the l a t t e r happens she f e e l s she has pro- bably made a. mistake h e r s e l f i n her judgement of them. Most of those whom the protagonists love have a double e f f e c t on the protagonists, leaving them at times supremely i n d i f f e r e n t to them as M i l l e - M i l l e s i s to Chateaugue, o r — p a r t i c u l a r l y i n the absence of those they l o v e — s u f f e r i n g i n t h e i r love f o r them. They need to have others submit to them, a f t e r a l l what human does not prefer to dominate rather than be domina- ted, but how many dare? Also i f one i s alone one i s not forced to see oneself through others' eyes. What Berenice f e e l s she fe e l s alone. She i s most alone a f t e r the death of Constance Chlore, f e e l i n g i t would be a. betrayal to l e t anyone else into her heart. In Le Nez qui vogue, M i l l e - M i l l e s f i n a l l y does equivocate while Chateaugue refuses. He a l t e r n a t e l y desires Chateaugue's presence and i s bored by her. His need f o r others he translates into a sexual desire which he rej e c t s just as strongly f e e l i n g i t to be a loss of pu r i t y . The pec u l i a r at- - 186 - t r a c t i o n , tinged at times with r e v u l s i o n , that he f e e l s f o r the matronly Questa seems to him vaguely incestuous. Questa c a l l s M i l l e - M i l l e s 'Chimo', Eskimo f o r 'are you f r i e n d l y ' , i s to him sometimes l i k e a s i s t e r , despite t h e i r age d i f f e r - ence, and he finds i t easier to he with her than with Chateau- gue, since he f e e l s he can more e a s i l y be himself. As with the other 'mother' figures of the Ducharme novel i t seems God made her grow old to stop her laughter. She, l i k e the others, ressembles an older version of the young protagonists. Like M i l l e - M i l l e ' s love f o r Questa, that of Berenice for her mother has strongly sexual overtones. Yet they r e j e c t these mothers by refusing to believe that they owe t h e i r b i r t h to anyone other than themselves. Again t h i s r e j e c t i o n of the mother i s a reaction to t h e i r own feel i n g s of being r e j e c t e d . The f a - thers on the other hand i n s p i r e no such f e e l i n g s . lode's father's name, l i k e that of most of the Ducharme characters, expresses h i s personality—Van der Laine. Rejected by t h e i r mothers, the Ducharme children v o l u n t a r i l y become orphans, lode, f e e l i n g her mother blames her and her brother f o r t h e i r s i s t e r ' s death, r e j e c t s her mother and becomes a mother to her brother who has, as a r e s u l t of his mothers r e j e c t i o n , lapsed into madness. Their mother's love has turned to hatred, her hope to despair, she i s l i k e her name "Ina Ssouvie". Berenice's hatred/love for her mother i s based on the b e l i e f that she i s a mere pawn to her parents. A l l her mother - 187 - figures are i n turn actual orphans, whether i t be Berenice's P o l i s h mother 'saved' by her father when a mere c h i l d , or a mother figure such as Faire-Fa.ire Desmains i n L* Ocean turn e whom lode meets when she i s sent to the asylum. Like the oth- er mother figures she i s constantly affirming the f a c t that she i s desired by one and a l l . In the r e l a t i o n s h i p the two e s t a b l i s h as i n the r e l a t i o n s h i p s of a l l the Ducharme protag- o n i s t s , there are hints of lesbianism. lode's own cry i s echoed i n the words of Faire-Faire* "Un jour, moi, je serai emerveillee jusqu'a l a panique, ce j o u r - l a , je t i r e r a i , t u e r a i , me rendrai c r i m i n e l l e aux yeux des autres hommes. J'attends 225 ce jour depuis toujours". Fa i r e - F a i r e t e l l s lode that she, F a i r e - F a i r e , i s a. c h i l d once and f o r a l l and that she recog- nizes no-one's r i g h t to t e l l her what to do. She says that when one declare's war on a l l the others, one has a l l the r i g h t s . Though others might k i l l her they w i l l not conquer her. She owes them nothing. She i s a parasite i n t h e i r i n t e s t i n e s . She takes lode with her on a t r i p to France, whether r e a l or ima- gined -is of no importance. Berenice's mother trav e l s around the world i n a s i m i l a r attempt to gain possession of her son. Although lode i s very unsure of what Faire-Faire wants of her she does suspect her, guessing the former wants lode to love her, attempting to gain t h i s love through s e l f - s a c r i f i c e i n a society with a r e l i g i o n based on love and the s a c r i f i c i n g of s e l f . Berenice's mother i s l i k e a b i r d to her. She does not - 188 - believe her mother has enough room i n her heart to love her c h i l d . Whereas when younger she used to seek her mother's love, she decides to completely r e j e c t i t . The Siamese cats so b r u t a l l y k i l l e d by Berenice, as lode k i l l s a cat given her by a teacher seeking her a f f e c t i o n , seem to symbolize her mother to her. They only come when they want to and other- wise ignore her. She bestows the name Chamomor on her mother as an open declaration of war arid r e c i p r o c a l r e j e c t i o n . Her mother's eyes seem to her l i k e those of a haggard f a l c o n . She i s l i k e an empty house where no-one l i v e s anymore. Like lode's mother and Questa, Chamomor loses h e r s e l f i n a l c o h o l , yet t h e i r escape, actual or not, from r e a l i t y i s admired by t h e i r c h i l d r e n , who look upon them as soul-mates at these moments. Although Berenice says she hates her mother, she i s fascinated by her as i f by a. b i r d , and she i s aware of her own desire to imitate her mother but f e e l s t h i s i s a charm to be broken. These women, l i k e the female Robbe-Grillet protagonists, seem to only belong i n part to t h i s world. As Berenice says to her mother "on d i r a i t qu'elle passe a i l l e u r s , qu'elle se pr*p —• p p/T mene dans un autre s i e c l e " seeing her as part of a roman- t i c , c h i v a l r i c past, rather than i n the age of machines. She believes i n a romantic love which i s obviously not the kind she l i v e s . Berenice i s a f r a i d her mother w i l l enflame her soul l i k e a powerful sun as she has done to C h r i s t i a n . Bere- nice i s a f r a i d to appear weak before her. More proud than her mother, Berenice knows her mother c r i e s often and believes - 189 - does not have to cry i f one does not want to. At her t h i r - t i e t h birthday, Chamomor seems "une proie f a i t e pour l a 227 mort" with nowhere to go. Both children and mothers have the same desire to domi- nate. The children would l i k e t h e i r mothers a l l to themselves. Berenice accuses her mother of being an e g o t i s t i c a l s o l i t a r y black jungle cat, deaf and blind to others with only h e r s e l f f o r love, reason and pride. Chamomor regards her daughter as a grimacing, ugly and bad-tempered l i t t l e monkey. The pro- tagonists do regard themselves as ugly, and t h e i r mothers as b e a u t i f u l , blond aquatic-eyed beings r e f l e c t e d i n miniature i n the s p e c i a l pale young friends of the protagonists. Bere- nice f e e l s her mother i s merely playing at loving her. When Chamomor reachers out her hand to Berenice i t i s palm down. Yet when she f e e l s she has her mother's love she i s a f r a i d to sleep, l e s t she awake to the dullness of her former existence. She w i l l suddenly turn the love she f e e l s f o r her mother to hatred when she thinks she i s being used by the l a t t e r to im- press friends and as a weapon against her father. Later, when Chamomor i s sick and Berenice i s forced to go and see her, she does not want to, since she does not want to see her ugly. To t h e i r husbands a l l these women are unbalanced, not adapted to the world they l i v e i n . When she i s near Chamomor, Berenice f e e l s close to tears and believes i f she allows h e r s e l f to l i s t e n to her mother she w i l l be conquered, which would be - 190 - death to a l l her resolutions. Berenice t e l l s her neither she nor C h r i s t i a n need her f o r anything, f o r c i n g the mother to ask what use she i s , and i n her despair she reminds Berenice of a dog who has l o s t a f i g h t . Berlnice i s constantly suppressing the desire to embrace her mother. Anything that turns her from "the resolutions she has taken i s rejected. I f she had her way she would forbid anything that amounts to l e t t i n g h e r s e l f go — dreams, orgasms—since t h i s i s a way to being conquered. The search f o r a sister/brother soul covers an undercur- rent of sexuality. F i r s t the search i s concentrated on r e a l blood-brothers on the part of Berenice and lode. When these prove unsatisfactory, they turn elsewhere. They are hoping to f i n d the company they need, i n t h e i r self-imposed so l i t u d e , i n these companions. The brothers of lode and Berenice have too many tendencies to mediocrity, to becoming part of ' l a m i l l i a r d e ' so despised by the protagonists. Their shallowness i s indicated by t h e i r devotion to the purely physical world of competitive sports. To begin with, though, these brothers show signs of q u a l i t i e s that endear them to t h e i r s i s t e r s . C h r i s t i a n ' s gentleness with insects and animals disarms Bere- nice. She would l i k e to own him completely. As i s the case with a l l the protagonists as regards those they love, she i s a l t e r n a t e l y torn by the desire to be