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Olivier Adam, Arnaud Cathrine : la tentation de l’autobiographie

Abstract : In September 2005, the Magazine littéraire chose to simultaneously review two novels in tandem, Falaises by Olivier Adam and Sweet home by Arnaud Cathrine. It is striking how similar these two novels are. Besides their common motif—the mother’s suicide—they share a particular form: both are written as if they are autobiographies, i.e., a fictive narrative having the general qualities of an autobiography. Thus, the enunciative and narrative choices (retrospective narrative with the “I” pronoun based on the quest for meaning), as well as the salient themes—childhood, death, grief—begin like an autobiography. The writers-narrators, representing the authors’ double, complete the similarity, spurring a reflection on writing and on the grieving process and the exploration of filiation that writing involves. Hence, apart from the identity of the author, narrator and character, the components converge to mimic the autobiographical process. We do not wish to fuel the debate on genres, to determine whether we are dealing with novels, autobiographical novels or autofictions (concepts that will rather help us to clarify what these novels are not), but instead wish to show how the autobiographical genre contaminates novels, which may be a characteristic of contemporary French literature. Equally, as when expressing loss, healing, filiation, these stories convey some of the questionings of contemporary society.
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https://hal.univ-lorraine.fr/hal-02971900
Contributor : Anne Strasser <>
Submitted on : Monday, October 19, 2020 - 7:53:40 PM
Last modification on : Tuesday, October 20, 2020 - 3:34:23 AM

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Anne Strasser. Olivier Adam, Arnaud Cathrine : la tentation de l’autobiographie. Etudes Françaises, Presse Universitaire de Montréal, 2011, 47 (3), pp.165-182. ⟨10.7202/1006452ar⟩. ⟨hal-02971900⟩

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