By Siobhan McIlvanney
During this first severe learn in English to concentration solely on Annie Ernaux’s writing trajectory, Siobh?n McIlvanney offers a stimulating and not easy research of Ernaux’s person texts. Following a widely feminist hermeneutic, this learn engages in a sequence of provocative shut readings of Ernaux’s works in a circulate to spotlight the contradictions and nuances in her writing, and to illustrate the highbrow intricacies of her literary venture. via so doing, it seeks to introduce new readers to Ernaux’s works, whereas attractive on much less established terrain these already conversant in her writing.
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Extra resources for Annie Ernaux: The Return to Origins (Liverpool University Press - Modern French Writers)
156). In a manner analogous to her idealised perception of prostitution, literature allows the narrator to enjoy vicarious freedom from the constraints of her milieu while awaiting its actual realisation, to participate in the ruling class by proxy. ” à un élégant monsieur servi par un maître d’hôtel stylé’ (LAV, p. 29 By introducing the narrator to numerous potential character permutations and future selves, literature contributes to the ‘split’ personality which the narrator gradually assumes, a personality she perceives as comprising her temporary actual self and her ‘real’ virtual self to be actualised some time in the future.
This correlation between social class and sexual immorality is confirmed for the narrator during her first confession. The priest’s condemnation of the narrator’s masturbation fuels the sense of inferiority instilled by the constant denigration and exclusion of her working-class culture at school. Envisaged as a opportunity to expiate the minor sins of her past, her first confession represents instead the definitive end of Denise’s childhood innocence: the narrator feels more entrenched in, and unable to escape from, her working-class conditioning.
Similarly, while pretence plays a prime role in facilitating her acceptance at school, it later becomes a necessary survival tactic in her home environment: ‘Pour m’en sortir, il fallait fermer les yeux, faire comme si je mangeais, lisais, dormais dans un vague hôtel’ (LAV, p. 16 Reinforcing this volte-face in the narrator’s attribution of values is her reversal of the Manichaean judgements made earlier, in that she now views middle-class people as ‘gens bien’ (LAV, pp. ), and refers to the middle class in general as ‘milieux bien’ (LAV, p.
Annie Ernaux: The Return to Origins (Liverpool University Press - Modern French Writers) by Siobhan McIlvanney