with him and deception when he i s there. The sadomasochistic r e l a t i o n s h i p she has with her brother with i t s p h y s i c a l displays of violence, i s seen again i n her re l a t i o n s h i p with Graham Rosenkreutz, the - 191 - only one i n the kibbutz i n I s r a e l to recognize her need f o r others and the s e n s i t i v i t y he says i s l i k e h i s own. She only wants d i f f i c u l t r e l a t i o n s h i p s . She would l i k e C h r i s t i a n to despise her so that her f i n a l v i c t o r y i n winning him would be more complete. Although the childhood they spend together on the i s l a n d i s i d y l l i c i n i t s enchantment, Berenice, as does lode, suffers v i o l e n t l y from jealousy. The b e a u t i f u l and exotic Hingrelie who conquers her brother's heart i n the same way as Asie Azothe does that of lode's, seems heartless to Ber- enice who sees i n her a being of a. superior race, l i k e her own mother, where the rule i s "du Regne des p a p i l l o n s , des a.rbres 228 et des e t o i l e s , du regne du beau". Christian's abasement of himself before Mingrelie angers Berenice who considers him without pride, a coward, sof t , inconsistent and a born parasite of those stronger than himself. On the other hand Berenice i s waiting u n t i l she becomes strong, f o r she wants to possess her own human being, and that human i s C h r i s t i a n . The most d i f - f i c u l t thing to do i s to 'have* another human. Although the i d e a l would obviously be to have a. savage beauty such as Min- g r e l i e , such beings are not to be had, so Berenice w i l l con- tent h e r s e l f with one l i k e C h r i s t i a n or Constance Chlore. A l - though they are not that much they are better than a dog or a monkey. Once again she has managed to turn her own need into a d e l i b e r a t e l y necessary conquest to be made. When C h r i s t i a n i s defeated,' Berenice loves him even more - 192 - i n his need. She i s w i l l i n g to be the person he needs when no- one else i s . As i s the case with lode, Berenice wants her bro- ther to run away with her. In Le Nez qui vogue, the r e l a t i o n - ship i s reversed, seen from the 'brother's' point of view. Like Chateaugue in t h i s novel, Berenice wears a white pseudo-wedding dress for her brother. Like the other protagonists she fe e l s her brother neither understands her nor wants t o , when she t e l l s him they have the power to do anything they l i k e "Tout prendre, nous s a i s i r de tout. Tout nous a p p a r t i e n t » i l suf- 229 f i t de le croire"..."Nous volerons et tuerons" and there i s no reason to wait. Even though she thinks of herself as a mere g i r l , Berenice f e e l s she has more heart than her bro- ther. When Ch r i s t i a n goes through a r e l i g i o u s c r i s i s brought about by his relatio n s h i p with Mingrelie, Berenice regards his whole performance as r i d i c u l o u s . She tends to de l i b e r a t e - l y antagonize her parents i n the sexual games she plays with C h r i s t i a n , but even C h r i s t i a n i s unaware of her re a l motiva- tions and begins to fear her. He knows she i s not completely natural and r e a l i z e s she i s forcing herself to love him. As time goes by, Berenice loses more and more respect for C h r i s - t i a n . She regards him as a dog of whom one can make what one l i k e s , although at the same time since he i s her brother, she cannot abandon her love f o r him " l e mot frere est le plus beau 230 mot du monde ' and what she desires above a l l else i n the world i s to be his s i s t e r . Sent away f i n a l l y f i r s t to New York and then to I s r a e l and adulthood she w i l l f e e l great nos- - 193 - t a l g i a f o r her home and Canada, as lode and M i l l e - M i l l e s f e e l l o s t i n the a l i e n c i t i e s they are exiled t o. In Le Nez qui vogue, i t i s the f r a i l young blonde Chat- eaugue who seems the more sincere of the two i n her desire to keep her childhood p u r i t y — i f i t i s not merely s t u p i d i t y on her part as M i l l e - M i l l e s suggests. Cheateaugue i s an orphan as are the other f r a i l blonde children loved by the protag- o n i s t s . Like Berenice, when younger, i n the country where they used to l i v e , f a r from the corruption of the c i t y where M i l l e - M i l l e s has led her as Berenice led Constance Chlore, Chateau- gue used to follow M i l l e - M i l l e s around l i k e a small dog, tak- ing every abuse and o f f e r i n g everything f o r h i s a f f e c t i o n . To her death i s nothing because, as M i l l e - M i l l e s would l i k e to b e l i e v e , she i s l i k e a c h i l d playing with a toy. Yet both she and the younger Berenice of the island do seem aware of what death r e a l l y i s . As Berenice says "Pour a v o i r envie de 231 mourir, i l faut s e n t i r qu'on v i t " . I t i s Chateaugue who invents f o r the two of them the word 'Tate' and i n s i s t s they paint t h e i r mouths black, designating themselves as outcasts, whereas M i l l e - M i l l e s i s aware he i s cheating at staying young and does not know i f Chateaugue i s or not. The sometimes a l - most psychic r e l a t i o n s h i p they have i s doomed, i n part through M i l l e - M i l l e ' s own despair. Whereas to him Chateaugue i s a l l p u r i t y , he f e e l s himself s o i l e d . Sex i n t e r e s t s him so that he cannot stop thinking of i t , and, masturbating, he despises - 194 - h i m s e l f , l o o k i n g upon h i m s e l f as u g l y and c o r r u p t , w h i l e Chat- eaugue i s a l l p a l e n e s s and in n o c e n c e l i k e a young 'communicante'. When she wants t o m u t i l a t e h er f a c e w i t h a r a z o r t o show her contempt f o r the a d u l t w o r l d (compare l o d e ' s and B e r e n i c e ' s c a r e l e s s n e s s o f p h y s i c a l d i s f i g u r a t i o n when young), M i l l e - M i l l e s w i l l n o t p e r m i t i t . He says anyone can d i e u g l y and o l d but t h e y must d i e b e a u t i f u l and young. Wanting t o make t h e i r death e x t r a o r d i n a r y , he d e c i d e s t h e y must have t h e i r own w o r l d f o r s u i c i d e , * b r a n l e b a s s e r 1 . I t i s Chateaugue who r e - minds him t h a t t h e y can be k i n g s and m a s t e r s . Brought up i n a. c o n v e n t , under much t h e same c o n d i t i o n s as A n t i n e a i n Bes- s e t t e ' s L' I n c u b a t i o n , she i s s t u b b o r n and p r o u d . She performed i n c r e d i b l e f e a t s t o prove h e r c a p a b i l i t i e s i n comparison w i t h h e r e l d e r s . A l t h o u g h M i l l e - M i l l e s h a t e s a l l p e o p l e who t o him a r e ' p o u r r i s ' , he r e c o g n i z e s t h e r e i s an e l i t e , " l e s c h a s t e s , 232 l e s doux, l e s v r a i s o r g u e i l l e u x " J o f wh i c h Chateaugue i s a member. He t h e r e f o r e f e e l s she does n o t r e a l l y see him, s i n c e she i s p a r t o f a n o t h e r w o r l d . Y et Chateaugue i s t i m i d i n the way A s i e A z o t h e and Constance C h l o r e a r e , a f r a i d o f u g l i n e s s and c o r r u p t i o n . F o r t h i s r e a s o n , M i l l e - M i l l e s f e e l s i f she were a b l e t o see h i s r e a l f a c e she would be f r i g h t e n e d . He t e l l s h e r i n h i s mind t o be c o n t e n t e d w i t h him, s i m p l y b e i n g h i s s i s t e r , n o t b e l o n g i n g t o him, as B e r e n i c e and l o d e w i s h t o b e l o n g c o m p l e t e l y t o tho s e t h e y l o v e . I n L'Oceantume the p r o t a g o n i s t c o n s t a n t l y a t t a c k s the - 195 - f r a i l young Asie Azothe, who though obviously weak and t i r e d seems i n v i n c i b l e . lode w i l l f i n a l l y stop hurting her, rec- ognizing i n her "quelque chose d'aussi t e r r i b l e que moi-m§me" ..."Je suis vaincue, et je me l a i s s e envahir de c u r i o s i t e et de d e s i r " . 2 - ^ The friendship between the two w i l l be essen- t i a l l y the same as that between Berenice and Constance Chlore, and M i l l e - M i l l e s and Chateaugue. Like the other two protag- onists, lode i s also torn by jealousy, i n thi s instance of the friendship between her mad brother and Asie Azothe. lode wants both her brother and Asie Azothe to need only her. She t e l l s Asie Azothe that Inachos i s her brother, and that she i s the only one who can understand him. As Berenice said of Chris- 234 t i a n "C'est moi sa femme et l a mSre de ses enfants", J accus- ing a l l of t r y i n g to take him from her. She a c t u a l l y prefers him weak, helpless and mad as Berenice preferred C h r i s t i a n de- feated. Torn by c o n f l i c t i n g emotions as are Berenice and M i l l e - M i l l e s , she cannot understand her own wickedness and fury. "Pourquoi f a u t - i l que je haJsse tant? Pourquoi ces envies de vengeance, de f a i r e mal, que j'a i ? De qui, de quoi de quel crime f a u t - i l que je me venge s ' i l faut pour ne pas devenir f o l l e que je me venge? 