Conceived as a second edition to Kawakami's acclaimed A Self-Conscious Art, which was the first full-length study in English of Patrick Modiano’s work, this book has been comprehensively updated with ...two new chapters, notably discussing the author's recent work and his Nobel Prize win. Kawakami shows how by parodying precursors such as Proust or the nouveau romanciers, Modiano's narratives are built around a profound lack of faith in the ability of writing to retrieve the past through memory, and this failure is acknowledged in the discreet playfulness that characterises his novels.
This welcome update on the work of one of the most successful modern French novelists will be essential reading for scholars working on contemporary French writing.
Patrick Modiano has written many novels whose main theme is memory. These memories are often incomplete and fragmented, being constantly threatened by oblivion. This thesis pays special attention to ...the mechanisms of Modiano's memory involved in a general context and in the hollow of a particular personal consciousness.
The portrayal of modern Paris that Modiano delineates in his novels continuously preserves the filthy residues of History, in an imagined urban geography saturated with figurative modalities of the ...earth-whether it be decaying soils, quicksand, or muddy swamps which threaten to immerse the narrators. Exploiting a geological terminology, Modiano approaches Paris as a land covered with several deposits of oblivion. The city has a corrupt, immoral, fraudulent deepness that his protagonists seek to excavate and delve into, with a sense of malaise and alienation that topographical scrupulousness appears to momentarily alleviate. Modiano develops a terrestrial relationship with the past: time has a telluric depth, and the present and past collapse into a single hermeneutic entity. A hidden cartography, based on the Paris of the Occupation, remains unperceptively dormant under the geography of the present-day city. It will be shown that in Modiano's narrative universe, such an obscure episode of History left palpable remnants on the surface of the everyday, in the manner of a haunting sediment that lingers as an essential foundation of the present time.
This article is an attempt at deciphering the enigmatic title of Patrick Modiano's 2012 novel: why did he choose to call it L'Herbe des nuits, despite the book's apparent lack of engagement with ...plants? In Jardins de papier, Evelyne Bloch-Dano understands the references to nature in the rest of Modiano's œuvre as metaphors for the author's poetics of memory and childhood. I want to argue that another interpretation is possible if we fully consider the plant physiology of grass: unlike trees, it grows from the middle and in between other crops. My article builds on this singularity to flesh out the forms of "middleness" in Modiano's plots, writing style, and social "milieu." Such an attention to the specific process of plant germination provides a new entry point into his works and their numerous allusions to vegetation, such as the metaphor of Occupied Paris as a soil, a manure, or an "artificial flower." Like the narrator of Pour que tu ne te perdes pas dans le quartier, Modiano should be viewed as a "Buffon of trees and flowers," notably because of the various connections between flora and fauna throughout his texts. To sustain these hypotheses, the article engages with botanical and ecocritical writings on plants, meadows, grass, and class (Rachel Bouvet, Alain Corbin, Gilles Deleuze, Francis Hallé, Denise Le Dantec, Stephanie Posthumus).
'Doesn't a breath of the air that pervaded earlier days caress us as well?' Walter Benjamin asks in 'On the Concept of History'. 'In the voices we hear, isn't there an echo of now silent ones? ... If ...so, then there is a secret agreement between past generations and the present one'. What does it mean to be in secret agreement with people that came before? To recognise that coming after involves the taking on of certain obligations - for example, to pay tribute, to make amends. This paper examines the role played by the cinema in Patrick Modiano's Dora Bruder. Part history, part memoir, Modiano's book investigates the events leading to the deportation of a sixteen-year-old Jewish girl during the Nazi Occupation of France. The author's examination of these events commemorates the lives lost during the Occupation and alerts us to what remains still to be said about these lives. The issue that I address concerns cinema's role in the author's evocation of Dora's afterlife, in other words, its facilitation of a type of writing in which the experience of the present is shaped by the unfinished business of people and events that demand something of us.
Patrick Modiano's narrative is guided by a topographical imaginary and offers a singular narrative phenomenon: a mutual assimilation of the evocation of Paris and the memorial vision present in each ...of his stories. His knowledge of the city weaves a complex and sometimes problematic fabric that lies between the romantic form of urban space and the initial narrative project: the prism of memory. Governed by the process of reminiscence (Benjamin), the chimera of the memorable or primitive mythology of childhood, the vision for the city betrays a deep and authentic homology between the subject's identity and the consciousness of the object, the image of the self and the search for place, pedestrian wanderings and the imaginary of the city. With Modiano, the poeticization of Paris centers on a lacuna that signals an irremediable lack, while also revealing an unacceptable founding experience: The absence of self.
After the publication of Villa triste (1975), several of Patrick Modiano's novels contain a storyline that is similar to the main plot of this novel: a man-often the story's narrator, who is also the ...male protagonist-recollects his adolescent years in the 1960's, and his brief encounter with a young and mysterious woman. In this article, I will study the function of this female protagonist in Modiano's novels. She is first and foremost a "passeur": she leads the male protagonist into the new worlds of love and crime, and she even provokes his "coming to writing." Furthermore, she is the one who transports the shades of the past, making it possible for the narrator to give the readers a fragmentary depiction of a world that no longer exists.
While his preoccupation with the period of the Occupation remains a permanent theme, Patrick Modiano is increasingly interested in the exploration of time and memory, and the attendant problem of ...reconstituting the past. This volume explores all these features. It casts new light on Modianos earliest novels, examines afresh his more recent work including his stories for children, situates it in the context of contemporary writing and unravels the intricacies and subtleties of his style. It underlines Modianos position as one of Frances major writers of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries and will be of interest to all who are interested in the modern French novel and the complex interactions between fiction and history.
La synecdoque est le mode de reprise de ces faits referentiels dans la fiction; elle s'accompagne d'un traitement optique de grossissement et de distorsion, echo au fameux telescope proustien. ...D'autre part, les ecoles de cette communaute enseignent le meme schema d'appropriation/expulsion qu'adopte le narrateur de La Place de l'étoile: "Dans nos ecoles on nous enseigne le doute et l'art d'oublier" (Borges 104).