UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Creativity and communication in the recent works of Nathalie Sarraute Clarke, Tanis Kathleen


By 1963, Nathalie Sarraute had written five novels. That same year she was commissioned to write a radio play. She has since then written four more novels and five radio plays. In these new works the reader cannot but recognize manifestations of two of Sarraute's major preoccupations which underlie her literary career that is her concern with the creative process and the problem of communication. These two concerns are obviously related since communication is a lower form of the more concentrated artistic production. This essay will study the two themes in her five radio plays and two of her later novels. In the course of writing novels, Sarraute became more: and more interested in the creative process. While several literary artists have been challenged and intrigued by this topic, it has become an increasingly important theme in Sarraute's works. This essay examines the prerequisites to and the problems raised by the creative process. An analysis of the protagonists of each novel and radio play will help determine to what extent each of them participates in the creative process. As for the allied topic, communication, it is directly related to creativity, as the artist must express his 'vision' in order to confirm his creativity. This essay, therefore, both examines how these protagonists communicate with each other and analyses the limitations to mutual understanding. The thesis is divided into three chapters, each one composed of two sections. Chapter I studies Sarraute's first three radio plays, Le Silence, Le Mensonge and Isma. The first half of the chapter deals with the components of creativity and with the way in which the characters participate in the creative process. The second half is a study of the processes of communication and examines as well how language the most common medium of communication, actually limits mutual understanding. Chapter II follows the same pattern as Chapter I, except that the texts analyzed here will be Entre la vie et la mort and Vous les entendez?. The former novel concentrates on the creative act and the life experience of the artist, while the latter is mainly concerned with artistic merit in the form of aesthetic appreciation. The main focus is on the components of creativity as well as the two people necessary to the creative process, the artist and the recipient of the 'creation'. The second half of the chapter deals with the processes of communication as outlined above, but the medium in this section differs from a radio play to a novel. The last chapter concludes with Sarraute's two latest radio plays, C’est beau and Elle est la. The format is consistent with chapters I and II. However, here, the level of creative potential and the ability to communicate have diminished to the point where these two themes, creativity and communication seem to have been exhausted.

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