By Siobhan McIlvanney
During this first severe research in English to concentration solely on Annie Ernaux’s writing trajectory, Siobh?n McIlvanney offers a stimulating and hard research of Ernaux’s person texts. Following a largely feminist hermeneutic, this learn engages in a chain of provocative shut readings of Ernaux’s works in a circulate to focus on the contradictions and nuances in her writing, and to illustrate the highbrow intricacies of her literary undertaking. by means of so doing, it seeks to introduce new readers to Ernaux’s works, whereas enticing on much less general terrain these already acquainted with her writing.
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Extra info for Annie Ernaux: The Return to Origins (Liverpool University Press - Modern French Writers)
P65 23 04/06/01, 14:20 24 Annie Ernaux: The Return to Origins being born working-class, a conviction which leads her to transgress the parental interdiction on premarital sex. Her working-class past is shown to haunt her like a spectre she may temporarily conceal, but can never completely exorcise. 11 As well as attributing various occurrences to her working-class origins, the narrator ‘personalises’ responsibility, blaming events on specific individuals such as her parents, her friend Odette, or even God: ‘Encore un coup de Dieu, c’est lui qui veut tout ça …’ (LAV, p.
78). ). p65 31 04/06/01, 14:20 32 Annie Ernaux: The Return to Origins Literature plays an increasingly important role in the narrator’s life – at university, she refers to the library as ‘l’église à livres’ (LAV, p. 165),28 echoing the parental reverence towards education. That reverence, whether in its general form of paying for private education or, more specifically, satisfying the narrator’s appetite for new books, serves to entrench class divisions between parents and daughter: ‘Entre Bonnes Soirées, que ma mère poisse de son café au lait, et Le Château de Kafka, je m’aperçois encore qu’il y a un monde.
The narrator’s reluctance to reveal the source of her current misery and confusion throughout the text’s opening section subjects the reader to a frustration analogous to that endured by Anne’s younger self during the first part of her summer vacation: a sense of expectation embraces both the narrator who longs for the advent of a sexual rite of passage, and the reader, who is aware that such an event is shortly to be recounted and who seeks clues as to its precise nature. The gradualness of the narrative build-up to the pivotal encounters with Mathieu is shown to stem from both the limitations of language in providing accurate expression of the narrator’s feelings – ‘Je me vois dégringoler et je ne sais même pas comment appeler ce que je sens’ (CDR, p.
Annie Ernaux: The Return to Origins (Liverpool University Press - Modern French Writers) by Siobhan McIlvanney