2-^ As did Berenice, Iocfe af- firms her r i g h t to take rather than simply do, but l i k e the others she cannot do i t alone. The oxen they help seem to symbolize the whole essence of the wild domain beyond Man. A l ' though Asie Azothe i s naively pleased when the oxen follow them, lode r e a l i z e s that they follow them simply because they - 196 - r e a l l y mean nothing to the oxen, and cannot harm them. The destruction of the oxen by Man seems again a death of inno- cence and p u r i t y . lode's r e l a t i o n s h i p to Asie Azothe i s s i m i l a r to the re- lat i o n s h i p s of the other protagonists i n that sometimes she refuses Asie Azothe's presence i n order to once again a f f i r m her own solitude. When her frie n d i s with her she becomes l i k e lode and i s against a l l the others. When Asie Azothe i s not with her, lode suffers from her absence, and yet d e l i - berately r e s t r a i n s her emotions i n her presence. They too have an almost 'psychic' r e l a t i o n s h i p "Asie Azothe repand elle-meme, et, comme la. lumilre du s o l e i l , cela emplit l e c i e l , baigne tout, entre par ma bouche, mes yeux, toute ma peau. Etre avec e l l e , c'est etre dans quelque chose". Asie Azothe l i v e s through lode. Whatever she says or invents f o r her becomes truth and the r e a l world. To lode she i s her 217 f a t a l ( i n the Greek sense) s i s t e r 'soeur f i l a n d i e r e ' and yet though she would l i k e to believe i n t h i s ultimate joy, lode i s unable to escape her cynicism. Her desire f o r s o l i - tude i s constantly opposed to her feel i n g s f o r Asie Azothe. Like Berenice with Constance Chlore and C h r i s t i a n , lode f e e l s that there i s something lacking i n Asie Azothe* "II n'y a pas en Asie Azothe, comme en moi, des roues qui tournent dans l e vide et qui sont f a i t e s pour s'engrener au s o l des sentiers non battus. Qu'elles me font s o u f f r i r ces he l i c e s que j ' a i - 19? - qui ne font pas avancer des bateaux! Je suis une locomotive enterree v i v a n t e " . 2 - ^ Asie Azothe t e l l s lode not to be sad, that i t i s easy to be happy, as M i l l e - M i l l e s t r i e d to explain joy to Chateaugue. She t e l l s lode i t i s easy to obey one's destiny. When Asie Azothe i s away at camp she writes l e t t e r s to lode which the l a t t e r finds obscene because lode i s g i v i n g too much of h e r s e l f to others. lode f e e l s she must go and rescue her f r i e n d , since there are too many others i n Asie Azothe's heart now and lode i s a f r a i d she i s not big enough f o r her now even though Asie Azothe seems to be as lonely as she, lode, i s . Her joy at t h e i r reunion turns again to cynicism, when she questions how Asie Azothe can possibly love anyone as ugly as her. At the same time she questions any d e f i n i t i o n of u g l i - ness, putting i t down as a lack of generosity on the part of the definer. Returning home from the camp, i n the fo r e s t s , they f e e l a l l hatred leaving them as i f i n a pure communion of being with Nature. Doubt i s however always present f o r the tormented lode. As Berenice says, they both need t e r r i b l y to believe i n some- thing, to have a path to follow. Yet they f e e l t h e i r doubt i s f a r superior to the complete assurance of those who r e a l l y cannot see. A l l the protagonists r e j e c t such people completely, sometimes going so f a r , as does Berenice with her uncle, Zio, as to w i l l them out of existence, going; beyond the stage of - 198 - active r e v o l t into one where they believe these others have no power. Unlike a d u l t s , children according to Ducharme, as well as those few adults who r e a l l y see, accept an idea and i t s opposite as soon as i t occurs. Most ' c i v i l i z e d ' people make a choice, r e v o l t i n g against one or the other of these ideas, thus l i m i t i n g themselves and t h e i r minds. These c h i l d - ren on the other hand prefer to follow the truth u n t i l i t destroys them, not wanting to accept compromises of s e c u r i t y . Understanding everything necessitates a great deal of b l i n d - ness, since the stronger one idea i s so i s i t s opposite. In the same way the desires to l i v e and die are equally strong, hence the constant tendency to suicide and destruction. Even though i t i s d i f f i c u l t to understand anything the important thing i s to try t o . "Qu'importe s i on ne comprend pas pour- quoi on v i t , pourquoi on passe son temps a s o u f f r i r et a 239 s'ennuyer." The confusion and inconsistency of t h e i r own minds i s what i s most d i f f i c u l t f o r them, M i l l e - M i l l e s expresses the thought that he would l i k e to be l i k e Sherlock Holmes "de tout comprendre, de pouvoir embrasser, d'un seul regard de son i n t e l l i g e n c e , toute l'etendue du probleme. Pour compren- 240 dre tout a f a i t une seule chose, i l faut tout comprendre", or, as he says l a t e r , he would l i k e to be l i k e Joan of Arc, with the inherent contempt expressed also by Jeremie i n Ba- s i l e ' s Le Jument des Mongols f o r the Saint's form of s e l f - a s s - - 199 - u r a n c e . "Je n ' a i pas de tac h e a r e m p l i r ; d i s - m o i que j ' e n a i une. Je ne possede r i e n de ce q u ' i l f a u e r a i t qu'un homme pos- s5de." Joan o f A r c w i t h h e r ' t r u t h ' f e l t h e r s e l f c a p a b l e o f p a s s i n g judgement. W i t h the d u t y g i v e n h e r she was a b l e t o be a s o l d i e r . W ith God she had ' l e d r o i t ' . M i l l e - M i l l e s has n o t h i n g . She had e v e r y t h i n g . Here t h e r e i s n o t h i n g . "Les a u t r e s v o i x s o n t t r o p o b s c u r e s p o u r qu'on p u i s s e y o b e i r sans r i s q u e r de tomber dans un p i e g e , sans r i s q u e r de j o u e r l e j e u des h y p o c r i t e s e t des p a r a n o l a q u e s , sans r i s q u e r de s u i v r e l e s e n t i e r des eco e u r e s de champagne p l u s c y n i q u e s e t eg a r e s que s o i . " R a t h e r t h a n t r u s t t h o s e who s e t t h e m s e l v e s up as l e a d e r s , M i l l e - M i l l e s and B e r e n i c e would t r u s t w r i t e r s o f p o r - nography. M i l l e - M i l l e s b e l i e v e s no-one i s h a p p i e r t h a n t h e man who has n o t h i n g , u n d e r s t a n d s n o t h i n g and o f whom nobody has need. D e l i b e r a t e l y d i s t o r t i n g a N e l l i g a n l i n e he says "Oh s i g a i p a r c e que j e s a i s que t & t ou t a r d j e d e v r a i p l e u r e r " E v a s i o n i s the o t h e r r e a c t i o n a g a i n s t the a l l - p e r v a s i v e 'mai' a l r e a d y seen i n the Ba.sile n o v e l s . There i s the e v a s i o n t h r o u g h s l e e p j u s t as t h a t p r a c t i c e d by J e r e m i e "Comme i l m'est a g r e a b l e de sombrer, m o l l e , l e s yeux o u v e r t s dans l e n o i r , j u s q u ' a l a d e m o l i t i o n t o t a l e de mon deguisement, e t , rendue 15., de me r e p r e n d r e , d'embrasser, t e l l e q u ' e l l e e s t (nauseabonde) l o d e c h e r i e . Q u ' i l m'est a g r e a b l e d ' e t r e en- g l o u t i e , comme dans des n e i g e s f l u i d e s e t chaudes, j u s q u ' a u p l u s v r a i de ma s o l i t u d e , d ' e x p l o r e r l e s s i l e n c e s s o u s - m a r i n s , . - 200 - ou l'lode cherie fausse a quitte ce matin l'lode cherie seule, ou l'lode cherie seule attend toujours l'lode cherie fausse" Through intensive studying of geographical texts and na.mes, to a.ctual voicing of the desire to leave, a l l the protagonists express t h i s same wish. "Je suis de ceux qui brGlent de se repandre sous toute l'etendue du c i e l , comme l'azur. Lors que je serai grande, je b a t t r a i l e s campagnes de tous l e s pays et j'en r a b a t t r a i tous l e s l i o n s de 1 * ennui. "z^-5 But they must leave before i t i s too l a t e . Above a l l , leaving represents wanting something. This i s necessary to f e e l r e a l l y a l i v e . When t h i s goes i t means the end of spontaneity. "Devant, tout reste a d e c o u v r i r " . " O u personne n'est encore passe, ne se p e u t - i l pas qu'on trouve des a i l e s d'anges, des aureoles, des branches d ' e t o i l e s , ou quelques-uns de ces oeufs donnant nai- 246 ssance aux f l e u r s et aux l a c s ? " The usual places imagined are f a r - o f f lands with warm sands away from the freezing cold of Canada.. Yet once there, there i s only a b i t t e r deception as i n the case of Berenice i n I s r a e l , or lode about to leave f o r the West Coast of Canada. Indeed once away, l i k e Jeremie i n Basile*s novels, they are a s s a i l e d by fond memories of Canada and t h e i r l i f e i n the al-* " most wild natural domain they inhabited i n t h e i r early c h i l d - hood, with memories of the freezing p u r i t y of the cold North. Yet leaving represents a n e c e s s i t y . A l l doors are open which, - 201 - i f they remain, stay closed. They must leave i f only to fi n d out that leaving i s no d i f f e r e n t from staying "Quand on part tout redevient p o s s i b l e , meme l'amitie et la. f r a t e r n i t e i tout 24? r e n a l t " . Or as Faire-Faire says "Je pars parce que je veux S t r e de quantite superieure. Rester c'est s'immoler, c'est donner a son ame tout l e temps q u ' i l l u i faudra pour feconder l e seul arbre et l a seule maison qu'on a. P a r t i r c'est se de- culper, c'est embrasser chaque ame qui fecondera en soi chacun 248 des m i l l i o n s de- maisons dans le s q u e l l e s on entrera". In a l l six authors' works, the protagonists are therefore attempting to regain possession of themselves i n a world that i s i n c reasingly a l i e n a t i n g to the i n d i v i d u a l . I t i s a techni- c a l society where the i n d i v i d u a l has become a mere number. The increasing population of the overcrowded c i t i e s i s p a r t i - c u l a r l y inducive to t h i s f e e l i n g of a l i e n a t i o