Literature of impasse : a comparative analysis of Joseph Roth’s Radetzkymarsch, Giorgio Bassani’s Gli Occhiali d’Oro and Henri Fauconnier’s Malaisie

Snyman, Jacobus Wilhelmus Otto (2013-03)

Thesis (PhD)--Stellenbosch University, 2013.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: This dissertation sets out from the assumption that there is a phenomenon one can call literature of impasse. By this is meant that there is a body of literature that can be defined as a literature of impasse because of the specific time of writing or of its setting. The definition used in this exploration is based upon the historical, social, political and psychological forces that shape literature of impasse. Broadly speaking the term refers to works of literature of which the authors are considered to be fully aware that what they were describing, analysing and exploring was the impasse which the Western individual had to navigate in order to arrive at any coherent sense of self. The authors in this study – Joseph Roth (1894-1939), Giorgio Bassani (1916-2000) and Henri Fauconnier (1879-1973) – can be regarded as three such authors, and the aim of this dissertation is to demonstrate in what way they are indeed authors of impasse in the works under discussion and what the devices are that they have employed to convey their vision. Far from being a vision that (myopically) sees no resolution, the authors demonstrate a need to identify the impasse itself and its causes and consequences in a narrative style. As part of the acknowledgement of impasse, the description of the ontological impasse of the protagonists is also explored as is the central discussion of modernity and Modernism and how modernity appears to exacerbate the sense of impasse. The position of the protagonists in these works leads in turn to the exploration of individual attempts to overcome the impasse and, in so doing, the study inevitably has to explore the philosophical attributes reflected in each of the works. The comparative nature of this analysis, straddling three languages and literary traditions, and the complex contexts of “impasse”, necessitates studies in other disciplines. The works of Ernest Gellner (1925-1995) seemed particularly suited to this exploration as an analytical springboard inasmuch as his works examine the anthropological and philosophical aspects which have determined the historical forces and milieux with which the three novelists have to contend in the formulation of their respective visions.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Hierdie proefskrif berus op die veronderstelling dat daar ‘n fenomeen bestaan wat letterkunde van impasse oftewel van die dooie punt genoem kan word. Dit beteken dat daar ‘n korpus van letterkundige werke is wat gedefinieer kan word as letterkunde van impasse op grond van die spesifieke tydperk waarin dit tot stand gekom het of die narratiewe agtergrond daarvan. Die definisie wat in hierdie studie gebruik word is gegrond op die geskiedkundige, sosiale, politiese en sielkundige kragte waardeur letterkunde van impasse gevorm word. Die term verwys in die breë na werke wat geskep word deur skrywers wat ten volle daarvan bewus is dat dit wat hulle beskryf, ontleed en verken die dooie punt is waardeur die Westerse individu moet beweeg om enige koherente sin van die self te bereik. Die skrywers in hierdie studie – Joseph Roth (1894-1939), Giorgio Bassani (1916-2000) en Henri Fauconnier (1879-1973) – kan beskou word as drie sodanige skrywers en die doel van hierdie proefskrif is om aan te toon waarom hulle inderdaad skrywers van impasse is in die werke wat bespreek word en op watter maniere hulle hierdie persepsie oordra. Dit handel hoegenaamd nie oor ‘n persepsie wat stiksienig geen uitkoms sien nie en die skrywers toon veral ‘n behoefte om die impasse, sowel as die oorsake en gevolge daarvan, in ‘n narratiewe styl te identifiseer. As deel van die erkenning van impasse, word die beskrywing van die ontologiese impasse van die protagoniste ook ondersoek sowel as die sentrale bespreking van moderniteit en Modernisme en die wyse waarop moderniteit die gevoel van impasse blyk te vererger. Die posisie van die protagoniste in hierdie werke lei weer na die verkenning van individuele pogings om die dooie punt te oorkom en gevolglik moet die studie noodwendig ook die filosofiese standpunte ondersoek wat in die werke gereflekteer word. Die vergelykende aard van hierdie ontleding wat strek oor drie tale en literêre tradisies en die komplekse konteks van “impasse” maak verwysing na ander dissiplines noodsaaklik. Die werke van Ernest Gellner (1925-1995) het besonder geskik voorgekom vir hierdie verkenning as analitiese wegspringplek aangesien sy werk die antropologiese en filosofiese aspekte ondersoek van die geskiedkundige kragte en omgewings waarmee hierdie drie romanskrywers te kampe gehad het in die formulering van hulle onderskeie sienings.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/80241
This item appears in the following collections: