Skip to main content
Kent Academic Repository

Developments in narrative technique and the practice of writing in the later novels of Claude Simon.

Silverman, Maxim (1981) Developments in narrative technique and the practice of writing in the later novels of Claude Simon. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis, University of Kent. (doi:10.22024/UniKent/01.02.94654) (KAR id:94654)


This study is divided into two parts. The first part deals with three novels written in the 1960’s, the second part deals with the four novels written since then.

The first two chapters in Part 1 present an analysis of fundamental aspects of Simon1s narrative technique, namely narrative perspective and narrative voice. Ambiguities in point of view and mode of ’énonciation' undermine the conventions of the realist text and announce the emergence of a single discourse, that of a writing-in-process. In the two other chapters in Part 1, Simon’s practice of writing is analysed in terms of an association of textual elements through the dual mechanism of metaphor and metonymy. This practice, which guides the narration, determines the development of the fictional episodes of the text. Through this process, the linear narrative is transformed into a thematic and spatial stratification which re-establishes a hierarchy and coherence in the text through the production of a number of ’récits métaphoriques'.

The chapters in Part 2 trace the developments in narrative technique and the practice of -writing in the novels of the 1970's. A refinement of the techniques of the earlier texts and a mechanisation of the process of metaphor/metonymy transform the narration into a rigorous, formal play of elements which compose the fictional episodes. The thematic and spatial strands are no longer regrouped to constitute a ’composition unitaire' (as in the texts of the 1960’s). This disruption of narrative coherence liberates the ’signifiant’ from its attachment to a ’sens univoque' and institutes a plurality of meaning. Hence, the more recent novels break completely with the classic, realist novel by transforming the text into a space of signifying activity.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy (PhD))
DOI/Identification number: 10.22024/UniKent/01.02.94654
Additional information: This thesis has been digitised by EThOS, the British Library digitisation service, for purposes of preservation and dissemination. It was uploaded to KAR on 25 April 2022 in order to hold its content and record within University of Kent systems. It is available Open Access using a Creative Commons Attribution, Non-commercial, No Derivatives ( licence so that the thesis and its author, can benefit from opportunities for increased readership and citation. This was done in line with University of Kent policies ( If you feel that your rights are compromised by open access to this thesis, or if you would like more information about its availability, please contact us at and we will seriously consider your claim under the terms of our Take-Down Policy (
Uncontrolled keywords: Literature
Subjects: M Music and Books on Music > ML Literature on music
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General)
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Arts and Humanities > School of English
SWORD Depositor: SWORD Copy
Depositing User: SWORD Copy
Date Deposited: 09 Jun 2023 08:27 UTC
Last Modified: 21 Nov 2023 15:50 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

University of Kent Author Information

  • Depositors only (login required):

Total unique views for this document in KAR since July 2020. For more details click on the image.