n , yet there are s t i l l those who, f o r some reason or another are not completely part of t h i s system, and are s t i l l a b le, or believe themselves able, to see what may l i e behind the fagades of c i v i l i s a t i o n . The recognition of t h i s state of being which may have been one belonging to the past more than to the present, where the i n - d i v i d u a l s e l f i s not l o s t i n the all-embracing oneness of so- c i e t y i s one of the p r i n c i p a l themes of the "nouveau roman" and of modern l i t e r a t u r e . In the novels treated the protagon- i s t s react i n various ways to the society they are i n , but a l l reveal a common 'refus'. There i s r e j e c t i o n v i o l e n t or other- - 202 - wise, contempt and p i t y f o r that society, or even revolution against i t . Quite often there i s also a simultaneous desire to seek elsewhere i n time or i n space the d i f f e r e n t existence they are c e r t a i n can be found. A l l the protagonists also f e e l the necessity of awakening or uncovering i n others these same fee l i n g s and convictions of authentic r e a l i t y , as distinguished from the l i v i n g death they see i n those around them. Whether these i n d i v i d u a l s are successful or not i n t h e i r quest f o r the desired l o s t s e l f and f o r communication seen as a solution to the a l i e n a t i o n they experience within society i s the subject of the next chapter. FOOTNOTE REFERENCES 1. "Conversation et sous-conversation", pages 118-119. 2. Jacques Dubois, "Avatars du monologue i n t e r i e u r " , R.L.I*;., #1, (1964), 20. 3. "Conversation et sous-conversation", page 121. 5- Tropismes, ( P a r i s , Eds de Minuit, 1957» f i r s t published, 1938), page 15. 6. I b i d . , page 41. 7. I b i d . , page 64. 8. ( P a r i s , Gallimard, 1953). 9. Tropismes, page 100. 10. I b i d . , pages 16-17. 11. I b i d . , page 35» 12. . P o r t r a i t d'un inconnu, page 3 ° . 13. I b i d . , page 84. 14. I b i d . , page 85. 15. I b i d . , page 164. 16. I b i d . , page 165. 17. I b i d . , page 179- 18. Martereau, page 134. 19. I b i d . , page 93. 20. Compare Ducharme's analysis of 'others', i b i d . , pages 126-128. 21. I b i d . , pages 207-237. 22. In a scene reminiscent of the father/daughter scene i n P o r t r a i t d'un inconnu (see page 89), page 241. 23. I b i d . , page 167. 24. Quoted i n Cranaki and Belaval from interview with Nathalie Sarraute and Francois Bondy. In 'dialogues' at end of Nathalie Sarraute ( P a r i s , Gallimard, I965). - 204 - 25. Compare the almost e p i l e p t i c a l state of mind of Robbe- G r i l l e t ' s protagonists. 26. Le Planetarium, page 224. 27. Ibid., page 59. 28. I b i d . , page 107. 29. Ibid., page 10?. 30. "Ce que voient les oiseaux", L'Ere du soupcon, pages 154-155* 31. Les F r u i t s d'or, page 88-89. 32. Ibid., page 45. 33. June 1969 i n Pa r i s . 34. Entre l a vie et la mort. 35. Preface. 36. Page 90. 37. Page 81. 38. Interview with Leonce P a i l l a r d i n B i b l i o Livres de France, ( j u i n - j u i l l e t , 1963). 39. Michel Butor quoted by L. Janvier, Une Parole exigeante» l e nouveau roman, (Paris, Eds de Minuit, I963), page 148. 40. (Paris, Eds de Minuit, 195*0. 41. (Paris, Gallimard, i960). 42. L'Emploi du temps, page 10. 43. I b i d . , page 10. 44. Ibid., page 15. 45. I b i d . , page 188. 46. I b i d . , page 56. 47. Ibid., page 171. 48. I b i d . , page 31. - 205 - 49. I b i d . , page 95. 50. I b i d . , page 24. 51. ( P a r i s , Eds de Minuit, 10/18, 1957). 52. L'Emploi du temps, pages 173-174. 53« "Recherches sur l a Technique du roman", op. c i t . , page 97. 54. L'Emploi du temps, page 42. 55. I b i d . , page 37. 56. I b i d . , page 38. 57. I b i d . , page 23. 58. I b i d . , page 157. 59. I b i d . , page 214. 60. I b i d . , page 229. 61. I b i d . , page 235. 62. Page 82. 63. I b i d . 64. "Nouveau roman, homme nouveau", page 116. 65. Le Present de l ' i n d i c a t i f , ( P a r i s , Gallimard, I 9 6 3 ) . 66. L'Annee derniere a Marienbad, Introduction, page 16. 67. Les Gommes, page 264. 68. I b i d . , page 234. 69. ( P a r i s , Eds de Minuit, 1965). 70. See also Bruce Morrissette Les Romans de Robbe-Grillet. Probably one of the most perceptive studies done on Robbe- G r i l l e t . Morrissette discusses Tarot symbolism i n Les Gommes. 71. ( P a r i s , Eds de Minuit, 1955). 72. Les Gommes, page 206 and page 261. - 206 - 73. I b i d . , page 101. 74. I b i d . , page 103. 75. I b i d . , page 260. 76. I b i d . , page 49. 77« "Epreuves du roman» Le Temps des Choses", Cahiers du sud, (January 1954), pages 300-307. 78. Les Gommes, page 132. 79. I b i d . , page 206. 80. Le Voyeur, page 25. 81. I b i d . 82. Lucien Goldmann, "Le nouveau roman et r e a l i t e " , Pour une Sociologie du roman, ( P a r i s , Gallimard, 1964), pages 183-229. 83. ( P a r i s , Eds de Minuit, 1970). 84. Le Voyeur, page 197• 85. I b i d . , page'214. 86. A l a i n Robbe-Grillet, Instantanes, a. c o l l e c t i o n of short s t o r i e s l i k e snapshots! ( P a r i s , Eds de Minuit, 1962). 87. Le Voyeur, page 32. 88. I b i d . , page 73. 89. ( P a r i s , Eds de Minuit, 1957). 90. I b i d . , page 101. 91. I b i d . , page 17. 92. Nathalie Sarraute, Trooismes ( P a r i s , Eds de Minuit, 1957, f i r s t published, 1938), page 33. 93. ( P a r i s , Eds de Minuit, 1963). 94. La J a l o u s i e , op. c i t . , page 31. 95. ( P a r i s , Eds de Minuit, 1959). 96. La J a l o u s i e , op. c i t . , page 149. - 207 - 97. Op. G i t . , pages 153-154. 98. Op. C i t . , page 150 99. ( P a r i s , Eds de Minuit, 1963). 100. L'Immortelle, op. c i t . , pages 14-15. 101. La J a l o u s i e , page 42. 102. Op. C i t . , page 131. 103. The number three i s found throughout Robbe-Grillet's work with almost always the three objects being nearly i f not completely i d e n t i c a l . As a. mathematician, the 'rule of three' i s pertinent to Robbe-Grillet's symbolism, where three components of a public are present whi_l_e the fourth ( i n his case perhaps the protagonist himself) i s l a c k i n g . 104. Dans l e labyrinthe, Preface. 105. L'Annee demiere a Mari'enbad, pages 9-10. 106. Introduction to L'Annee derniere a Marienbad, op. c i t . , page 13. 107. "La. Chambre Secr&te", Insta.nta.nes, ( P a r i s , Eds de Minuit, 1962), page 97. 108. La Maison de rendez-vous, page 32. 109. L'Annee• derniSre a Marienbad, op. c i t . , page 172.. 110. La. Maison de rendez-vous, page 192. 111. I b i d . , page 52. 112. I b i d . , pages 66-67. 113. L'Immortelle, page 77. 114. La Maison de rendez-vous, page 5?« 115. I b i d . , pages 3^-35. l l o . Ibid.,'page 85. ' 117. I b i d . , page 53. 118. Guy Dumur, "Le Sa.disme contre l a peur", Le Nouvel Observa- teur,, (Mon. 19 Oct., 1970),. page 49. - 208 - 11Q• I b i d . , page 48. 120. Pro .jet pour une revolution 3. New York, page 85 • 121. L'Incubation, page 22. 122. Bessette's l a t e s t novel, published while t h i s thesis was i n i t s f i n a l stages, expresses the same b i t t e r pessimism of i t s predecessors. I t i s however closer i n theme to the works of the other f i v e authors i n that the thene of al i e n a t i o n i s revealed through the inner mind's monologue of each of the characters. The novel i t s e l f i n form bears ressemblances to Sarraute's Trooismes and Butor's Degres i n that i t i s f i r s t l y , as i s Sarraute's work, a series of sketches of i n d i v i d u a l s . On the other hand i t i s tied together and l i k e Degres of Butor or l i k e Basile's t r i l - ogy as well as l i k e the l a t e r Robbe-Grillet works, i s events seen and interpreted by f i v e d i f f e r e n t i n d i v i d u a l s a l l part of the same family. 123. L'Incubation, pages 150-151- 124. I b i d . page 11. 125. I b i d . page 11. 126. I b i d . page 22. 127. I b i d . page 10. 128. I b i d . page 19. 129. I b i d . page 37. 130. I b i d . » pages ; 170-1?1. 131. I b i d . page 86. 132. Le Grand Khan, (Canada, E s t e r e l , 1967), page 247. 133. I b i d . , page 12. 134. La Jument des Mongols, pa.ge 20. 135. I b i d . , page 182. 136. (Montreal, H.K.H., 1971), page 81. 137. "II est des s o i r s ou l'ame plus que le corps a besoin de se s e n t i r entouree d'arbres", La Jurnents des Mongols, page I 8 5 . - 209 - 1 3 8 . I b i d . , pages 2 0 7 - 2 0 8 . 1 3 9 . I b i d . , page 3 6 . 140. I b i d . , page 2 2 . • 141. La Jument des Mongols, page 1 9 . 142. "Si je pouvais aimer, s i je pouvais s e n t i r l e moindrement du monde un emoi, l e plus p e t i t emoi, pour quelqu'un que je connaisse comme t o i , s i je pouvais imaginer une seule seconde me prendre moi-m5me contre moi, ou quelqu'un qui me ressemble"..."ce s e r a i t t o i . " , pages 145-146. 1 4 3 . I b i d . , page 1 5 9 . 144. I b i d . , page 1 2 9 . 145. I b i d . , page 80. 146. I b i d . , page 1 1 6 . 147. I b i d . , page 1 2 3 . 148. I b i d . , page 1 9 2 . 149. I b i d . , page 3 5 . 1 5 0 . I b i d . , page 9 2 . 1 5 1 . I b i d . , page 1 8 7 . 1 5 2 . I b i d . , page 5 9 . 1 5 3 . I b i d . , page 1 3 9 . 1 5 4 . I b i d . , page 117. 155* In one scene Jeremie detachedly watches a mosquito feeding on his blood, then i n a movement of repulsion k i l l s i t , contemplating the corpse i n a scene reminiscent of the centipede i n La J a l o u s i e . Jonathan also regards his own chest hairs as parasites just as he i s accused of being the parasite i n the rel a t i o n s h i p between the three of them, then comes to the conclusion both r e l a t i o n s h i p s are symbiotic. Le Grand Khan, page 6 6 . 