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10 - The Memoir Novel

from Part II - The Eighteenth Century: Learning, Letters, Libertinage

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  04 February 2021

Adam Watt
Affiliation:
University of Exeter
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Summary

This chapter focuses on the proliferation of novels in the early decades of the eighteenth century that assumed the form of personal memoirs. Acknowledging arguments that link this new style of writing to demands for greater narrative plausibility, it also considers the popularity of the form in relation to the social upheavals driven by the increasing mobility of people and the flow of money associated with modernity and globalisation. It argues that the first-person form enabled novelists in this period to explore the importance of the novelistic imagination as a tool for adapting to difference and cultural change, foregrounding the use of narrative by those on the move in negotiating personal identity and social relationships. With particular reference to novels by Crébillon, Prévost, Marivaux and Lesage, it examines the different ways in which protagonists struggle to become authors and thereby exercise greater control over their lives, pointing to how the memoir-novel played a formative role in constructing the concept of an autobiographical subject and the contours of modern autobiography.

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Chapter
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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2021

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References

Further Reading

Hipp, Marie-Thérèse, Mythes et réalités: enquête sur le roman et les mémoires (1660–1700) (Paris: Klincksieck, 1976)Google Scholar
Mander, Jenny, Circles of Learning: Narratology and the Eighteenth-Century French Novel (Oxford: Voltaire Foundation, 1999)Google Scholar
Mander, Jenny, ‘Picaresque Itineraries in the Eighteenth-Century French Novel’, in The Picaresque Novel in Western Literature From the Sixteenth Century to the Neopicaresque, ed. by Garrido Ardila, J. A (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015)Google Scholar
Mylne, Vivienne, The Eighteenth-Century French Novel: Techniques of Illusion (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1965)Google Scholar
Stewart, Philip R., Imitation and Illusion in the French Memoir-Novel, 1700–1750: The Art of Make Believe (New Haven, CT, and London: Yale University Press, 1969)Google Scholar

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  • The Memoir Novel
  • Edited by Adam Watt, University of Exeter
  • Book: The Cambridge History of the Novel in French
  • Online publication: 04 February 2021
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108683920.014
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  • The Memoir Novel
  • Edited by Adam Watt, University of Exeter
  • Book: The Cambridge History of the Novel in French
  • Online publication: 04 February 2021
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108683920.014
Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

  • The Memoir Novel
  • Edited by Adam Watt, University of Exeter
  • Book: The Cambridge History of the Novel in French
  • Online publication: 04 February 2021
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108683920.014
Available formats
×