Reading Nathalie Sarraute: Dialogue and Distance

By Emer O'Beirne | Go to book overview

CONCLUSION
ICI-FROM LANGUAGE TO SILENCE AND BACK

Nathalie Sarraute's writing, both as a representation of a fictional world and as an authorial address to a reader, places enormous emphasis on the act of communication, the anxiety and distress caused by its repeated failure, and the tenacity with which, faced with this failure, human beings constantly attempt anew to establish contact. Yet if this consistent focus seems to manifest a belief in dialogue as the completion of one's own limited point of view on the world by that of another, this impression is contradicted by how both the represented dialogues and the Sarrautean address to the reader actually function. While the response of an independent other is certainly sought, it is sought only in so far as it might ideally (if never in reality) be identical with the addressor's own outlook. Thus the ideal Sarrautean dialogue is one where response would be entirely affirmative, neutralizing its otherness by doubling the speaker's own perspective.

It is an ideal which remains remarkably constant throughout Sarraute's writing career, even while its unattainability becomes ever more explicitly acknowledged. In section v of Ici ( 1995) it is a fantasized alternative to the reality of non-communication (where the other refuses to accept that the infinite Sarrautean self--here identified simply as 'ici'--really experiences certain feelings). Yet the very terms in which such perfect communication is dreamt of here make its impossibility evident, for it is shown to rest on a view of language which ignores the complex process of interpretation. Instead, for Sarraute, language must ideally be a simple code (though still 'secreted' organically by its referent), capable of transmitting the speaker's idea exactly to the hearer without the slightest alteration:1

Ce qui sans lui ne se serait pas montré, des mots ne l'auraient pas enveloppé pour le porter chez lui et l'implanter . . . pour que ça puisse rester chez lui tel que c'était

____________________
1
This is fundamentally the same view of language which underlies and invalidates Gerald Prince's notion of the 'degree-zero narratee', so close to Sarraute's ideal reader (see Ch. 5, pp. 198-9).

-221-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Reading Nathalie Sarraute: Dialogue and Distance
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Acknowledgements v
  • Contents vii
  • Abbreviations viii
  • Introduction 1
  • 1- Irony, Dialogue, and the Novel 10
  • 2- The Writing Self: Irony And Authority 49
  • 3- The Self and Language: Authenticity and Convention 93
  • 4- Reading and Otherness 137
  • 5- Reading in Theory and Practice 181
  • Conclusion Ici-From Language to Silence And Back 221
  • Bibliography 236
  • Index 255
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
/ 266

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    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.