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Title:Cet Autre Qui N'en Est Pas Un. Figuring the East in the Works of Victor Segalen, Andre Malraux, Marguerite Duras and Roland Barthes
Author(s):Ha, Marie-Paule Oi Yee
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Roselle, M.,
Department / Program:French
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Literature, Modern
Literature, Romance
Abstract:This dissertation proposes a post-colonial reading of the writings of four French twentieth-century writers: Victor Segalen, Andre Malraux, Marguerite Duras and Roland Barthes. The emphasis of the readings is the formation of the East as the Other in these works so as to bring out their relation to the (post-) colonial qua Orientalist subtext. These figures of the Other are captured by focusing on what Pierre Macherey calls the "non-dit de l'oeuvre" which in these texts can be the silences or the silenced, the empty space or the margins, all of which are used to sustain the many metaphors to re-present and em-body that Other which is necessarily not One.
My first chapter deals with the "Quexotic" quest Victor Segalen takes up in his Eastward journey. The analysis shows that the exotic Other as envisaged by Segalen in his Essai de l'exotisme carries within itself a condition that makes all knowledge of it impossible. It is the Orphic tension between this conception of this pure Other as not being the Same and Segalen's obsessive desire to "know" the Other that sustains the narrative in his novel Rene Leys.
The knowledge of the exotic Other which functions as an aesthtetic trope in Segalen becomes in Andre Malraux's novels the empowering device which allows his Western heroes to "figure out" the Other and thereby control and dominate them. The study of Malraux's use or abuse of the Other as the basis to erect his humanism in his Asian novels constitutes the subject of my second chapter which aims at foregrouding its Eurocentric and phallocentric biases.
The focus of the third chapter is to examine the question of the margins in Duras through a study of four of her Asian novels: Un barrage contre le Pacifique, Le Vice-Consul, India Song and L'amant. The reading aims at tracing the structuring and destructuring movement of the narrative world in Duras that is built around the axes of center/margins, subject/object, colonizer/colonized. Marginalization, while used by the colonial power as a measure of containment to exclude the colonized, has been reappropriated by the text to forge a new space in which to inscribe the poetics of the margins.
If the Other as the figure of the margins has been highly problematized in the Durassian world, the figure of the Other is in turn enlisted by Barthes to represent the Anti-West in L'empire des signes. The fourth chapter examines the strategies Barthes uses in his reading of the empire of signs in his critique of Western bourgeois ideology. While these strategies may have succeeded in debunking the enemy, their very success, I argue, may in turn engender problems of its own.
Issue Date:1992
Description:192 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1992.
Other Identifier(s):(UMI)AAI9305544
Date Available in IDEALS:2014-12-17
Date Deposited:1992

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