By Jordan Stump
Naming & Unnaming is a dazzling study that centers on the work of Raymond Queneau, one of the most influential French novelists of the twentieth century. The author takes as his subject the many implications - epistemological, political, literary, sometimes even physical - of naming in Queneau's remarkable novels. From the idea that the names of characters offer a more immediate & perhaps even a more intimate understanding of their souls than we might glean from their words & deeds has grown the broad field of inquiry known as literary onomastics. Stump argues that there is another approach to the literary proper name, one that concentrates not on the meaning of names but on the meaning of the use of those names - the ways in which the characters & narrator of a novel address or refer to others. Naming & Unnaming considers the literary & philosophical implications of names & naming. The author examines four issues in Queneau's novels - the nature of writing & of creation in general, the possibility or impossibility of knowledge, the relationship between the individual & the group, & the uses of power & control - in relation to which naming emerges as a force both powerful & utterly impotent. By exploring these forces & their evocation, the author reveals the complexity of both the act of naming & the novels of Queneau.
- Lincoln, NE