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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Métaphysique de la finitude et intertextualité dans la littérature française après 1945 : Cioran, Beckett, Tournier Grigorut, Constantin


Born right after the inferno of the Second World War, haunted by the Holocaust and traumatized by a very close finish of the second millennium, the post 1945 Western literature has dissolved the last marks of the existentialist debate into an esprit of delusion and despair. As its title suggests, the dissertation addresses the metaphysical fear of the 'end' and the intertextual corollaries of this anxiety in French literature during the first two post-war decades. Structured in five parts, this study is a first attempt to explore three different genres (essay, theatre and novel) drawing on intertextual theory (Kristeva, Genette, Riffaterre). The extensive introduction provides a first insight into the metaphysical sense of the ending, surveys the heterogeneous field of intertextual studies, its history and development as a critical concept, and points to the important theoretical sources of the analysed corpus. The first of the three main chapters examines the anchorage of Cioran's .philosophical essays, particularly Les Syllogismes de I'amertume (1952). Through a very complex intertextual writing Cioran undermines the traditional metaphysics of the centre. Chapter 2 investigates the same ground inside a theatre text, Fin departie by Samuel Beckett (1957). From Apocalypse to Shakespeare, from Greeks to Heidegger, Beckett's discourse is a fantastic carnival attacking the Cartesian thinking. Chapter 3 thoroughly analyses the novel Le Roi des Aulnes by Michel Tournier (1970). Rewriting the myths, Tournier's intertextual novel re-establishes the importance of the individual destiny facing History. Therefore, the last pages of the dissertation conclude that the intertextual writing of the eschatological fear adds to a definition of post-war French literature seen as a bridge between existentialism and postmodernism.

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