Title page for ETD etd-11112005-113750

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Driessen, Julie
Author's Email Address jdriess@lsu.edu
URN etd-11112005-113750
Title Jean-Paul Sartre's Les Mots and the Nouvelles Autobiographies of Alain Robbe-Grillet, Nathalie Sarraute, and Marguerite Duras: A Comparison
Degree Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
Department French Studies
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Kevin Bongiorni Committee Chair
Greg Stone Committee Member
John Pizer Committee Member
John Protevi Committee Member
Kevin Risk Dean's Representative
  • sartre
  • autobiography
  • nouveau roman
Date of Defense 2005-10-13
Availability unrestricted
Jean-Paul Sartre's autobiography Les Mots (1964) is shown to be a departure from the Sartrean oeuvre because it represents an abandonment of littérature engagée. In Les Mots Sartre not only abandons littérature engagée, but also embraces a view of literature which he formerly opposed--l'art pour l'art. Sartre defines his views of literature--littérature engagée--in Qu'est-ce que la littérature? (1948) Robbe-Grillet defines l'art pour l'art in Pour un nouveau roman (1963). In Les Mots Sartre embraces Robbe-Grillet's l'art pour l'art and abandons his own littérature engagée. Since these two views of literature are theoretically opposed, it is interesting to find that Sartre makes this one-hundred-and-eighty-degree turn. Sartre's shifted view of literature, as represented in Les Mots, is further supported by a comparison of it to the autobiographies of a selection of Nouveaux Romanciers: Alain Robbe-Grillet's Le Miroir qui revient (1984), Nathalie Sarraute's L'Enfance (1983), and Marguerite Duras's L'Amant (1984). The autobiographies of the Nouveaux Romanciers are used as illustrations of Robbe-Grillet's notion of l'art pour l'art. Although Sarraute and Duras do not claim allegiance to Robbe-Grillet's view of literature, nor to the name "Nouveau Romancier," their autobiographies are similar enough to Robbe-Grillet's that they seem to be part of his school of thought. The relationship between Sartre and Robbe-Grillet adds to the irony of Sartre's shifted view of literature. Sartre rejects practitioners of l'art pour l'art in Qu'est-ce que la literature? and Robbe-Grillet specifically rejects Sartre and his littérature engagée in Pour un nouveau roman.
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