1 5 6 . La Jument des Mongols, page 111 . 1 5 7 . I b i d . , page 1 2 2 . - 210 - 158. Ibid., page 150. 159* Ibid., page 163. 160. Ibid., page 165. 161. Symbolized in the streets being repaired, i b i d . , page 1?0. 162. Ibid., page 170. 163. Ibid., pages 171-172. 164. Ibid., page 166, also Le Grand Khan, page 121. 165. Les Voyages d'lrkoutsk, page 82. 166. Ibid., page 82. 167. Ibid., page 45. 168. La Jument • des Mongols, page 15* 169. Ibid., page 15- 170. Ibid., page 7 6 . 171. Ibid., page ?6. 172. Ibid., page 101. 173. Ibid., page 29. 174. Ibid., page 39- 175- Ibid., page 95. 176. Ibid., page 96. 177. Ibid., page 133. 178. Ibid., page 167. 179. Ibid., page 219. 180. Le Grand Khan, page 11. 181. Ibid., pages 11-12. 182. Ibid., pages 18-19. 183. Ibid., page 12. - 211 - 184. Ibid., page 13 . 185. Ibid., page 16. 186. Ibid., page 15- 187. Ibid., page 172. 188. Ibid., page 197-198. 189. Ibid., page 274. 190. Ibid., page 15. 191. I b i d . , page 61 . 192. Ibid., page 82 . 193. Ibid., page 40. 194. Ibid., page 48. 195. Ibid., page 130. 196. Ibid., page 121 . 197. I b i d . , page 102. 198. Ibi d . , page 62. 199. "objet d'une t r i s t e s s e i n d i c i b l e , cherchant i c i et la* quel- que chose 3. quoi je pourrais me raccrocher, mais ne decelant r i e n aux alentours qu'une sorte de v i l l e morte, qui peut- etre n'a jamais connu l a v i e , ses masques et ses f i f r e s , ses vertus, ses vices; tout est l a i d " . I b i d . , page 3 5 . 200. I b i d . , page 283. 201. Ibid., page 74 . 202. I b i d . , page 74 . 203. Les Voyages d ' I r k o u t s k , page 146. 204. Ibid. , page 233. 205. Ibid., page 149. 206. La. Jument des Mongols, page 64. 207. Ibid., page 65 . - 212 - 208. Les Voyages d'lrkoutsk, page 7 4 . 2 0 9 . I b i d . , page 8 ? . 2 1 0 . I b i d . , page 1 1 3 . 2 1 1 . Le Gra.nd Khan, pa.ge 17 . 2 1 2 . La. Jument des Mongols, page 6 8 . 213. Pages 214-218. Also compare Jacques Revel's r e l a t i o n s h i p with Horace Buck i n L'ErrvpIoi du temps, by Butor. 214. Les Voyages d'lrkoutsk, page 126. 215- Le Nez qui vogue, ( P a r i s , Gallimard, I 9 6 7 ) , page 2 2 1 . 2 1 6 . L'Ocea.ntume, ( P a r i s , Gallimard, 1 9 6 8 ) . < 217- L'Avalee des avales, ( P a r i s , Gallimard, 1 9 6 6 ) . 218. Le Nez qui vogue, page 37* 2 1 9 . I b i d . , page 2 7 . 2 2 0 . L'Avalee des avales, page 13* 2 2 1 . Frontis / piece to L* Ocea.ntume. 2 2 2 . .Ibid. 223c I b i d . , page 7 8 . 224. L'Avalee des avales, pa.ge 13. 2 2 5 . L'Oceantume, page 9 0 . 2 2 6 . L'Avalee des ava.les, page 23* 2 2 7 . I b i d . , page 2 3 . 228. I b i d . , page 45. 2 2 9 . I b i d . , pa.ge 8 7 . 2 3 0 . I b i d . , page 2 3 2 . 2 3 1 . I b i d . , page 1 16 . 2 3 2 . Le, Ne,z.,..q,ui. ..vogue, page 1.27 • - 213 - 233. L'Oceantume, page 17. 234. I b i d . , page 47. 235- I b i d . , page 47. 236. I b i d . , page 109. 237- I b i d . , page 112. 238. I b i d . , page 119. 239. Le Nez qui voque, page 142. 240. I b i d . , page 223. 241. I b i d . , pages 257-258. 242. I b i d . , pages 257-258. 243. I b i d . , page 260. 244. L*Oceantume, page 75. 245. L'Avalee des Avales, page 52. 246. L'Oceantume, page 55. 247. I b i d . , page 158. 248. I b i d . , page 188. CHAPTER IV RESOLUTION I f the i n d i v i d u a l i s not destroyed by society, the pro- blems outlined i n the preceding chapter regarding the i n d i - vidual's search f o r a u t h e n t i c i t y must be resolved i n one of two ways. He w i l l e i t h e r capitulate abandoning hi s quest f o r a u t h e n t i c i t y , or, refusing to give i n , w i l l attempt to reform society by v i o l e n t or non-violent means. The pro- tagonists i n the novels treated i n t h i s thesis range between the two extremes of surrender and revolution. The resolution of t h e i r problems and t h e i r reactions to the a l i e n a t i o n they a l l experience give further i n s i g h t into the i n d i v i d u a l p h i l - osophies of the authors. Moreover general conclusions ar- rived at from the comparison of differences and s i m i l a r i t i e s i n approach to the dilemma facing modern Man can be drawn from t h i s t h e s i s . Nathalie Sarraute t As the i n d i v i d u a l protagonist i s i n c r e a s i n g l y beset with doubt as to whether he w i l l ever f i n d another or others l i k e himself, he f i n a l l y doubts his own judgement of what others are, and even more t r a g i c a l l y , of what au t h e n t i c i t y i s . As two of the t i t l e s suggest, i l l u s i o n s are too frequently ac- cepted as r e a l i t y (Le Planltarium, Les F r u i t s d'or). L i v i n g under a f a l s e sky i n a f a l s e world or taking a book i r o n i c i n i t s t i t l e , Les F r u i t s d'or, as the most succulent of food, - 215 - when i n i t s e l f i t i s a l l that i s a r t i f i c i a l , i s i n d i c a t i v e of the deceptiveness of the world the protagonist l i v e s i n . This protagonist seemed the only one capable of looking at people and things as they r e a l l y are, thus able to free himself and others from the i n a u t h e n t i c i t y of the world they l i v e i n . Gradually and t r a g i c a l l y he w i l l be confronted with the l o s s of t h i s a b i l i t y — i f indeed i t ever existed. Yet at l e a s t to begin with, before acceptance of t h i s and of others* i n a u t h e n t i c i t y as well as his own, a r r i v e s , t h i s i n d i v i d u a l protagonist does attempt desperately to f i n d what i s 'authen- t i c * i n the world he i s i n . In order to be able to r e a l l y see, he must stand at a distance from o t h e r s — a n i r r e c o n c i l a - ble i m p o s s i b i l i t y f o r Man who i s a s o c i a l animal. F i r s t , even that which he seeks to uncover and hence re- veal to others, becomes tinged with uncertainty as he f i n a l l y comes to doubt himself. In Martereau the protagonist w i l l reach the point of r e a l i z i n g that those he believes so super- i o r , making him i n turn aware of h i s own i n f e r i o r i t y and g u i l t at not being able to a t t a i n t h e i r l e v e l , are i n actual- i t y not as they seem to him. The emotions of doubt and fear he f e e l s i n t h e i r presence are not necessarily his own, but could i n f a c t be emanating from those people he admires as free of such f e e l i n g s . Their fear i s "de s e n t i r q u * i l ne peut manquer, cet o e i l reprobateur, de v o i r combien i l s sont d i f f S r e n t s du module p a r f a i t depose en chacun de nous et im- - 216 - pose" par l'univers e n t i e r . I l s s*efforcent de vous tromper en vous prisentant une i m i t a t i o n aussi ressemblante que pos- sibles un peu f o r c l e " . •."Peut - t t r e s ' e f f o r c e n t - i l s de se tromper eux-m$mes, de se r a s s u r e r " I n P o r t r a i t d*un inconnu just when the narrator has imagined the father and daughter who so fascinate him i n the communion he desires them to reach, and to reach himself, the same deception occurs. The two 'superior* beings w i l l put back t h e i r masks of cliches, i f they ever indeed abandoned them. The n a r r a t o r , again l e f t without hope, exclaims "Quand l * a i - j e done Iprouvl d § j a , ce mime sentiment dSchirant de contraste entre 1*indifference . s a t i s f a i t e de tous ces visages Strangers et ma propre detresse, 2 mon abandon**. In Le Planetarium, A l a i n * s a b i l i t y to put people into c l i c h l s prevents him from r e a l l y seeing these people. He r e - fuses to regard the writer Germaine Lemaire i n any l i g h t other than an admiring one. Even though the reader from the very beginning i s aware of her shortcomings, to A l a i n she r e - presents to him a u t h e n t i c i t y outside s o c i e t y . He does not r e a l i z e that her retinue acts not only as *salutory bacteria* to protect her and f i l t e r out adverse c r i t i c i s m , but also f u l f i l l s her need to be admired. A l a i n * s wife and father are aware of t h i s , f o r Germaine Lemaire has an unappeased hunger, an actual need f o r adulation. F e a r f u l himself of her approval or disapproval, A l a i n does not r e a l i z e t h i s f ear i s r e c i p r o c a l . - 217 - The * d l s i n v o l t u r e ' he admires i n her works i s rather i n s e n s i - t i v i t y . Hoping to see himself r e f l e c t e d i n her eyes as a young Rimbaud, he even finds her b e a u t i f u l . I t i s only a f t e r the disastrous meeting with her when he i s with h i s father, i n many respects an older version of A l a i n himself, that the l a t t e r begins to be receptive to other opinions about her. His father has become the necessary instrument of f a t a l i t y . The f i n a l r e v e l a t i o n comes a f t e r the conversation with the old a r t i s t who i s bored by Germaine Lemaire. At t h i s 3 point M t o u t sombre, tout coule". A l l that i s bourgeois meets with Germaine Lemaire*s approval u n t i l nothing but t o t a l disenchantment remains. The state of communion A l a i n has sought with Germaine Lemaire b e l i e v i n g she i s an authentic person i s not p o s s i b l e . His f i n a l r e v e l a t i o n i s that the sky and stars are f a l s e — a mere planetarium, and yet to the end there i s almost a r e f u s a l to accept t h i s , f o r , once accepted, i t means the end of hope, r e l a y i n g him to the rank of others i n the society he despises. I t i s the older versions of the younger protagonists, more or l e s s adapted to the society of which they are neces- s a r i l y a part, who point