La route de(s) flanc(s) : "femme lisse exhalant la senteur immobile de la terre" : a study of sexuality in Claude Simon's novels
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Arts
Using La Route des Flandres as the central text and five other of his novels, namely L 'Herbe, La Bataille de Pharsale, Histoire, Leçon de Chases and Triptyque to extend and elaborate the theme this thesis investigates the style and the function of language as used in the writing of Claude Simon as it relates to ‘sexuality’ - to show that despite new approaches and differences in various technical, narrative, and stylistic changes the overall view of 'sexuality’ which emerges from the texts remains unaltered. Four categories of language, namely animal, vegetal, nutritional and abstract show the visceral, biological and instinctual notion that coitus is the center of Simon’s view of ‘sexuality’ and that the existential element of ‘sexuality’ is attached to this view. This study takes the seminal as the most representative examples because of the vastness of the material. All the categories overlap as will obviously be the case with the metaphysical, associative, correlative networks and discussions will be pertinent to the others. Italicized type is used to refer to specific wording and also to show connections to other categories. Seemingly disparate topics are shown to be related. The hypothesis is that in all Simon's representation whether directly sexual or not there is a perception of ‘sexuality’ as an elemental force as shown by his extensive variations on the representation of the ‘grass’ image. ‘Grass’ is perhaps the singular word to which all representation of ‘sexuality' is linked on an individual scale and cosmological level of upheaval and violence which reverberates onto the individual's 'sexuality’. A metaphor that can be used to describe the technique of study used in this thesis is that of a pebble (being ‘sexuality’) thrown into the water (the text) distorting the reflection of a whole (Simon's world view) into a myriad of images which eventually settle back into place and now creates a more complete picture because of the understanding gained of the component parts.