The Image in the Modern French Novel: Gide, Alain-Fournier, Proust, Camus

The Image in the Modern French Novel: Gide, Alain-Fournier, Proust, Camus

The Image in the Modern French Novel: Gide, Alain-Fournier, Proust, Camus

The Image in the Modern French Novel: Gide, Alain-Fournier, Proust, Camus

Excerpt

This book, though entirely self-contained, is a sequel to my Style in the French Novel, published in 1967 by the Cambridge University Press. In that work I examined various aspects of French prose style, starting from some external features of vocabulary and advancing, through syntax, towards imagery which lies at the very heart of the stylistic system. The present studies take up once again the problem of the image, but explore it in greater depth and over a wider field.

The method adopted in the last book was based on the conviction that images and other elements of style must be considered in the context of an entire novel in order to establish their role in the total structure and impact of the work. The present volume, while applying essentially the same method, endeavours to go beyond it. Each novel has been treated separately, as a stylistic universe in its own right, but an attempt has also been made to trace the evolution of imagery throughout the narrative works of each author. The only exception is the chapter on Proust where the density and complexity of the metaphorical texture was such that, for practical reasons, the enquiry had to be confined to a single novel. I hope, however, to study in a future book the development of at least one important group of Proustian metaphors: those related to the problem of time.

Modern stylistics aims at the closest possible integration of linguistic and literary methods, and it is in the field of imagery that this integration can be, and has been, most effectively achieved. There are several good reasons why, among all elements of style, the image should be most easily amenable to this kind of treatment. Firstly, there is the factor of choice which has been recognized as fundamental to any stylistic study. In the field of vocabulary and grammar, a writer can choose only between a limited number of alternatives for the expression of the same idea. In the field of imagery, the choice is virtually unlimited and therefore far more revealing: a person, object or experience may be compared to anything that bears even the remotest resemblance to it. Secondly, it often happens that an . . .

Author Advanced search

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.