out to these younger counterparts the l a t t e r s * i n a b i l i t y to r e a l l y see. In Martereau, i t i s the younger protagonist's uncle who seems to be showing him what Martereau a c t u a l l y i s , while i n the Planetarium i t i s A l a i n ' s father who reveals to h i s son the r e a l Germaine Lemaire. - 218 - In Martereau there i s nevertheless a doubt as to whether the uncle i s not d e l i b e r a t e l y f o r c i n g another viewpoint on his young nephew f o r h i s — t h e uncle's—own ends, to force him to conform. On the other hand, i n Le Planetarium, i t i s the father who seems the more sincere of the two, but who yet, l i k e Anouilh's Orion, has had to learn to l i v e with s l i g h t l y s o i l e d hands. I f he has not come t o t a l l y to terms with the society i n which he l i v e s , A lain's father has at l e a s t learned to accept i t . He a l t e r n a t e l y hates and p i t i e s h i s s i s t e r , Tante Berthe, who symbolizes a l l he despises i n t h i s society. He would l i k e to e s t a b l i s h contact with her but i s repelled by her constant reminders of age, death, the past, and her bourgeois philosophy! M I 1 faut que 1*ordre rSgne, que l e bien triomphe, que 1 'effort, l e t r a v a i l soient rlcompensls, que tous l e s r e s q u i l l e u r s soient punis". He i s even a f r a i d of her i n the jousting games they play together when he can f e e l she M l e conduira doucement, d'un pas f a i b l e et branlant, l a oG e l l e veut l ' a t t i r e r , sur l e t e r - r a i n od e l l e rSgne, oS enfin i l sera 8. sa merci, acceptant d'abandonner ses divagations de v i e i l ' i d l a l i s t e * , d'inadaptl, et de se soumettre comme e l l e aux l o i s du bon sens, de l a bonne et s o l i d e r e a l i t e , de marcher d r o i t , de r e n t r e r dans l e rang'*.-' With her gleaming magpie eyes, she has d e l i b e r a t e l y cut her- s e l f o f f from l i f e , while her brother, Alain's father refuses to c a p i t u l a t e completely, holding onto the remnants of h i s i d e a l i s t i c past i n h i s capacity as the mature outsider. - 219 - Searching f o r a u t h e n t i c i t y and communication with others l i k e themselves, temporarily b e l i e v i n g they are able to see t h i s i n a p a r t i c u l a r e l i t e , the need to be accepted by t h i s e*lite replaces t h e i r basic need f o r 'others* i n general. As the young protagonists i n P o r t r a i t d'un inconnu, Martereau, and Le Planetarium desperately play f o r the attention of those they admire, i n Les F r u i t s d'or and more p a r t i c u l a r l y i n Entre l a v i e et l a mort, the outsider i n d i v i d u a l seeks i n a so- c a l l e d e l i t e t h i s same se c u r i t y . Aware of h i s own unimpor- tance i n the t o t a l order of the action, he experiences the same desire f o r pow-.r as that experienced by anyone else who finds himself a l i t t l e d i f f e r e n t from, or superior to, the •ordinary' man. Recognizing himself as a somewhat anonymous l i n k i n the chain of beings he wishes nevertheless to be ac- cepted by the i n t e l l e c t u a l l l i t e as one of them, to become one with these great minds he so admires and to rule supreme- l y over l e s s e r minds ( c f . Les F r u i t s d'or). Compromising h i s i n d i v i d u a l i t y to become part of what he believes or hopes i s t h i s l l i t e , secure i n i t s c o l l e c t i v e power, he finds that-, unfortunately, the a u t h e n t i c i t y he i s seeking i s not to be found with these p a r t i c u l a r people. This outsider believes he knows what r e a l communication i s , compares these people to post-card lovers as compared to r e a l ones* "Ce n'est pas q u ' i l s'attribue un don, des qualites plus grandes".. 0**quand i l v o i t des gens se g l o r i f i e r de ces choses-la, i l se demande toujours s ' i l s ont vraiment jamais connu ces moments, s ' i l s - 220 - savent ce que c*est...cette l i m i t e , ce point extreme a t t e i n t ne s e r a i t - c e que pendant quelques instants...Ces instants de s i p a r f a i t e fusion, hors de toute proportion, de toute cora- mune mesure.•.Quelque chose en somme comme l'amour". He reaches the point of f i n d i n g t h e i r usage of 'nous* objection- able, implying as i t does that a l l the members of t h i s l l i t e are on the same wave-length. Aware himself of a 'noyau* at the centre of every being l i k e the *noyau* or nucleus of his own book, open to varied i n t e r p r e t a t i o n s , he wishes them to be aware of t h i s a l s o , but a l l they are able to see are r e f l e c t i o n s of themselves. Yet because he the outsider cannot r e a l l y e x i s t alone he i s wr i t - ing to communicate above a l l e l s e , b e l i e v i n g as does Sarraute that a l l are not as l i m i t e d as they would l i k e to appear. Wishing to express to them h i s conviction that human c a l c u l a - tions and human time are nothing, through t h e i r eyes he be- comes aware of h i s own nothingness. Revolting against t h e i r r e f u s a l to see, he desires h i s solitude again. Alone i n what has become an enemy camp he wishes only to escape, appalled by the f i l t h the- others put on everything they touch. Torn by h i s opposing needs, he i s a f r a i d of the others and yet does need them. They t e l l him that h i s surprise at f i n d i n g he i s l i k e them i s not unusual» there are always some who re- bel i n the beginning l i k e him, but i n the end they s e t t l e down. Like a c h i l d whose hand i s held too t i g h t l y by the damp - 221 - so f t hands of his elders he r e j e c t s them. They t e l l him he must submit to rul e s , but he does not yet know how to play the game and does not want to. This l l i t e has now become jus t another form of the society he wishes to r e j e c t . He has i n turn become just another part of t h i s society and yet i s s t i l l to a ce r t a i n extent apart from i t . At times he sees elements of h i s previous existence where he was s t i l l seeking a u t h e n t i c i t y and was s t i l l o p t i m i s t i c about true i n s i g h t into the nature of the centre of being. There was also the po s s i - b i l i t y of communication- with another person who f e l t as he did, f o r these protagonists c l i n g to the hope, f r a i l though i t may be, that " i l d o i t y av o i r bien d*autres comme moi a travers l e monde. Timor!s comme moi. Un peu r e p l i e s sur eux-memes. Pas habitue's 3. s'exprimer. I l s appellent peut- Stre timidement sans que personne l e u r reponde".'' Merely to know they e x i s t i s however s u f f i c i e n t . This optimism i s doomed to be overcome by the i n d i v i d u a l ' s needs which w i l l betray h i s high i d e a l s , leaving him, except i n f l e e t i n g mo- ments when he i s haunted by memories of his past hopes, with images of h i s own death which i s h i s compromise. In jo i n i n g the a r t i s t i c l l i t e he has betrayed himself. This outsider, now a vic t i m , has accepted i n a u t h e n t i c i t y rather than choosing s o l i t u d e , i n the need he has to e s t a b l i s h contact, and f e e l g communion with others. As Gerda Zeltner says "ce q u ' i l s ont de personnel est s i i n s t a b l e q u * i l s cldent toujours a l a ten- t a t i o n p r S f l r a n t mSme l e plus conventionnel des contacts 3. - 222 - une solitude qui ne l e u r rSvSle que l e u r propre vide". A l l the Sarrautian protagonists need others to r e f l e c t themselves and a l l are too weak to break out of the bars of society as i t e x i s t s . The c h i l d , grown or not, f e e l i n g the need to free himself, nevertheless becomes emmeshed i n the web of h i s own need f o r s e c u r i t y and joins others. "L'homme sense", l'homme normal, l'homme a c t i f , 1*homme digne et sain, o l'homme f o r t triomphait". Yet because he i s more se n s i t i v e and aware than other members of society, the l a t t e r are unable to d i s p e l the fears he has, as the c h i l d ' s parents are unable to r e a l l y comfort the c h i l d a f r a i d of the dark. His only se- c u r i t y l i e s i n "son conformisme par trop obeissant".''"0 I f he reveals to the others that he i s too d i f f e r e n t from them, they w i l l torture him as cats do t h e i r prey. There i s no way out of t h e i r worldi " l i s l'avaient bien vide" et rerobourre" et l u i montraient partout d'autres poupees, d'autres fantoches* I I ne pouvait pas l e u r echapper".'1'1 Thus the struggle to be oneself at the same time offen- s i v e l y and defensively, versus the need f o r the group, i s the main theme underlying the works of Nathalie Sarraute. Victims/ executioners, oppressors/oppressed, the r8les are constantly reversed, but the outsider w i l l f i n a l l y crawl on hands and knees to enter the c i r c l e of society! "Et quand i l s l e voy- aient qui rampait honteusement pour essayer de se g l i s s e r entre eux, i l s abaissaient vivement leurs mains entrelacSes - 223 - et, tous s'accroupissant ensemble autour de l u i , i l s l e f i x - aient de l e u r regard vide et o b s t i n l , avec l e u r sourire l e - 1 2 gerement i n f a n t i l e " . Lost and confused with a l l sense of equilibrium gone, t h i s i n d i v i d u a l sees that "en f i n de compte tout rentre dans 1*ordre"..."Tout est d i t . II n'y a r i e n de nouveau sous l e s o l e i l . Sur toutes l e s places, nos predica- teurs apaisent l e s populationst 'Calmez: vos vagues regrets, a