This monograph is the first book to examine places and spaces in French war fiction of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. These places and spaces are presented as literary isotopias, or fictional «worlds», and analysed in a selective corpus of thirty-three novelists and forty-two examples of war fiction. The book identifies and classifies the various types of isotopia that appear in fiction in the form of scenes, images or literary microcosms. The author establishes four isotopic modes – possession, dispossession or loss, alienation, and repossession – by which means the isotopias are expressed. The spaces considered include territorial demands, gains, possessions, losses and national spaces, as well as internal mental spaces.
The corpus of novels selected for this project covers a wide variety of examples of fictional worlds: the spiritual, the marginal, the regional, the ideological, the psychological, the erotic, the ecological and the political. The methods of analysis identify these worlds, demonstrate both how they function in relation to the characters in the novels and how they affect the reader, and provide further illumination on the intentions, achievements and ideologies of the characters and of the novelists concerned. One of the findings of the study is that the greater the stress of war and conflict the more authors and characters tend to seek refuge in their imaginary (isotopic) worlds.
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Peter D. Tame was Reader in French Studies at Queen’s University Belfast from 1999 to 2013. He specialises in the literary representation of ideology and politics in French fiction of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. His recent publications include an annotated and fully edited translation of Robert Brasillach’s memoirs, entitled Before the War (2003), André Chamson 1900–1983: A Critical Biography (2006), and two co-edited volumes on war and memory, Mnemosyne and Mars: Artistic and Cultural Representations of Twentieth-Century Europe at War (2012) and The Long Aftermath: Historical and Cultural Legacies of Europe’s Wars 1936–1945 (2014).
He has been awarded the Prix Robert Brasillach (1980) and the Académie Française’s Prix Hervé Deluen (2007).