The French Fictional Journal: Fictional Narcissism/Narcissistic Fiction
Unlike other forms of fictional first-person narrative such as the memoir or epistolary novel, the French fictional journal or diary-novel has received inadequate critical attention. This is the first full-length analysis devoted to its particular features.
Valerie Raoul bases her study on the premise that the interest of the fictional journal lies in its subjugation of one set of conventions, those of the diary, to another set, those of the novel, and the interference of each of those ‘codes’ in the function of the other. In this context she discusses more than fifty novels or short stories wholly or partly in diary form and written in France between 1800 and the present.
In the first part of the book she deals with the fictivity of the diary-novel. Philippe Lejeune’s work on the functioning of autobiography serves as a point of comparison to elucidate the distinctive reading pact involved in this aspect of first-person fiction. The second part analyses the internal communication model: on this intradiegetic level the fictional diarist is narrator, actor, and narrate. In the third part, an abstract model is developed to illustrate the functioning of the fictional journal as a bi-textual form of communication, in which the internal communications process is a mise en abyme of the external one between author, character, and reader. The personal narcissism of the ‘intimiste’ is seen to give way in the fictional ‘journal intime’ to narcissistic fiction, since diary-novels are always the narration of the production of a ‘recit.’
This book is an important investigation into the very nature of fiction and the meaning of the activity of writing. It not only fills an important gap in the appreciation of French prose, but also adds to the comprehension of personal narrative in particular and narrative discourse in general.
- Series: Heritage
- World Rights
- Page Count: 176 pages
- Dimensions: 6.0in x 0.0in x 9.0in
Author InformationVALERIE RAOUL is head of the Department of French, University of British Columbia. She is co-editor, with Dawn Currie, of The Anatomy of Gender: Women’s Struggle for the Body.
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