r r l t e z vos r i v e r i e s , tournez vers des buts plus sGrs et plus u t i l e s vos nostalgies, guerissez-vous de vos sentiments d'in- f e r i o r i t S . Vous n'avez r i e n a r e g r s t t e r . Vous n'avez pas a vous inqu i e t e r . I I n'y a v a i t r i e n a chercher, vous n'auriez 13 r i e n pu trouvert tout est d i t " ? . ^ S i g n i f i c a n t with r e l i - g iously symbolic overtones of the C h r i s t figure s a c r i f i c e d by those whom he has t r i e d to save, i n a scene almost exactly l i k e that of Kafka's Der Prozess—acknowledged as such by the pr o t a g o n i s t — t h e young nephew i n Martereau i s led o f f between his uncle and Martereau. Society has once again taken care of i t s own errant childr e n to the extent that i t has destroyed i t s hope f o r redemption. The would-be saviour has le a r n t that l i f e l i k e a r t , must be compromise. Faced with deception, s o l - itude and the uncertainty of ever- bringing to r e a l i z a t i o n what would take so much s a c r i f i c e to a t t a i n , he w i l l come back to the f o l d . The others know how to sound h i s depths and "II se defend a peine, i l se l a i s s e t i r e r , pousser dans tous l e s sens, i l est p r i s , enferme.,.mais i l l ' a ete toute sa v i e " . . . "enferme i c i parmi ces fous . . . l a stupeur, l a peur, l a p i t i e , - 224 - l'emplchent de se defendre, i l l e s repousse mollement" This p u r i t y and everything else w i l l come to naught. He w i l l play the game. Like the deserter i n the army, he has come out of hi s hiding place i f only to " s * e t a b l i r i c i , chez nous, en conqulrant, de renverser l'ordre e t a b l i , d'abroger nos l o i s , de tout mettre sens dessus-dessous, nous f o r c e r a abjurer lSchement nos croyances, nous obliger a constater que l a paresse, 1*ennui, l a depression, l a mllancolie, l'ego- centrisme et l e d l l i r e de persecution, l e s ruminations s t l r - i l e s , l e s obsessions, i d l e s f i x e s et manies, l e vertige de l ' l c h e c , l a mlgalomanie, l e gofit de suicide l e n t , l e mepris des r l a l i t e s peuvent se changer en or pur".1-* Even i n t h i s he f a i l s , although to the populace he appears as»*"Un mage. Un sage. Un prophete. Un sphinx. Un s o r c i e r . Une force n a t u r e l l e . Un prisme. Un catalyseur. Un corps conducteur parcouru par l e s plus intenses, par l e s plus f a i b l e s courants. II est l e receptacle p r l c i e u x dans lequel du fond des Sges sont transported jusqu'S. nous l e s grands mythes. II est l e fondateur d*un ordre. Le c r l a t e u r qui ne se soumet qu'3. ses propres l o i s " . 1 ^ This superior being who believed i n one combat alone, that with death, whether t h i s death be a mater- i a l or s p i r i t u a l one, w i l l f a i l . He w i l l submit to " l ' o r re' and to what i s s o c i a l l y required of him as an a r t i s t , f i l l i n g the needs of the ever hungry people around him. Although the f i n a l question remains with both i t s inherent optimism and despair "AprSs l a mort?"..."Juste encore un pas de plus a - 225 - 17 f r a n c h i r " , the Sarrautian protagonist who sought authenti- c i t y has l o s t himself i n a maze of r e f l e c t i o n s upon r e f l e c - tions, becoming unsure of anything that he has seen. Even a r t i s submitted to the same rules of society, becoming f o r the i n d i v i d u a l merely another form of compromise. Like h i s own work or any work of creation, hovering between l i f e and death, the writer of the l a s t novel or the outsider i n d i v i d u a l s of the e a r l i e r novels w i l l accept compromise and become one of the l i v i n g dead, hovering i n the region "Entre l a vie et l a mort". Michel Butort The Butor protagonist, f a i l i n g i n l i f e , through a r t i s t i c means attempts to compensate f o r t h i s f a i l u r e . S t a r t i n g at the point the Sarrautian protagonist leaves o f f , i n a state of self-deception and awareness of h i s own •lachete* and i n - a u t h e n t i c i t y , the Butor protagonist attempts to reconstruct himself. He t r i e s t h i s f i r s t through other people, but i s constantly f r u s t r a t e d i n t h i s by his i n a b i l i t y to achieve true communication with others. Trapped within t h e i r own minds, as they are within the tortured i n h i b i t i o n s of the society i n which they l i v e but whose mores often confound them, a r a d i c a l change i s the only way out. As the Sarrautian protagonist/out- si d e r was haunted by images of h i s own death the Butor protag- o n i s t i s haunted by images of h e l l . Through t h i s i n a b i l i t y to communicate, they are unable - 226 - to be helped by those very i n d i v i d u a l s who could otherwise a s s i s t them i n f i n d i n g t h e i r way. This i n a b i l i t y to communi- cate i s further revealed as an i n a b i l i t y to t e l l the truth to those they are attempting to communicate with. Jacques Revel i n L'Emploi du temps w i l l lose both the women he loves, f i r s t by not being able to see that his l y i n g to others ex- tends to self-deception and secondly through a fear of com- mitting himself to r e a l i t y . His constant fear of surrender- ing too much of himself to others which takes the form of a d e l i b e r a t e l y formed carapace of l i e s and his i n a b i l i t y to see beyond h i s own l i e s and recognize h i s need f o r others are the two causes of t h i s l o s s . Like the other protagonists i n Bu- tor* s novels, to begin with, Revel lays the blame f o r h i s own f a i l u r e on others. He blames Rose f o r not being able to guess h i s r e a l f e e l i n g s f o r her, but also places that blame i n part on the mystical power he a t t r i b u t e s to Bleston. Within the novel the two myths of Theseus and Oedipus are constantly present. Rose i s to him Phaedra, and yet l i k e Oedi- pus unrecognized by h i s own s i s t e r , he had f a l l e n before her as i f i n an e p i l e p t i c trance i n the c i t y he had not recognized as being connected to him by ancient myth. Because of Rose he has become i n h i s own eyes the murderer of the author of the book, Le Meurtre de Bleston. He has betrayed t h i s author who i s to him a father figure as Oedipus k i l l e d his own father. He w i l l not r e a l l y commit himself to any acts nor to any - 227 - other people. As with Rose, when i t i s a matter of l i f e and death, he hides the truth from Rose's s i s t e r Ann. Although to begin with, he and Ann cannot communicate because of a language b a r r i e r , f a l s e l y causing him to believe he i s more interested i n Rose, there i s a scene when Ann i s at the den- t i s t ' s and she looks at him with **ce regard que vous m'avez adresse du plus l o i n t a i n de cette enfance t e r r i f i e e " . . . " p r i s e au depourvu"..."et qui m'a f a i t a tout jamais confident de cette p a r t i e de vous-mSme qui n'emerge pas l o r s de l a pleine 18 s a n t l " , which w i l l bind him to her forever. He i s not able to r e c a l l t h i s scene u n t i l too l a t e however and has as h i s only consolation the p r o b a b i l i t y of writing to her a f t e r his departure and t e l l i n g her everything he has been unable to i n r e a l l i f e — a g a i n using the written word as a substitute f o r ' r e a l i t y ' . Learning of her engagement, he wants, l i k e Oedipus, to burn out his own eyes, f e e l i n g that once more the c i t y has moved against him as i t had i n various smaller ways during t h e i r r e l a t i o n s h i p * In La Modification, Leon Delmont, i n search of h i s l o s t youth and a l l i t represents, believes that the woman he thinks he loves w i l l restore a u t h e n t i c i t y to him and give him mean- ing i n l i f e . Everything he believes i s however a by-product of his own mental processes including the 'love' he has d i s - covered, a necessary ingredient i n h i s search f o r the youth he wasted i n the past. Just as he misjudges h i s own wife, - 228 - f e e l i n g she hates him, hut heeds him, so he misjudges his f e l - low passengers basing what he believes them to be on what he i s himself. Like the other protagonists i n a l l the other novels treated, he f e e l s thwarted i n his search f o r his own i d e n t i t y by others i n society. In Sarraute*s novels t h i s threat was to a large extent a r e a l one, society as such f o r i t s own s u r v i v a l , needing to bring the outsider into i t s ranks. In Butor*s novels however, the protagonist, who f e e l s himself so d i f f e r e n t and an outsider, i s i n many ways one of the more d e f i c i e n t members of society. Those he condemns f o r condemn- ing h i s desire to be d i f f e r e n t , are often revealed as having more i n s i g h t into h i s motivations than he himself has. Again t h i s i s the case to a greater or l e s s e r extent i n a l l the "nouveaux romans" treated, but more p a r t i c u l a r l y i n the novels of Sarraute and Ducharme, where i n both instances there are older and wiser i n d i v i d u a l s , who, although r e g r e t t i n g the loss of the id e a l s of t h e i r past youth, can see the f o l l i e s of the present i n the i d e a l i s t i c young they come into contact wi th. Believing he has found love i n the form of Cecile and wishing to have i t with him always, Leon Delmont plans h i s mistress's future residence i n P a r i s . At the same time he i s a f r a i d that Rome w i l l no longer be the same f o r him with her i n France, not r e a l i z i n g that i t i s Cecile who w i l l d i - minish i n stature away from a l l she i s bound to i n h i s mind. Fearing the loss of Rome with her departure, he decides to - 229 - make the f u l l e s t possible use of her knowledge before that departure when he w i l l be the remaining 'Roman*. Beyond t h i s there i s nevertheless a p e r s i s t e n t ir quietude constantly pre- sent i n h i s mind i n spite of a l l h i s optimism. The beginning of a doubt not only i n his own i l l u s i o n s but i n those upon whom he has invested these i l l u s i o n s remains. This doubt points out his 'lachete", lack of a u t h e n t i c i t y and s e l f - d e l u s i o n which he believed he was beginning to overcome. In f a c t i n a rather v i c i o u s c i r c l e t h i s gnawing doubt reveals these d e f i c i e n c i e s to be at the root of his i l l u s i o n s . When he begins to think of C e c i l e and Henriette together, as they a c t u a l l y were i n Pari s , i t occurs to him that Cecile a c t u a l l y reproaches him i n the same way his wife does. To neither one has he been r e a l l y sincere. He i s not yet sure what the truth i s , but r e a l i z e s that he has been l y i n g to both of them. The reproaches l e v e l l e d at him, removing from him the p o s s i b i l i t y of f i n d i n g a l o s t youth, also remind him of hi s age i "Seriez-vous done maintenant b a l l o t t e entre ces deux reproches, ces deux rancunes, ces deux accusations de 19 lachete?" What has become a concerous growth i n Henriette, a gangrenous wound from which he i s a f r a i d to remove the scab by t e l l i n g the truth, f o r fear of the hidden pain underneath, i s already beginning to grow i n C l c i l e . Aware that he must choose between the two women, he recognizes that he himself i s the c a r r i e r of t h i s pain. There i s , however, another fear - 230 - which haunts him and prevents him t e l l i n g everything to his wife. This i s fear of lon e l i n e s s , f o r again, l i k e the Sarrau- t i a n and indeed a l l the other protagonists, the fear of lone- l i n e s s forces c a p i t u l a t i o n . Seeing the extent of his own weakness he i s unable to combat i t . Thinking back, he r e a l i z e s that the hatred he has f o r Henriette i s a r e s u l t of his not being able to have C l - c i l e with him i n Pa r i s . I r o n i c a l l y though, with the remem- brance of a t r i p C e c i l e made to Paris comes the memory of the f a i l u r e of that experiment as his second t r i p to Rome with Henriette had been a vain attempt to recapture a past that no longer existed. Although Henriette i s aware of the f a c t that Rome represents f o r him ' l e l i e u d•authentic!tS•, he f a i l e d her there i n his i n a b i l i t y to make t h e i r stay a suc- cess. She had been only too g r a t e f u l to return to her be- loved P a r i s . As f o r C l c i l e i n Pa r i s , she had become to him almost a stranger and, what was even worse, having agreed to his wife and mistress meeting, he had seen with horror t h e i r "formant un accord, une a l l i a n c e contre vous" based on "un mepris com- 20 mun** since he represented to both of them the dis a s t e r of t h e i r hopes. Indeed C l c i l e informs him that his wife does not a c t u a l l y need him and gives him f u l l l i b e r t y . C e c i l e i s l o s t to him i n Paris as were both Rose and Ann to Jacques Revel i n Bleston. In both instances t h i s i s a r e s u l t of the - 231 - protagonist b e l i e v i n g his own i l l u s i o n s and attempting to re- constitute a world without meaning i n the same way as did the Sarrautian protagonists. A f t e r a dream-like sequence where he i s led by a she- wolf with the obvious symbolism of the founding of Rome, he att a i n s a new awareness, more s e l f - c o n t r o l and a new perspec- t i v e . For the f i r s t time he i s able to acknowledge what his re l a t i o n s h i p with C S c i l e r e a l l y i s and sees that he loves her only "dans l a mesure oS e l l e est pour vous l e visage de Rome"* 21 because she i s his "Introductrice, l a porte de Rome**. The only thing l e f t f o r him i s to fi n d why Rome holds such sway over him. He must go beyond l i e s to the tru t h . In L'Emploi du temps, s u p e r f i c i a l l y defeated by the c i t y and by his own in a u t h e n t i c i t y , Revel's attempt to f i n d what he has l o s t and the reasons behind t h i s l o s s lead to the d i s - covery of connections between himself and Bleston. These re- veal deeper t i e s not only between the c i t y and himself but be- tween h i s past and that of the c i t y and between the c i t y and western society i n general. More s p e c i f i c a l l y t h i s society i s one based on the Roman Empire with the inherent pagan Chris- t i a n dichotomy of Rome and of western Man. In La Modification Leon Delmont gradually becomes aware of p a r a l l e l s between the two c i t i e s of Paris and Rome, as his ph y s i c a l s p a t i a l journey i s transformed into a mental journey - 232 - through time. His physical r e l a t i o n s h i p with Cecile i s shown to he dependent upon what she represents to him rather than what she i s . With t h i s r e a l i z a t i o n as with Revel's s i m i l a r r e a l i z a t i o n , Leon Delmont decides to further the discovery he has made and dedicate himself to the creative act of w r i t i n g # as a means to s e l f - f u l f i l l m e n t and to an understanding not only of himself but of Man. Thus f a i l i n g i n t h e i r quest to f i n d themselves through and with other i n d i v i d u a l s , and r e a l i z i n g that society i n the form of the c i t y they are i n may hold a key to the l o s t s e l f , the protagonists w i l l t r y to discover t h i s secret part of the c i t y and of society. In the l a s t novel, Degres, Pierre Vernier begins his mam- moth task of recreation of time only to f i n d out t h i s neces- s a r i l y also involves a simultaneous recreation of space and imagination. This again leads to the revelation of myriad interconnections between i n d i v i d u a l s and s o c i e t i e s . The task i t s e l f i s the subject of t h i s novel and the outcome of i t s r e a l i z a t i o n becomes the decisive f a c t o r i n the protagonist's existence. In L'Emploi du temps, Jacques Revel's search f o r his own past leads him into the past of the c i t y where he i s f i n a l l y able to cast o f f the enormous 'tortoise s h e l l ' , which seems to cover him and the c i t y with a defensive s h i e l d and can - 233 - » 22 say to the c i t y "nous sommes q u i t t e s M . This s h e l l i s sym- b o l i c of the Roman shields used i n war and i n d i c a t i v e of the c i t y ' s past. For, l i k e Revel, the c i t y i s " l e survivant" of i t s e l f , Roman i n o r i g i n (founded by Hadrian) and connected to Theseus i n legend as to Cain the founder of the f i r s t •*» c i t y , i t i s also connected to Revel by i t s stained glass win- dow made i n France i n the sixteenth century. Bleston stands f o r two se r i e s of c i t i e s and periods of time surviving i n Bleston but f a l s i f i e d and suffocated. Although Bleston has taken from him a l l i t could he also r e a l i z e s that h i s losses are caused i n part by his own writings and e f f o r t . The i l - l u s ions of Bleston are as much a part of i t s r e a l i t y as a l l i l l u s i o n s are of r e a l i t y . He now believes that " j e demeurerai 1'un des princes puisque j ' a i r l u s s i , en reconnaissant ma d§- f a i t e & exaucer ton d e s i r secret de me v o i r survivre a cet en- gourdissement, a cette sorte de mort que tu m'avais reservee, puisque je suis devenu maintenant, par ce baptSme de ta fureur, invulnSrable a l a maniSre des fantSmes, puisque j ' a i obtenu de t o i cette proposition de pacte que j 'accepte". 2-^ The conditions of t h i s pact become c l e a r e r before his departure. The c i t y wishes i n part i t s own destruction, i t s deliverance and redemption. In La Modification Rome appears to Delmont i n a dream and he r e a l i z e s that wanting to have Cecile i n Paris was not so much f o r her own presence, but as an ever-present ambassador - 234 - of Rome. Since t h i s no longer seems fe a s i b l e and since the myth of Rome cannot be incarnated i n a decisive, way, he sees that to capture Rome he must do i t i n a r t form, i . e . , i n a book. Desiring to return to the Pax Romana s i t u a t i o n where Rome was the centre of the world ( r e f l e c t e d i n the modern Paris) he r e a l i z e s that what he must do i s "montrer"..."le 24 r 8 l e que peut jouer Rome dans l a vie d'un homme a P a r i s " . A l l means of communication between the two c i t i e s are p o s s i - ble. Rome and Paris seem to him two c i t i e s superimposed one on the other and connected by various trap doors only known of by some people and then, according to the knowledge these i n d i v i d u a l s have, "l'espace romain deformant plus ou moins pour chacun l'espace p a r i s i e n , autorisant rencontres ou i n - 25 duisant en piSges". The trap door f o r him w i l l be the book he writes i n which he w i l l be able to f u l l y reveal the truth to Cecile and himself. In t h i s book C l c i l e w i l l appear i n a l l her beauty, a r e f l e c t e d beauty of Rome. He decides that i t i s probably better to keep the distance between the two c i t i e s , and m